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by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 25 Apr 2021 15:00 PDT
Super Saturday sail-ebration at Sail Port Stephens © Salty Dingo

Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully... Where the playing cards are held between the thumb and index finger, flexed down, and then sprayed out to a jumbled mess on the floor. It all seemed like a appropriate analogy to me. Additionally, there are 52 weeks in a year, and at least here in Australia anyway, it has only been a little bit longer than that since this Covid thing decided to more than shuffle the deck. Yes. What a jumble. Who knows what you'll get?

Still it seems that the ducks in Can you feel it? were a real sign. Response to it has been lovely. We cannot tell you how nice it has been to see people out on the water getting into it, as well as sending in their material for everyone to review, appreciate, and enjoy.

A great person, friend and avid sailor called P.C. once said to me that Sail-World was like watching a fire (as in burning in a designated and purpose-built utility). He was referring to the ever-evolving nature of it all, along with both the captivating allure, and the serenity.

A quick scroll down the website whilst writing had me checking on Sail Port Stephens, where some of our partners like Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance, along with Flagstaff Marine, have been ensuring there were even more reasons to be happy apart from the stunning weather.

Over in the West, the preparation for the Exmouth race builds, Tasmania will get the Women's Keelboat Regatta next weekend, and the Hamilton Island fleet looks set to be capped, so make sure you have your accommodation sorted with Whitsunday Holidays.

Hardcore racers look set to ignite Airlie Beach Race Week once more, with sports boats, and Extreme 40 cats, yet the defining moment was that crews from Queensland, NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria were all keen to get into the way it all used to be before some pesky bug had a good solid go at being just a wee bit more than painful.

Yet for me, one of the most notable things occurring as we speak is the take-up for the Global Solo Challenge. Everything from old IMOCA 50s to VO 60s and down to full keel 32s is lining up to do a lap. Whilst sometimes you may feel like they are running the talk-it-up cup, 17 skippers in boats from 32 to 55 feet have gone the whole hog for the 2023 event, with something like 220 on the books. Wow.

Given it is a first boat home event, and elapsed journeys will range at least from 115 to 200 days, getting their staggered starts correct will be crucial. Still, they have plenty of runway left to sort it out.

Jake 'Big Dog' Lilley completes our Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo. What a nice guy and I know he has high hopes for his second Olympics. Under the tutelage of Rafa 'The Maharajah of Finns' Trujillo, Jake has continued to become a marvellous competitor, and a joy to watch in action, which I was lucky enough to do in Coffs Harbour with the whales last July.

One would think this could well be the most unpredictable Olympics ever, and a fair degree of levelling may have occurred due to the distinct lack of competition. Obviously our Australian Sailing Team has my complete support and best wishes, but as an observer you do think to ask yourself things like, 'Will the USA rise once more - long time between drinks...'

Our USA Editor, David Schmidt, agrees and said, "It's not a question of if but when. 100-perfect. The US Sailing Team has an incredibly proud Olympic history, and while the last few quadrennials have been challenging, the team's recent leadership and pipeline-development transitions should make a massive difference as the team builds towards the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics. As for this summer's Games, the US Sailing Team is sending some fast and capable sailors to Japan, and I would love to hear the Star-Spangled Banner performed at a few sailing medal ceremonies."

Our Managing Editor Mark Jardine said to me as I was loading this up, "It was great to receive a WhatsApp video from John this week, out on the water with Maritimo's Tom Barry-Cotter, and Paul Wilson, all with big smiles on their faces. There simply is no better feeling than being out at sea, and any way we can introduce more people to it, the better."

"Those first steps on to a boat can be daunting, so being there to help a friend or new club member along the way can make all the difference. If we all helped out one friend or family member when they show an interest in sailing then participation will increase dramatically and - if they have a positive experience - then they're far more likely to become sailors for life."

"Why spend the time doing this? John, Tom, and Paul's smiles say it all. By the way, look out for John's insightful and entertaining review of Maritimo's new M55 soon on our sister sites, Powerboat.World and FishingBoating.World"

So there it is. No epistle from this time, just genuine appreciation for this great sport of ours, the ability to go and do it, along with all the people you get to meet, talk with and learn about along the way. Happy days indeed!

OK. Time to go see about getting on the water some more. Might check in with Flagstaff Marine and see about the new First 27, or if I can get reacquainted with an old friend in the Beneteau Figaro 3, which I first drove back in 2017. Now doesn't that seem like a lifetime ago...

Right oh - there is plenty of information on the group's websites for you to review when you can. Please avail yourself of it.

Now if your class or association is generating material, please submit your material. Got this newsletter from a friend? Would you like your own copy next week? Just follow the instructions on our newsletter page. Whilst there, you can also register for other editions, like Powerboat-World.

Finally, many thanks for making Sail-World your go-to choice. We're always here to keep pumping out the news. Stay safe, and have the happiest time possible depending on your level of restrictions.

John Curnow
Editor, Sail-World AUS

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