Families seeking a fun outdoor activity during the summer holidays and beyond are being encouraged to try sailing on the crisp clear waters of Port Stephens.
For more than 30 years senior and junior members of the Port Stephens Sailing and Aquatic Club have been meeting on the shores of Salamander Bay, sailing a range of boats from lasers and Bics to flying elevens and catamarans.
Club president Dennis Hume, a sailing veteran of nearly 40 years, said that the club was fortunate to have a number of more experienced sailors willing to train junior members in the skill of boat handling.
“One of the beauties of sailing for kids who love the outdoors and a bit of adventure is that there’s no reading needed, no homework and no exams … yet there is plenty of learning,” Hume said.
“They are exposed to things like aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, meteorology and oceanography. On top of that the sport is great for physical exercise and most importantly it’s enjoyable.
“Some sailors like the competitive nature of the sport, where they learn how to navigate a race course but the emphasis is very much on learning, not winning.”
For the King-Schmidt family of Eagleton, sailing has become a passion with siblings Felix, aged 9, Otis, 7, and Spike, 5, enjoying most weekends and holidays steering the pint-sized boats.
“The kids love it, they would spend every waking moment on the water if they had the opportunity,” the children’s parents said during a training run on the bay.
Planning has commenced by the club administration to facilitate a program to introduce junior sailors to racing in the hope they can compete in the Port’s sail event of the year, the Sail Port Stephens regatta to take place in April.
“We want to attract more people, boys and particularly girls of all ages, to give sailing a try and hopefully recruit enough for a crew to compete in this annual event and later in the year when we host the Jack Hollman Memorial Trophy.”
For interested newcomers and sailing enthusiasts there will be plenty of action on the water from January 12-18 when the Port Stephens club hosts the flying eleven national regatta, which is expected to attract more than 42 boats from across the country.
The flying eleven is designed as a high performance racing skiff suitable for 12-to 18-year-olds and the regatta is expected to bring a high level of competition to the Bay.
Onlookers are welcomed to watch from the shore near the Seaview Crescent clubhouse.
Then on the Australia Day holiday weekend (January 26-28), the club will stage the RS 100 nationals for junior and adult sailors at the same venue.
To find out more about the Port Stephens Sailing and Aquatic club go to: pssac.com.au.