Minnow Association Newsletter - June 2022

Hope you’ve all enjoyed the 2021/22 sailing season! Back in September we were all in the midst of lockdown, and we weren’t sure we’d get a sailing season. Now we’re learning to live with Covid, and very grateful that our kids were able to get onto the water.

Good luck to all our sailors heading north to the 2022 national championships regatta in Darwin on 2-8 July. The container of boats is already en-route, and we’re looking forward to a regatta report in our next newsletter.

If you’re not going to Darwin, don’t forget to register for WinterSail at Albert Park - as at time of writing there are already 12 Minnows registered with more to come!

In this newsletter we have:

  • Reflections on the 2021/22 sailing season from some of our Clubs

  • Information about several upcoming events (WinterSail and CitySail at AlbertPark, SailSandy at Sandringham, SailCountry and Albury Wodonga and the 2023 Minnow state and national championship regattas at Parkdale and Blairgowrie)

  • Minnow Association strategic plan

  • Information about buying and selling boats and parts

  • A call-out for reps at each of the clubs in Victoria where the blue sail is on the water

  • A reminder about 2022 membership renewals.

The 2022/23 season calendar will be finalised in the next couple of months - keep an eye on our website and social media channels for updates.

Victoria’s Minnows loaded onto a container for transport to Darwin for the National championship regatta

Reflections on the 2021/22 sailing season

Altona Yacht Club (Gail Lines)

And now there are 3 Minnows at Altona Yacht Club! Like other clubs, Altona Yacht Club has struggled to retain young people following the Tackers courses. We devised a plan to make a Junior Squad with Minnows as the main dinghy and now there are 3 in 3 months. We see the Minnow as an affordable second-hand dinghy for kids to learn more sailing techniques before they are big enough to have a larger dinghy.

I decided to buy one as the parents were unfamiliar with this strange sport and how to buy a boat. I discovered there are quite a few advertised on various websites. Then I found one the other side of town and retired members volunteered to go and pick up Krazy Kat for me. We no sooner got it into the boat shed and it to Williamstown Sailing Club for the Minnow Championships to be used by an AYC Junior, Wenham, and then later to the Minnow coaching with Mary who now has her own Minnow.

There was another one, Extreme, that I had spotted, so a member volunteered to go get it from Indented Head. Next thing I know his son, Andy, was saying it was his boat so the family kept it. The Dads have been wonderful at making sure the Minnows are in good working order and even built a trolley for one out of s/s tubing we had lying around the club.

At AYC we have training for Tackers, Juniors, and Adults on Saturday mornings. The kids were out in the Minnows and then progressed to racing in the Autumn series in the afternoons with an inner course with a RIB following them for safety and tips.

AYC looks forward to building a fleet of Minnows, sending the kids to Minnow training, championships and hope to see some local competition with our nearby club, WSC.

Beaumaris Yacht Club (Peter Kemp)

Beaumaris Yacht Club was able to get our small group of minnow sailors back on the water for most of the recent sailing season. Our regular Sunday morning squad and end of season junior series was run largely with minnows. Two Beaumaris boats travelled to the state titles in Williamstown and had success in both the novice and open fleets. Congratulations to our keen Beauie boys and girls and we hope to have participants at the minnow champs in the 2022/23 season.

Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (Richard Backwell)

McCrae Yacht Club (Murray O’Brien)

Now with the drastic and interruptive COVID-19 response seemingly behind us we are back in a phase of encouraging youngsters to purchase Minnows after completing their initial ten weeks in the club training optis. We currently have five Minnows consistently sailing having had two outgrow them and move into Laser 4.7s. We are hopeful we will see some purchases before next season but we are on the lookout for entry level Minnows to buy. Please let us know if there are any out there for sale! The club will purchase them to sell on to new members.

Rhyll Yacht Club (Wesley Moore)

Our fleet at Rhyll is starting to grow, with 3 boats now on the water. Over summer we held an adventure sail. The kids got to cruise around to the sand spit at Silverleaves, arriving at low tide the soldier crabs had just taken over the beach. Always a fascinating sight to see the sand moving before your eyes.

After lunch on the beach the juniors continued to sail towards Cowes along the beach front before turning back for home. On the way home the sea breeze came in a little early and strong, so sails got dropped and the boats got towed home.

The small group of sailors have continued to practice sailing not only at home but have had a number of practice seasons on gentle waters of Lysterfield lake, helping them to continue to build skills and confidence in the boats.

Williamstown Sailing Club (Alex & Ruth Morton)

The junior sailing programme at Williamstown continues to strengthen. This year we’ve had 10 Minnows on the water at different times on Saturday mornings - our best season yet! We’ve also seen 2 boats take part in our senior racing on Saturday afternoons.

Hosting the 2022 state titles gave our juniors the opportunity to jump into regatta racing, and also gave the Club the chance to get involved and see the benefits of the Minnow class for junior sailing. Five boats entered from Williamstown, and we’re hoping to grow our contingent at the regattas next season.

We continued to develop the Get Moving course that we trialled last year as a transition course to move sailors from Tackers 2 in Ozi Optis into their own boats. This year we ran the course twice, in the summer and Easter holidays, with 11 participants at Easter (including visitors from Altona, and 3 more late drop outs due to Covid).

On top of this, we launched a new monthly Friday night race series for juniors, teens & 20s and novices. Covid and weather were not kind to us. However we managed to squeeze in enough races for a series and proved that the concept works, so we will be repeating this in future years - visitors from other Clubs are very welcome!

Upcoming events

2023 national championships - Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron

After the Northern Territory, it’s Victoria’s turn next to run the national championships. Planning is already underway for the regatta to be hosted by Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron, so make sure you save the dates: Sat 7th to Fri 13th January 2023

2023 state championships - Parkdale Yacht Club

Next year’s state championships will be held at Parkdale Yacht Club - make sure you put the dates in your diary: Sat 25th & Sun 27th February 2023

Minnow Association strategic plan

Following several months of work, the Association committee has developed a strategic plan for the Association which was endorsed at the April committee meeting. This plan is an assessment of where we are as a class, a vision of where we’d like to be, and the steps we need to take to get there. This plan will guide our actions and activities over the next 3-5 years as we aim to grow and develop the class and our young sailors.

Read the strategic plan on the website
The Association also has a supply of spare parts for sale - centreboards, rudders, boat covers, mast plugs, trolleys etc - click here to learn more

Sailing club representatives

There are at least 11 sailing clubs round Victoria with active Minnow sailors, based on entries from the 2020, 2021 and 2022 state championship regattas, and another 6 clubs that entered boats in the previous 4 years. Are you willing to be a contact for your sailing club? Please get in contact with the association

Current Minnow representatives are:

  • Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron - Richard Backwell

  • Williamstown Sailing Club - Alex & Ruth Morton

  • McCrae Yacht Cllub - Murray O’Brien, Donovan Bailey

  • Beaumaris Yacht Club - Peter Kemp

  • Ballarat Yacht Club - Michelle Styles

  • Rhyll Yacht Club - Wesley Moore

  • Altona Yacht Club - Gail Lines

Other clubs where we’d like Minnow representatives are: Parkdale Yacht Club, Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club, Rye Yacht Club, Mount Martha Yacht Club, Portland Yacht Club, Albert Park Yacht Club

2022 membership renewals

2022 memberships are now available - $25 / child or $40 for a family

Class membership is required for entry to state and national championship regattas, and class coaching events - separate event fees will apply

Don’t forget that Minnow Association membership runs from January to December (it doesn’t match the sailing season) so you need 2022 membership for the events planned in the spring!

Click here to renew your membership