By Phil Jarratt
On a perfect winter afternoon in Noosa – except for the sailor’s friend the sea breeze had died out – they came from all over for the long-awaited, Covid-delayed, salty evening to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the splendid waterfront HQ of the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club.
As the gourmet delights, bubbles and beer flowed, the club welcomed everyone from champions of the future to legends of the past, as well as a host of community organizations and individuals who supported the good works of the club for many years.
The original Yottie, known as Noosa River Sailing Club when the first clubhouse was established in 1961, where the Gympie Terrace tennis courts are located today, was barely big enough to swing an anchor chain very short, but from the beginning (early 1950s) the club had a big heart.
People who loved sailing seemed to want to share their joy with others who had never had the chance, and this spirit prevailed, through different names and places.
My first experience with this came in the early 90’s when a lovely, recently deceased fellow called Bruce Whitfield, a loyal servant of what was now the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club, helped us promote water sports to children who might not otherwise have had the opportunity through Noosa Council’s Nu Wave Youth Centre.
Through this connection, I remember being introduced to fabulous sunset ales on the rickety deck of this club which had served old Noosa well, but was unsuitable for new Noosa, pictured era by recently established and fast growing Noosa Waters. domain.
The existing clubhouse was simply not large enough to house the growing stock of equipment needed for both sailing and rowing, and after a few ruffled feathers between rowing and sailing cultures as to what worked best, it was agreed to accept an offer of land from the council. at the mouth of the Noosa Waters Estate canal.
On Easter Saturday 1994 the sailors and rowers moved from the old clubhouse to the new clubhouse, and since then the club has grown in size and membership.
Covid may have delayed the 25th anniversary of the current clubhouse by a few years, but the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club had something to celebrate at last Saturday’s celebration.
For starters, there’s the remarkable $220,000 raised in fiscal 2021 to support the club’s YouthSail, Rowing and Sailability programs.
This has given a massive boost to these valuable programs helping disabled people of all ages and school children learn to row and sail.
Thanks to the funding, the sailor tow Stratus 580, a multipurpose vehicle used for adult sailing lessons, seaworthiness and school programs, was upgraded.
Four new wandering dinghies for school learn-to-sail programs, and two new ribs (rigid inflatable boats) were purchased to ensure maximum safety on the water, and a new engine was upgraded. level for the Rescue 1 boat.
With safety a priority, additional portable radios were acquired for communication on the river, while to ensure ease of access for the Sailability program the beach wheelchair was also refurbished.
Seven local schools are now participating in the School Program, with over 3,000 attendances.
The Stratogen Accountants Sunshine Coast Inter-School Regatta is held annually with the Primary and Secondary divisions competing in a two-day round-robin format. On average, 18 teams compete for the trophy.
The regatta is currently in its 12th year.
Four lifeboats and 37 training boats now make up the fleet of the club’s sailing programs.
Vacation programs including FunSail and Learn To Sail (for ages 7-17) are essential first steps in the sailing journey. Participants gain valuable life skills and confidence on the water. Many of these participants participate in regional, state or national programs.
With the rise in Covid cases in Queensland, rowing memberships have noticeably increased, with people turning to the incredible health benefits that rowing provides.
The club now has a thriving Master Rowers division, winning state and national titles over the years.
Well done, Yottie. Here’s another 25.