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Ill-conceived ideas by spurious productions

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 3 Mar 13:00 PST
Are the pirates about to board your boat if NSW Labor win? (with many thanks to our friends here for the superb costumes) © Alex McKinnon

During the week, we had NSW Labor release a preposterous policy in a rush just before that State's impending election. Now if one could get away with saying brain-fart, then I would have simply written that. Alas, well-placed sources that had been 'briefed' on it all were not simply left puzzled or bewildered, but rather contemplating just what is going on, and who was in charge! Talk about a Spruce Goose...

There seemed to be no idea whether it was applicable to both sailing and power, or merely power alone. Equally, there was no idea as to whether shipping was also to be slugged. No idea about anything really, and as if that was ever going to be anything different. Did anyone think that maybe all the boats would just be registered into Queensland or Victoria, for instance?

Yet above it all, and the most misbegotten idea of the group, is that taxing a new or second-hand vessel of AUD200k or more is not harming hard-working families, syndicates of friends, share ownership arrangements, or long-suffering retirees. It is only one thing in the end, a money grab, and a poor excuse for one at that. How can they say that cars and boats are one thing, yet caravanning is not part of the same ilk? They are all discretionary, and if this were to come to pass in some strange time warp on a parallel continuum, then you'd certainly see a lot more trailers with boxes attached to them all over the road network.

Of course, it is all completely counter intuitive to Federal Government initiatives, especially in terms of getting people involved in sport. This is certainly even more important when you consider that sailing is one of but a few sports that certainly encourages participation for people right throughout their entire life cycle, and is looking to achieve equal integration with female athletes.

15 years ago you would have been able to write ageist and sexist in the preceding paragraph without fear of retribution, but possibly not now. Yet the fact remains, this sort of irresponsible, ramshackle, and thinly-veiled wealth tax kills macro and micro-economic activity, and maybe even our entire industry, in one swift rush of blood. Nice. Political grandstanding it may well be, but in this case they should not have been allowed on a soapbox, but required to stand in one, as quickset concrete was then poured all over their feet, and they were subsequently pushed off a bridge.

So before anyone spills their chardonnay, and in the interests of bipartisanship, rather than killing the sport of sailing, it seems the incumbents have just been ignoring it, especially with respect to the NSW State Youth Championships, which have been held on Lake Macquarie.

Australian Sailing's outgoing CEO, John Lee, commented before leaving, "We have seen over $80 million offered to NRL clubs, $20 million to the Sydney Swans (AFL), and $50 million to cricket, tennis and netball at Sydney Olympic Park, but our request of just $180,000 to ensure this landmark event can stay at its current location on Lake Macquarie has been ignored."

Australian Sailing was seeking a four-year commitment that amounted to $1.5m in total when you included the National Training Centre, and they compared this with the $1.5 billion allocated for stadia, which is kind of fair enough when you look at the nigh on 80,000 registered sailors who use NSW waterways each year. Yet it must be highlighted that these sorts of marquee events do wondrous things for lesser-known clubs, like the South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club, in this case.

They are also havens for tomorrow's stars. Now without opening the vipers' nest (even though I think I just did), in recent times Aussie sailors have done very well at the Olympics. Especially so on a participant-per-population or dollar basis. Perhaps it might be time to finish this particular tack with Lee's own final comment, "It is high time both sides of politics did more than just fund footballers."

Apolitical now, and Vaikobi have been quietly taking on the OTB scene with more than a noticeable effect. No doubt this comes from their 'form follows function' ethos, high levels of athlete comfort, and allocation of more than a soupçon of cool design. You can check that all out in V is for Vaikobi, but don't just take our word for it. Here is what a couple of up and coming stars have had to say about the gear of gears...

Jim Colley and Shaun Connor who are campaigning the 49er on the Olympic Trial program at the moment: "I have been wearing the Vaikobi sailing range throughout the Australian Summer Series, and couldn't be happier. The Long John wetsuit provides the perfect comfort throughout a wide range of air and water temperatures, keeping my body warm, but with great breathability. The Long John is combined with either the VCold or VCold Flex top, which provide warmth and wind resistance, whilst still leaving the upper body mobile."

"When sailing a class that has periods of very high intensity, followed by down time in between races, it is important that your gear allows the body to sweat, but still retains a consistent core temperature, and the Vaikobi gear achieves this more than any other sailing gear on the market."

Shaun Connor stated, "This Vaikobi Gear is awesome! It is truly revolutionising the game of wet gear when it comes to watersports. I have personally been using the new skiff suit, and a selection of the different tops, and find them warm, but most importantly comfortable, allowing my body to regulate temperature with the breathable gear."

Right oh here today there are some gems for you to review. We have information about cleaning up a whole island, intel from North Sails, IMOCAs, the 18s, Iker Martinez case thrown out, kite surfing, the Freshies' Bunbury and Return race commemorate, pay respects, and celebrate one year on, Beau Geste is in for the ride from Brisbane to Hamilton Island, GGR, Kieler Woche, the 5.5s (which they tell me are a real delight to helm), Race Yachts have the exceptionally well-prepared Patrice for sale, looming large on the horizon is Sail Port Stephens which is sponsored by our good friends at Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance, with Sailfest Newcastle ahead of that, and certainly there is much, much more.

Remember, if your class or association is generating material, make sure we help you spread your word, and you can do that by emailing us. Should you have been forwarded this email by a friend, and want to get your very own copy in your inbox moving forward, then simply follow the instructions on our newsletter page, where you can also register for different editions.

Finally, keep a weather eye on Sail-World. We are here to bring you the whole story from all over the world...

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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