MORE than 150 keen young sailors and their families from across the state will descend on Lake Macquarie next weekend for the 2016 Trinity Point Optimist State Sailing Championship.
The event will be hosted by South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club (SLMASC), at Sunshine.
Club sailing instructor Lanee Beashel said hosting the state titles was a huge coup for Lake Macquarie.
A four-time Olympic windsurfer for America, Ms Beashel hosts learn-to-race sessions for Optimist-class sailors at the club.
“South Lake Macquarie Amateur Sailing Club is the first club on the lake to have an ‘Opti’ program, and this will be the first state titles for this class to be held on Lake Macquarie,” she said.
Optimist-class dinghy racing caters for under-15 sailors around the world. Some of the world’s top adult sailors are known to have learned their craft sailing Optimist dinghies.
“The Opti is probably one of the most sailed boats in the whole world, and a lot of the top America’s Cup sailors learned to sail in Optis,” Ms Beashel said.
“It’s an international class – there’s a world championship held every year - and the top five sailors in the class from Australia get the chance to sail at the world titles.”
The state titles will be held over two courses, with races in green, intermediate and open sections.
“Boys and girls compete together in the same races,” Ms Beashel said.
Leading the 22 young SLMASC sailors hoping to make the most of their local knowledge at the state titles is Bridget Conrad, who will be the club’s sole entrant in the open section.
SLMASC president Phil Evans said competitors as young as seven would compete at the weekend.
“Festivities have been planned for the whole family to enjoy both on and off the water,” he said.
Mr Evans praised local property developer, Johnson Property Group, for being the major sponsor of the event.
“Johnson Property Group is a major contributor to the Lake Macquarie area so we are delighted that they have decided to come on board and support this very worthy and well-supported community event.”
Mr Johnson said sponsoring the event was a good fit for Trinity Point.
“Sailing and boating life will be a major part of daily life at Trinity Point with our 188-berth marina being a key feature of our development and what will become a wonderful new state-of-the-art facility for the sailing and boating community of NSW,” he said.
“It’s a great privilege to be taking part in this year’s Optimist State Sailing Championship and we wish all of the participants the best of conditions for a wonderful sailing event.”
Mr Johnson will present trophies and awards to the winning sailors over the weekend.
The 2016 Trinity Point Optimist State Sailing Championship will be held on Lake Macquarie on Saturday, March 19, and Sunday, March 20.
Among the best vantage points for spectators will be Sunshine Parade, from 12.30pm, both days.