Sandringham Yacht Club stalwart Daniel Edwards is urging sailors from around the country – and particularly Victorians – to be part of the 2018 Australian Yachting Championships and experience what he believes is an under-utilised wonderland on Melbourne’s doorstep.
Edwards claims his Beneteau First 35, White Noise, doesn’t stand much of a chance against the grand prix yachts that have been drawn to the Championship between 19 and 21 January. However, the decade-long Sandringham member and self-confessed rules fanatic is itching to take on “the bay” with his crew of loyal clubmen.
“I’ve got a good team around me, we have a lot of fun, don’t take it too seriously,” Edwards said.
“It’s just nice to get out on the bay. Port Phillip is a great body of water for sailing and I don’t think enough people have seen this fantastic place. We get a good range of conditions, some fresh south-westerlies and westerlies and a fair bit of chop, which makes for tough sailing. Then we get northerlies, where you get beautiful flat water.
“It’s going to be a fantastic event for the club and great for Victoria. We hope all the clubs here and all the sailors in Melbourne get behind it and get involved. There’s a good solid number of entries now but hopefully more come in.”
Among the big guns confirmed are Jason Close’s More Noise. Close originally owned Edwards’ White Noise.
Mike Welsh’s Wicked, another yacht out of Sandringham, was the runner-up in the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and has been getting consistent results.
“Generally, the Beneteau First 40’s, like Bandit and Wicked, race well on the Bay,” Edwards said.
“40 feet is a good sized boat for the bay, it gets through the chop pretty well. So they’ll be up there.
“It’s exciting that the club is hosting the event and exciting to be part of it. This is a really good club. We’re very lucky to have had some clever people involved over the years. We have terrific facilities, everything a yacht owner would need. There’s good space for repairs, a great clubhouse, great facilities – and we have a good fleet or racing people.”
Sandringham has given Edwards and others a chance to extend their skills.
“I do enjoy rules,” he said when asked if ‘rules fanatic’ was a fair description.
“I’m part of the protest committee, sit on a number of sub-committees and I’m training up to be a judge. We’ve got wonderful people around the club, lots of opportunities to be mentored and grow. It’s a great environment.”