Stawell Yacht Club concludes 2014 season

(L-R) Stawell Yacht Club champion Johno Knight, club handicapper George Grellet and Jan Ibs Seht (third). Absent - Andrew Pearce (second). Pictures: WENDY ST GEORGE.

(L-R) Stawell Yacht Club champion Johno Knight, club handicapper George Grellet and Jan Ibs Seht (third). Absent - Andrew Pearce (second). Pictures: WENDY ST GEORGE.

STAWELL Yacht Club has concluded another successful season.

The club held its annual meeting and awards evening at the Goldfields Restaurant in Stawell which saw Tony Hillier re-elected for a second year as club commodore.

Tony Hillier, club treasurer Mark Knights and OC racing George Grellet each reported on a busy and successful year for the club.

A number of promotional events were held, including displays at the local agricultural shows, a discover sailing day and a hands-on Learn to sail weekend.

Club members also assisted with three Sailability days conducted by Mr Greg Young from the Department of Human Services, the special boats used being small dinghies with weighted keels and relatively small sails, enabling safe but enjoyable sailing for anyone with restricted mobility.

For the second successive year a Western Region Regatta was held at Lake Fyans.

The regatta was postponed from the intense heat of early February to a later weekend in March.

The event was a huge success and attracted an entry of 35 boats, boosted by an influx of Impulse class dinghies from all over the state for a round of their 'Travellers Series.'

The annual interclub split series against the Horsham club resulted in victory to Stawell on both days, although not before some confusion amongst the Horsham sailors about the venue for the first round.

This caused the comical situation of a procession of vehicles with boats heading west passing the other group going east.

Several sailors represented the club at class state and national titles, with club champion, Johno Knight having the most success sailing his Impulse.

Leigh Edwards continued to excel in various trailer sailor events around the state and the club's sports boat crew gained some valuable experience at the Geelong Festival of Sails in January, as well as a class win in the Four Points Race in May on Port Phillip Bay in their Thompson 7.

As well as competing on the water each Sunday, club members participated in several working bees to maintain and improve the rescue boat and clubhouse precinct.

The main capital projects for the year were the cladding and wind-proofing of the outdoor barbeque shelter and the acquisition of three club junior trainer boats, as well as commencement of kitchen renovations in the clubhouse.

Commodore Tony Hillier outlined another busy program for the coming season which includes a Western Region Regatta to be held in late November, club 60th anniversary celebrations and the rare opportunity to host state titles of the Impulse class over the March long weekend.

Award winners were recognised were:

Pennant Series - Club Championship - Johno Knight 1, Andrew Pearce 2, Jan Ibs von Seht 3.

L. & R. Bennett Yardstick Trophy - Johno Knight.

Titanic Award - This trophy was hotly contested by a number of hydrophilic yachtsmen, particularly the Commodore, who somehow managed to capsize in the lightest of breezes, but whose excuse was that he was learning to sail a new boat. The fact that he was often concentrating on getting good action film footage with his hand-held camera may also have been a distraction.

The winner was Mark Knights, who executed a spectacular flip in his catamaran followed by a frustratingly long recovery at the regatta in March. Unfortunately for Mark, much of the action was captured for posterity by club photographer, Glen Wellard.

Commodore's Clubman Award - The award was shared this year between popular husband and wife team John and Maureen Knight, both highly valued stalwarts of the club, who have been suitably recognised for their ongoing efforts in maintaining and improving the club building and surrounds, particularly during the off season.

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