by Lue Fagan
A special ceremony took place at Soldiers Point Marina on the weekend to dedicate an Etchells Class Yacht gifted by the family of the late Peter Downs to the Soldiers Point Sailing School. Cr Sally Dover Deputy Mayor of Port Stephens officiated and unveiled a commemorative plaque in front of Peter’s wife Edie, their son Andy, daughter-in-law Emily and family and friends. Peter was a well-known and respected yachtie and was Commodore of the Greenwich Flying Squadron in Sydney during the period 1999-2000.
Graham Oborn, Cr Sally Dover, Edie Downs, Andy and Emily Downs with baby Luca Downs
Chief Sailing School Instructor Graham Oborn organised the delivery of the yacht named 'Pacific Edge' from Sydney to Port Stephens and supervised a complete refurbishment. 'Thanks to some very talented local tradesmen and the generosity of a local benefactor the end result is a beautiful yacht that can now be used to teach young and older people how to sail' said Mr. Oborn the boat’s trustee.
Mrs. Downs is thrilled at the transformation, commenting how proud her husband would have been with the Etchell’s makeover.
The Etchells joins the eight Optimists and two Lasers in the Sailing School Fleet and no doubt will bring laughter, fun and a sense of achievement to our sailing school students as part of the Real Futures Foundation (RFF).
RFF is founded on the philosophy that schools and the local community are partners in the support and development of their young people who have reached a critical crossroad in their lives, ensuring they find a productive future in either furthering their education and training, or securing suitable employment.
'Soldiers Point Marina is proud to be a major long term sponsor of the RFF and supporting our local youth' said Marina General Manager Darrell Barnett CMM. 'Our experienced and qualified sailing instructors foster and encourage confidence and a love of sailing and the water for our young people' he said. 'Sailing builds a sense of adventure, a strong mental ability, and confidence, all the skills needed for life………a perfect fit for the Real Futures ethos' said Mr. Barnett.