Over the Gold Coast Show long weekend, 31 August to 2 September 2007, The Southport School Sailing Club (TSSSC) hosted the inaugural contest for the Centenary of Sailing Trophy and the Old Salts Cup.
The regatta comprised a three day competition for youth and junior athletes and is destined to become the immediate signature event of the Club, whilst the Old Salts Cup was a winner-takes-all championship race for all Old Southportonians.
In honour of the Centenary of ISAF, the Centenary of the Old Southportonians Association and over a hundred years of sailing at TSS, the TSS Sailing Club is proud and excited to announce the dedication of the Centenary of Sailing Regatta to commemorate this historic occasion.
The Old Salts Cup was sailed on the afternoon of Friday 31 August and attracted a field of 15 Alumni, all valedictorians between 1986 and 2006 and most of whom have their names engraved on various trophies and honour boards around the school. Many more Old Boys from around the globe and dating back over half a century all expressed their best wishes for the event and recounted fond memories of their formative sailing experiences at TSSSC. Many have gone on to become leaders and professionals in the sailing and maritime industries and all gave testimony and praise to the value of their early experiences on the Nerang River.
A mixed fleet including high-performance sportsboats such as Kym PETERSEN's RS700 and Matt WALES' and James HOWARTH in the International 29er's faced the start line together with more traditional boats such as Alex TIOOMEYand Lee RANDALL in Corsairs and Sam SEWELL in aVagabond to complete the four lap Olympic Triangle course. The race was held under perfect Spring conditions, with 10-15 knots northeasterly breeze and mild current. Kym PETERSEN easily scored line honours in just over 36 minutes, however the corrected time leader and recipient of the inaugural Old Salts Cup was Sam SEWELL. Sam managed to edge out Lee RANDALL by a mere 15 seconds on corrected time, who was ahead of Alex TOOMEY in the other Corsair in third.
All the Old Boys joined the rest of the competitors at the familiar surroundings of the Dining Hall BBQ area to swap tales of glory and misfortune, and we were joined for dinner by another TSS Old Boy and Australian Sailing Team member Matt BELCHER, fresh off the plane from his Olympic campaign in China. Most of the Old Boys taking part had not seen each other for the best part of a decade, and the Old Salts Cup was the perfect vehicle for a reunion.
The main event of the regatta began on Saturday morning with the skippers briefing for the Centenary Trophy. Eight races were scheduled to be sailed on three-lap Windward/Leeward courses and despite early very light breeze, relatively strong current and heavy long-weekend powerboat traffic, seven races were successfully held.
The standard of racing was very high, and some of the TSSSC sailors were no doubt taken aback by the challenge laid down by the three visiting sailors who traveled from Lake Cootharaba S.C. on the Sunshine Coast to compete. Louise EVANS and Jasmine HEANEY brought their Minnow Class dinghies to compete, and Ella EVANS used a TSSSC Laser Pico. Being largely a technical and tactical sport, sailing is one of the rare few physical sports where boys and girls of a range of ages can compete on entirely equal terms. The girls sought no quarter and certainly none was given - every start line was faced as if a world title was at stake, and mark roundings with up to six boats overlapped were certainly heart stopping and highly vocal situations.
The two RS Feva XL boats sailed by Jamie BAUM/John BUCKNALL and Chris PERCY/Jake STACHOW were fast around the course, but could never quite perform to their hard Yardstick penalty and the Minnows often managed to score the all-important corrected time honours. No race was a walkover by any means, from the onset it was clear the results would be close, with the very first heat showing five boats within 30 seconds of each other and one dead heat. At the conclusion of racing on Saturday only one point separated the places at the top of the leaderboard.
Sunday morning and Father's Day dawned with much anticipation for the critical 'Three Bridges' passage race. The course included a downwind start, and covered all angles of sailing on the passage which covered the entire river between the Sundale Bridge, Budds Beach, Chevron Island and its two bridges. The tide proved to be the critical factor in the first half of the race, the boats which made the right decision early on earned huge dividends. Racing was underway on time at 10am with a building southeasterly and the long course took approximately 90 minutes to complete. Places came right down to the wire, with Chris PERCY leading the RS Feva match race against Jamie BAUM for the entire race, only to lose his lead with a boatlength to the finish line. Jasmine Heaney on the Minnow 'Razzamajazz' sailed a faultless race to win the 'Three Bridges' passage by two minutes on corrected time.
Everyone then gathered again at the BBQ tables for a big Father's Day lunch and presentation of the trophies. For the Junior Division trophy, the inaugural winner was Louise EVANS just one point ahead of Jasmine HEANEY, and in the Seniors the trophy went to Ella EVANS ahead of Jamie & John in second, and Chris & Jake third.
Huge thanks are due to the Friends of Sailing support group, who gave up their Friday public holiday and all weekend including Father's Day to make the inaugural Centenary of Sailing Trophy a success. Congratulations to the winners and well done to all the sailors who took part.
The Centenary of Sailing Trophy and the Old Salts Cup will be held at TSSSC every Gold Coast Show long weekend in perpetuity.
Thank you again for helping ISAF celebrate 100 years of sailing - let's get out there and Sail the World!
"I am very proud to be President of the International Sailing Federation as we celebrate 100 years. What is evident is that the past one hundred years mark a period of vibrant and exciting growth for sailing. A period when the spirit of solidarity, friendship and passion for sailing has prevailed over borders, religions, genders and cultures. This weekend of 1-2 September, the "Sail the World" celebrations capture the very spirit of sailing. I am delighted at the number of events, clubs and classes all over the world partnering with ISAF as we join together to "Sail the World."'
Formed in 1907, ISAF will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary throughout 2007.
Amongst the highlights of ISAF Centenary celebrations will the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships and the Sail the World weekend from 1-2 September. ISAF will also be publishing a 100 Years of Sailing commemorative book and launching the ISAF Sailing Hall of Fame, which will take place at at a spectacular dinner hosted by the City of Estoril at Estoril Casino on 5 November.
Every ISAF event throughout 2007 will be an integral part of the Centenary celebrations. Whether a local regatta, or a World Championship event, everyone counts. ISAF would like your event to remember what a special year it is, so welcomes everyone to use the specially commissioned Centenary logo.
Find out more on about the calendar of Centennial Celebrations, relive our Highlights from 100 Years of Sailing and keep up to date with the latest news on the Centenary Celebrations at www.sailing.org/centenary.