The Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta will be held again over the 2015 Australia Day Weekend. The Regatta features wooden dinghies once commonly sailed in Inverloch and around Victoria and Australia but now quite rare. A large number of wooden dinghies have been lost and it’s the aim of the Regatta to ensure that those remaining are valued. Inverloch has a special interest in early dinghy development as Len Morris developed the Inverloch 11 Foot Class which later became the International Moth Class.
Last year a committee of representatives from the South Gippsland Yacht Club, Inverloch and District Lions Club, Inverloch Rotary Club, Inverloch Historical Society, local creative artists and businesses planned the first regatta for classic wooden dinghies. We were fortunate to have a number of skilled sailors from outside the district who support and help organise the regatta and overall it has generated widespread interest in our sailing and seaside history.
The Regatta Committee is thrilled to announce that two of Australia foremost sailors, with very different backgrounds, will be attending and participating in the regatta. They are Jessica Watson OAM and Tom King OAM.
Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world solo and unassisted when she sailed back into Sydney Harbor in 2010. In 2011she was honored with the award ‘Young Australian of the Year’ and later that year skippered the youngest crew ever to take on the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. In 2012 Jessica was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.
Jessica will give a public talk on her sailing ventures, accompanied by film footage, at the Inverloch Community Hub. She encourages young people pursue their dreams and to take on the challenges of life and has addressed a wide range of audiences including the United Nations. She will also open the Regatta and be on the beach talking to people about their wooden dinghies.
Tom grew up in the Inverloch area and learned to sail on the dam on his parent’s farm then developed his sailing further on Anderson Inlet. His sailing was further refined on Albert Park Lake and in 1991, sailing with Raf Heale, won the Mirror World Championships in Holland. Sailing with crew Mark Turnbull in the 470 Class at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 he won an Olympic Gold Medal. Later that year he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal. He is currently Chairman of the Australian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission. Tom is the patron for the regatta and will also sail a Mirror, a classic wooden dinghy, over that weekend. His guidance to young sailors at the regatta will be invaluable.
These two outstanding Australians not only make the regatta a significant event but highlight the interest in conservation of our classic wooden Dinghies.