Army’s surprise victory at interservice keelboat championships

Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy teams were left in Army’s wake when they sailed to victory at the Interservice Keelboat Championships in March.

CAPTION: Members of the winning Interservice Keelboat Championships team, Craftsman Lachlan Vest, Sergeants Jessica Van Beek and Patrick Black, and Officer Cadet Daniel Sharp. Story by Corporal Luke Bellman.

A single-point margin secured Army’s first win in a decade.

The event, hosted by the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association, was held on Sydney Harbour.

Sergeant Patrick Black, the skipper of the four-man Army vessel, has been sailing his whole life.

“It was a really good competition between services – some really close racing,” Sergeant Black said.

Points in sailing are given equal to the place. Each boat can drop their worst result and the lowest final score wins.

There were nine races in total over three days and each service had three boats entered.

Races were cancelled on the last day because there was no wind.

Officer Cadet Daniel Sharp, who was the mainsheet trimmer, said it was a very intense competition.

“Trimming is having the sails at a correct angle and tightness to have the boat go as fast as possible,” Officer Cadet Sharp said.

“We didn’t expect the win at the start – I didn’t know what I was getting into.”

Army Sailing Club’s commodore Major Kevin O’Rourke said the win followed Army’s interservice victory at the Sydney to Hobart race late last year.

“There is an initiative by Army to get people back into sport,” Major O’Rourke said.

“After only one day of practice, these individuals formed into a very effective team.

“We look forward to challenging RAAF and Navy on the water next year.”

Novice sailors interested in participating in the Sydney to Hobart should send their details to armysailingclub@defence.gov.au


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