The CHS, as it is widely known, is an institution on the east coast for Aussie sailors and Will Divola/Alastair Hunter/Alex Hart (The Forest High School) on the16ft skiff, Ross Bell Electrical, have taken out this year’s title.
Divola’s crew scored four bullets and a second throughout the series to take out the overall prize at the Australian High School Championships held in Belmont, NSW.
“It feels great to finally win the big one after six years of CHS. Doing it with two of my best mates couldn’t be any better,” Divola said.
The celebrations will be big for the Divola and Hart families, as Flying 11 sailors Sophie Hart and Bella Divola (Brigidine College, St Ives), won the ‘All Girls’ Division Trophy.
The Flying 11 is a major stepping stone in the pathway to skiff sailing. The Ross Bell Electrical crew had also competed in the class. Divola and Hunter also currently sail together on a 13ft skiff, and their experience is sure to have played a part in this latest success.
There is great promise through the development of junior sailing in these classes and we hope to see Sophie and Bella progress into 13ft Skiffs in coming years.
Junior classes such as the Manly Junior and Flying 11 are seeing a greater number of female sailors joining the ranks. Sailing is one of few sports that allow crews to compete against each other irrespective of gender. Historically sailing has been very male dominated, but the landscape has shifted significantly in junior fleets.
There is a steady increase in female participation in Australian skiff fleets, as seen in this year’s CHS regatta, with two 16ft skiffs having two females onboard.
With Sarah Lee as Vice Commodore, the Aussie Skiffs are keen to ensure the pathway is open to all sailors. The hope is to see more female competition in the future, with sailors in the junior classes moving up the development pathways and into the 13ft and 16ft skiffs.
Skiffs website – https://skiffs.org.au/