State sets its sails for the lake

UP to 150 boats are expected on Lake Hume when the Victorian dinghy championships head inland on the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

Cr John Watson, Cr Kevin Mack and Commodore Stuart Richardson say the Victorian dinghy titles at Lake Hume on November 1-2 has put the Sail Country regatta on the map. Picture: MATTHEW SMITHWICK

UP to 150 boats are expected on Lake Hume when the Victorian dinghy championships head inland on the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

The Albury-Wodonga Yacht Club will host the event that, for the first time in its 30-year history, will be held outside Melbourne.

The championships will be part of the Border club’s Sail Country regatta, promoting the waterway as a “hidden jewel” of inland sailing.

Stuart Richardson said he wanted to make the weekend a signature event on the sailing calendar.

“The annual dinghy championships results go towards the Victorian Sailing Cup,” he said.

“This is the first time we have been given the chance to run it and we have aligned that with our annual regatta and called it Sail Country.

“Normally, we could get 20 boats to our event but we are expecting at least 100 boats and up to as many as 150.

“It is going to be quite a sight with these boats, typically one and two-man boats, ranging from 8 feet to 18 feet, out there on the lake.

“Sail Country is something we want to run as a regular event — make the Melbourne Cup weekend our signature event, attracting sailors from NSW and Victoria — and any other state for that matter — in a type of state of origin competition.”

Richardson expected there would be some future Olympians in the field.

“The championship will include many of the youth pathway classes of sailing boats, such as Laser and 420,” he said.

“These classes are feeder classes, destined for the Olympic Games.

“The lake is at 75 per cent at the moment and that gives us plenty of foreshore to work with and plenty of open water for the racing.

“Most of these regattas are run on the bay in Melbourne or Sydney Harbour, but we want inland sailing, lake sailing, promoted.”

Wodonga councillor John Watson talked up the event with the city a major sponsor along with Albury Council.

“The lake is a hidden jewel and we don’t use it to its full capacity so what the yacht club is doing here for itself is great,” he said.

With the club bringing people to the region, the councils are happy to get behind the event.

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