Raising the sails at the Yottie

Sailability regatta. Supplied.

Covid may have delayed the 25th anniversary of its current clubhouse by a couple of years, but the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club will have plenty to celebrate on its open day, coming up in August.

For starters, there’s the remarkable amount of $220,000 raised in financial year 2021 in support of the club’s YouthSail, Rowing and Sailability programs.

This was a massive boost to these valuable programs helping disabled people of all ages and schoolkids to learn to row and sail.

As a result of the funding, the Stratus 580 trailer sailor, a multi-purpose vehicle used for adult sailing lessons, Sailability and the schools’ programs, has been upgraded. Four new vagabond sailing dinghies for the schools’ learn to sail programs, and two new RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) were purchased to ensure maximum safety on the water, and a new motor has been upgraded to the Rescue 1 boat.

Safety being a priority, additional handheld radios were acquired for communication on the river, while to ensure ease of access for the Sailability program, the beach wheel chair has also been refurbished.

Back in the 1950s a small group of dedicated sailors were unknowingly laying the foundations for what is now the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club.

Then known as the Noosa River Sailing Club, their first clubhouse, near the existing tennis courts on Gympie Terrace, was opened in September 1961.

As numbers grew, the clubhouse was extended and the name changed to the Noosa Yacht Club. At the same time, rowers were becoming big users of the Noosa River, with their storage at Munna Point.

In 1981 the Noosa Rowing Club was formed and in 1984, agreement was reached and the Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club was incorporated.

Don Reed, an original of the Noosa River Sailing Club, and Dr. Nick Kahl of Noosa Rowing Club, along with Simon Newcomb and Billy Griffiths, secured the river site which was to become the current club site.

On Easter Saturday 1994, the sailors and rowers sailed past the old clubhouse to the new clubhouse and, ever since, the club has grown in size and membership.

Seven local schools now participate in the Schools Program, with over 3000 attendances.

Hats off to the Year 7s at Noosa Pengari Steiner School as they also attend a learn to sail program each year which enables them to embark on a week-long self-catered sailing camp around Moreton Bay – the experience of a lifetime.

The Stratogen Accountants Sunshine Coast Inter-Schools Regatta is hosted every year with both primary and secondary divisions competing in a round robin format over two days. On average 18 teams compete for the trophy. The regatta is currently in its 12th year.

Four rescue craft and 37 training boats now make up the fleet in our sailing programs.

The holiday programs, including FunSail and Learn To Sail for seven–17 year-olds, provide vital first steps in the sailing journey. Participants gain valuable life skills and confidence on the water.

Many of these participants go on to compete in regional, state or national programs.

Sailability provides people with disability, young and old, the freedom of sailing the idyllic Noosa River. Instructors and volunteers crew the dinghies and safety boats to maintain a safe environment. The Sailability program is celebrating 10 years and is run every Thursday (excluding school holidays) during March to September.

With the rise of Covid cases in Queensland, rowing memberships noticeably increased, with people turning to the incredible health benefits that rowing provides.

The club boasts a thriving master rowers division, achieving state and national titles over the years.

Rowers can develop valuable life skills, goal setting and a sense of belonging while developing new friendships.

Whether you are looking for a social, competitive or accepting involvement in sport at all levels, The Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club is breeding success.

FOOTNOTE: Back in 2020 a group was trying to organise defibrillators to be placed all along the Noosa River for public use. This unfortunately never came to fruition, so the Yottie decided to go it alone and install one from its own funding. The defib is located outside the sailing office near the notice board, and it’s for public use.