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Experience encourages youth into offshore racing with RFBYC in Western Australia

by Susan Ghent, RFBYC 6 Dec 22:46 PST 8-9 December 2018
Joss and Weapon of Choice - 2018 Rockingham Race Regatta © RFBYC

When Jon Sanders completed his first circumnavigation of the world, he could make a call using radio telephone but was out of range often. Position reports would be provided by long range radio. Sharing news of his journey on his yacht Parry Endeavour was a slow process and media was limited to local newspapers for most of the time. Navigation was by sextant. One fix per day was a good week, if the weather was unfavourable it may have been days between being able to log his position.

Thirty years later, Jon took to the seas to commemorate his record breaking triple circumnavigation of 658 days at sea travelling 70,000 nautical miles. With his slightly bigger S&S 39 Perie Banou II, he became the oldest person to circumnavigate the world and the only person to have achieved this ten times. Jon was able to navigate with little effort using modern electronics and share his news by email and sms no matter where he was on the globe allowing followers to be part of his adventures in real time.

This weekend Perie Banou II will be seen up close from the Perth beaches competing in the local inshore event, the Rockingham Race Regatta. The Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club event will connect ocean racing with the Perth beaches to showcase the offshore fleet with the local community. Jon is very pleased to be part of this offshore racing regatta weekend and says "I enjoy being able to see the beach all the way through the race, I was brought up in the area and really like to see it. It's nice to know that people will be able to see the offshore yachts racing along the coast".

Joining Jon Sanders in this inshore event for the Ocean Racing WA fleet will be a good number of youth and young adult sailors. The RFBYC regatta includes the IRC Youth Cup Series to encourage the next generation of offshore racing sailors. The young sailors are keen to have the opportunity to race with experienced teams on well-known yachts such as the Carkeek 47 Indian with three Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race's in her log. There are two modern GP 42 yachts who are sure to enjoy a competitive weekend on the water, Gary McNally's Black Betty and Alan Stein's Dirty Deeds with teams on Weapon of Choice (Mark Nagle) and Hugh Warner's Ocean Ranger sure to give them a good challenge too. Included in this fleet are a couple of S&S 34's including a local favourite of Phil Somerville-Ryan and his team on Huckleberry who were recent recipients of the CYCA Solas Trusts Bravery Award.

The yachts will begin their weekend of racing off Leighton Beach in Fremantle on Saturday morning and their course will take them north along the coast to a marker in North Cottesloe. Spectators are invited to watch the fleet turn at this point from Barchetta beachfront café. They will finish in Rockingham, staying overnight and enjoying the social activities ashore with The Cruising Yacht Club. The next morning they will contest a windward-leeward race in the bay in Rockingham, a great backdrop for those having Sunday morning brunch before their returning race to Fremantle.

A fleet of fifteen power yachts will accompany the yachts for the weekend with several classic wooden boats making the journey to North Cottesloe prior to the trip south to Rockingham. RFBYC Power Section representative Julian Wright comments on the weekend "The Rockingham Race Regatta is an integral part of the power fleet calendar. It is lovely way to get our classic boats out for a longer journey accompanied by good friends. We like to associate with an event where we can come ashore and socialise. Being part of the offshore racing scene is a lot of fun for our fleet and a great way to continue the connection between classic power boats and offshore yacht racing in WA".

Follow the Western Australian inshore event on social media with Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and Ocean Racing WA (@OffshoreWA).

For more information visit the event website.

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