Competitors set off in the Queensland Youth Sailing Championships.
Competitors set off in the Queensland Youth Sailing Championships. Chris Ison

Sailing mates tack into wind

THE weather was miserable, and the sailers were fatigued, but that didn’t stop Yeppoon’s Shelley White and her partner Georgie Toner battling on.

A total of 44 boats, with competitors as young as eight, right through to 17-year-olds, competed in the 2010 Queensland Youth State Championships in Yeppoon on the weekend.

The competitors worked with Olympic level sailing coaches Ben Callard, Martin Watson, Mike Fletcher and Adrian Finglass in the four days leading up to the event to hone their skills during the annual Keppel Bay Sailing Club’s annual Youth Development Camp.

The Morning Bulletin caught up with some of our young local talents during wet and miserable conditions on the water on Saturday.

Shelley, 17, and Georgie, 15, two of the older competitors in the mix of sailers from all over Queensland, teamed up at the start of this year after meeting at a regatta about a year ago.

And on Saturday they were tested as fatigue kicked in and the cold and wet weather hit hard.

“I feel like a hot chocolate,” Shelley said with a laugh while out on the water before competing on Saturday.

Yesterday before their final day of the championships, Shelley said the sun was shining and the pair and their boat Desperate for Attention, was ready for a day of tough competition.

“We’ve had so much fun out on the water sailing together all week. Because Georgie lives in Brisbane, it’s difficult to train so we need to take every opportunity we can,” Shelley said.

Overall the girls placed third for their division.

Shelley, who is very competitive and is part of the Queensland Academy of Sport Program, started sailing when she was six after her dad introduced her to the sport.

While sailing solo, Shelley picked up 89th place out of 270 competitors during the youth worlds in Turkey.

She has also travelled with the sport to New Zealand and Singapore for the nationals.

“I love the feeling of being out on the water. It’s such an adrenalin rush,” Shelley said.

The Emmaus College Year 12 student said the toughest situation she’d been in was when her boat capsized a couple of years ago during training.

Joining the all-star list of big names in Yeppoon last week was Olympic gold medal sailor Malcolm Page and world champion skipper Matt Belcher.

The 2010 Queensland Youth State Championships gave young sailors exposure to some high-level coaching, as well as an opportunity to have fun and make new friends.



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