Over the last few weeks, the rain, hail, and bitterly cold winds have suggested that Winter is on its way. And while many South Gippsland residents are happy to stay inside and turn the heater up, a bunch of slightly crazy speed sailors from the Inverloch Windsurfing Club have decided to host a Speed Competition on the last weekend in May.
For those not familiar with the sport, speed sailing is a relatively new aspect of extreme sailing that involves windsurfers collecting data about their speeds via GPS. The type of information that is recorded includes the fastest speed for the session, the fastest nautical mile and the longest session. Sailors then upload the data to a website, where they compete with other sailors from all over the world.
The Inverloch Speed Invitational is the brainchild of Inverloch Windsurfing Club member and local resident, Dan Poynton. “Over the past few years GPS speed sailing has really taken off and there is a strong presence in Victoria, with 4 GPSTC teams”, says Mr Poynton. “With Anderson Inlet providing such good conditions for a variety of sailing styles I thought a speed event where we would invite competitors from all over the country would be great fun, plus it would show off our “home track” to other sailors, and display how good this place is for windsurfing.”.
Running an event that brings in people from all over Australia is not an easy process. With this in mind, Dan, and the Inverloch Windsurfing Club enlisted the support of the Inverloch Tourism Association to help with the development of the event. ITA President Dom Brusamarello further explains. “The ITA is thrilled to be associated with the IWC in supporting the inaugural Invitational Speed Challenge. We see it as a “good fit” in promoting water based activities on the Inlet, due to the Club’s positive, proactive, welcoming culture and a desire to be involved in the community,”
Inverloch Windsurfing Club president, Doug “Old Salty” Hocken is also keen to show off his local spot to the rest of the windsurfing community. “The shifting sands on the Inlet always provide opportunities for us to discover that new secret spot that no one else has sailed before” says Mr Hocken. “The waters are pristine, the coastline stunning and to be spoilt with grassed rigging areas is just brilliant. It is a great feeling to know that the township is behind the Club and supporting us in this new venture. You never know, but perhaps this is the start of getting Inverloch back to the Windsurfing Mecca status it had during the 1980’s”
The event gets under way on Anderson Inlet at 10 am on Saturday 28th May, and hopes are high that the Speed Invitational will become a regular occurrence. “ We believe this will grow into an annual event & are working with the club to develop more Windsurfing events”, says Dom Brusamarello, ITA President. When asked if he was participating in the event and joining the fool-hardy sailors on the chilly waters on the Inlet, Mr Brusamarello was somewhat guarded. “Participating is a strong word” he stated, “Come & Try sounds like a possibility, but staying on the shore, warm, dry and sane sounds more likely!”.
Photos courtesy of White Caps Photography