White takes experience to the line

YEPPOON sailor Shelley White has a wise head on some young shoulders.

White will join an expected 180 competitors when Keppel Bay hosts the O'Reilly's Real Estate Australian Sabot Championships from December 28 to January 7.

The 12-year-old is a veteran in this game preparing for her fifth nationals.

However, there is a difference this year.

White is making her debut in the senior one-up class ? solo sailing ? after four years in the junior two-ups with a skipper and crew.

"It's going to be a bit different, if it's windy it will be a bit hard,'' White said.

"Also having no-one to help you or talk to will be different.''

Sailing on "Staytuned'' White could arrive at the start line with as many 50 boats when racing starts next Wednesday.

Tactics on the start line are to stay clear and try to get to the right end.

"I just have to keep a clean race and don't get bogged down by other people,'' she said.

"I just have to sail my own race.''

White will also be happy if she beats a few of the boys across the finish line, with sailing one of the few sports where boys and girls can compete against each other.

"There's more boys (sailing), but the girls are pretty good,'' White said, admitting some of the boys aren't too happy when the girls beat them home.

White will compete in the South Queensland Sabot team at the nationals, which attracts sailors from across Australia, after qualifying for the team last month.

Other Keppel Bay Sailing Club members to qualify were Luke Woolward, Edward Leeson, Michael Nuss (senior), Kimberley White, Stuart Skinner, Reece Baguley and Dylan Baguley (junior).

Boats have already started arriving from Tasmania for the seven-race program.

Held in conjunction with the closed championships will be National Sabot Week.

The seven-race program is open to all Sabot sailors giving other juniors a chance to compete at a national level.

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