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SB20 Australia and Sailability Tasmania - Friends and future foes?

by Jane Austin 28 Feb 2019 04:36 PST
(L-R) Brian Freeman Gus McMurray Stephen Catchpool and Julie Pearson © Jane Austin

The partnership between Sailability Tasmania and SB20 Australia continues to go from strength to strength with SB20 Australian Class President Stephen Catchpool presenting Sailability Tasmania's Julie Pearson and Brian Freeman with a donation of $500 at the Derwent Sailing Squadron this week.

The generous donation was made following a unanimous decision at the SB20 Australia annual general meeting in December last year, to continue to support the growing relationship between Sailability Tasmania and local SB20 sailors.

The partnership was originally proposed by SB20 Class stalwart Paul Burnell, who suggested that the local fleet give something back to Tasmanian sailing through the establishment of a volunteer's roster to support Sailability Tasmania sailors to launch and retrieve their Hansa 303 boats each Sunday morning.

Burnell was stirred into action after talking with Brian Freeman and Sailability Tasmania's Mal White one Sunday morning following the cancellation of the days' racing due to a lack of volunteers. The register has proved to be a phenomenal success and has ensured that Sailability Tasmania sailors have been able to consistently sail throughout the 2018-19 season

The donation is likely to be put towards the purchase of new life jackets and upgrading safety equipment, but there will be more to come from the partnership if Pearson has her way.

"The benefits of the partnership are wonderful - without our SB20 guys, we wouldn't be able to go out. The SB20 volunteers are so fit and knowledgeable and can throw the dinghies in the water and get them back up really fast. It's a big relief to us as we have a base of volunteers who are getting a bit older and a bit worn out," said Pearson.

"We know how much we love being on the water and we just wanted to help them get out there as much as possible," said Catchpool.

Pearson is looking forward to next year when she hopes to include some on-water training with the SB20 crews. "We all need that bit of extra help – we might look a bit ragged around the edges, but we are all very competitive...still," said Pearson.

And the partnership could get quite intense, with Catchpool not ruling out a potential match racing or teams' event in the Hansa 303 between SB20 sailors and Sailability Tasmania crews. If you are interested in volunteering or joining the association, go to

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