Robert Lea guides his catamaran Wild Child through a swell.
Robert Lea guides his catamaran Wild Child through a swell. Supplied

Lea out to tame seas on Wild Child

He won his first national sailing championship when he was 10 and now 36 years later he is still winning state, national and international titles.

Yeppoon’s Robbie Lea, 46, will be hitting the water with force to sail “Wild Child” in Perth next month, in an attempt to defend his Arrow Catamaran National Sailing title, which he won earlier this year in Victoria.

He has travelled Queensland this year sweeping up titles such as the Wivenhoe Winter Marathon, Queensland state title, the Cat Challenge and the Rum Regatta.

But now he prepares for the nine-race event that goes for the duration of six days.

“The competition will be tough with 16 times winner Frank O’Rourke from New South Wales, six times winner Steve “Shorty” Short from Victoria and a host of new boats produced in South Australia with talented young sailors racing,” Rob said.

“It may be difficult to get into the top ten.”

Lea, representing Brisbane’s Wynnum Manly Sailing Club, will be joined by two other Yeppoon sailors, Daryl Skinner and Tim Dau, and will make their way to the nationals that kick off on January 7.

“It is very competitive and there are some good sailors, three of them are past national champions,” Lea said.

“Realistically any one of 10 people could win.”

Lea said when he won the 2009 title it came as a bit of shock as he had only been racing in the arrow catamaran division for two years at the time.

“I actually wasn’t expected to win it.

“I was in a tie with Frank O’Rourke (six times champion of the nationals) but I won it on the count back,” he said.

Lea said he started racing in the arrow catamaran division because there was more of a challenge.

Daryl Skinner, who is also Lea’s sailing partner, will sail the sea with his “Airpower 2” and has also won the title previously.

Skinner came in at fourth in the 2009 championships and hopes to improve to be in the top three.



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