Saturday, 8 October 2022

Rod and I are delighted to be with you today for the opening of the 2022-23 sailing season together with our daughter Katherine. We are particularly appreciative of your kind gesture in making us honorary members.

Rod and I enjoyed our visit in July to this region and learned a great deal about Goolwa, and indeed the wider Alexandrina Council area.

From the Aboriginal campsites stretching back thousands of years, the enduring indigenous cultural connections, through European settlement and to becoming the site of Australia’s first inland port, it is clear that water is an integral part of Goolwa’s history and identity.

And from this beautiful location it is easy to see why you chose this as your base, and why other associations choose these sheltered waters to hold their own events.

Rod and I are eagerly looking forward to the spectacle of the club’s sail past a little later.

Having had a keen recreational sailor for a father, I am well aware of the excitement that the opening of the season brings.

Dad learned to sail in the Sea Scouts, graduating in time to trailer-sailors, the first of which he – and we - sailed on the Murray from Goolwa.  He then went on to progressively larger boats.

He would have been most interested to learn that you are known for having the largest trailer‑sailor fleet in Australia and that many of the lovingly maintained vintage wooden boats are still racing weekly in the shallow waters of the Murray.

I also have fond memories of us watching together the start of the Sydney to Hobart on television every year and following America’s Cup racing closely.

This exposure to sailing, and my own occasional efforts, have given me a lifelong respect for, and admiration of sailors, both amateur and professional.

While I can easily recall idyllic days sailing in smooth conditions, I am fully aware that conditions can change and test sailors both new and experienced.

From my time – a long time ago - as captain of the University of Adelaide Boat Club, a related but different kind of watersport, I know that being on the water can be not only a wonderful experience, but also great way to build fitness, skills and teamwork.

In that regard, the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club has been providing this region with opportunities for camaraderie, skills development and connection to the water since 1854, which gives you the distinction of being the oldest continually operating yacht club in Australia.

As such, you are both the custodians of long tradition and the members through whom these traditions will be passed to the next generation of sailors.

As is so often the case, these services are provided on a voluntary basis. Thank you all for your dedication.

I am particularly pleased to learn of the club’s commitment to inclusivity and about the Sailability and She Sails programs, and to note the fact that 25% of your members are female.

I commend diversity of membership to of all clubs and associations, because draws more members in, helps build resilience and encourages creativity and innovation.

Friends.

I thank the Squadron’s board and members past and present for being the lifeblood of the Goolwa Regatta Yacht Club throughout its many sailing seasons.

I wish you well for the upcoming season and beyond.

It now gives me great pleasure to declare the 2022-2023 season open.