Five new yachts boost club
RICHMOND River Sailing and Rowing club are hoping that five brand new training boats will get more kids involved with the sport of sailing.
The club took delivery of five Open Bic boats on Saturday and had them out for their maiden voyage on the river in Ballina on Sunday.
Training officer Brandon McKeown said the French-made boats were ideal for kids aged 7-15, and they could be sailed by one person or two.
"You can capsize them a lot, get wet and just have fun," he said.
The sailing boats are made by the same company that makes ballpoint pens and they brought an extra four boats to Ballina on Sunday so nobody had to wait too long to have a go.
"Sailing is a great sport to do at any age...You use all of your muscles as well as your brain because you have to have strategy as well as skills and strength," Mr McKeown said.
"And it's one of those things you can do at any age, so you have people of all ages doing it and learning together which really builds a sense of community at the club."
The number of juniors at the Ballina-based club has dropped to about a dozen, but they are hoping the new boats will help attract a lot more people out on to the water this summer.
The club is next to the Ballina waterslides and has been operating since 1937. They have race days every Sunday from September to May with learn-to-sail sessions run from 10am-12pm on Sundays.
Mr McKeown also said Australia winning more gold medals in sailing than any sport at the London Olympics would help lift the sport's popularity.
"Today's all about getting the boats out on the beach and having the kids run around and having a bit of fun."
Mr McKeown said there was a perception that sailing was an expensive sport, but pointed out that the new Open Bic boats cost about $3000 each and would probably still be worth $2500 in five years' time.
For more information about the Richmond River Sailing and Rowing Club, phone 6628 7673.