There is an impressive volunteer workforce driving the delivery of the sixth ISAF Sailing World – Melbourne and the 21st Sail Melbourne Invited Classes regatta.
It is the largest group to come together for the annual Port Phillip regatta. Of the 230 registered volunteers, 40 are from overseas and another 30 from interstate. They come from all walks of life and range in age from 15 through to those unwilling to share their true age.
The Melbourne component of the volunteer team has been drawn from ten partner yacht clubs with each club taking ownership of their team and then working collaboratively to achieve an outstanding outcome for the internationally recognised event. Yachting Victoria’s regatta manager Lesley Fasala explains, “this year we asked the partner clubs to find their own volunteers, plus we have onshore volunteers coming from many other clubs.”
Event chairman Bruce Griffiths says, “The Victorian yachting community and our ten partner clubs are working tirelessly together to deliver a world class international event that leaves a lasting legacy to the state and our sailors.”
Operating from host Sandringham Yacht Club, the sizeable on-water team working across six course areas is led by International Race Officers Ross Wilson on the Olympic class courses and his brother Kevin Wilson on the Invited class courses. Their course leaders are Garry Hosie, Graeme Watt, Peter Taylor, Stephen Aulich, David Staley and Allicia Rae.
At the start of the regatta Ross Wilson challenged those leaders and their team members to “give the sailors the best racing possible”. He knows this is achievable due to the depth of talent in the on-water teams which include several International Race Officers who attended a training seminar with presenters Rob Lamb (UK) and John Parrish (NZ) in the days preceding the regatta start.
Back on shore and in charge of the boat park is Stuart Happ, a sailor of 35 years who is delighted to be able to give back to a sport that has given him so much. As he directs the sailors’ trollies in the crowded boatyard Happs recounts his previous regatta role. He was the volunteer courtesy car driver and had the pleasure of driving around 470 gold medallist Malcolm Page and Australian head coach and medal-maker, Victor Kovalenko. “I called him Yoda,” Happ joked.
On the results desk and under the watchful eye of Paul Pascoe is the small team of young lads who are putting their favoured school subjects of maths and IT to good use at the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. The leader is the quietly confident 15-year-old Richard Geake-Ransome. “I started doing results at my local club, Albert Sailing Club, for a couple of years. Then I moved onto doing results at Sail Melbourne and ever since then I have kept going with it,” he said.
His assistants are two local school students, 15-year-old Viper sailor William Hosking and 14-year-old basketball statistician Lucas Dunoon whose job it is to accurately input the twice daily race results. “My mum works for Yachting Victoria and asked Lucas and I to help out,” Hosking said. After a brief training session for these technically savvy youth, they have been assigned their own classes to manage.
By Tracey Johnstone/ISAF Sailing World Cup media.