In a historic moment for Clermont, the first-ever Clermont Outback Sailing Regatta embarked on its maiden voyage. Held against the breathtaking backdrop of Theresa Creek Dam, this inaugural event marked a significant milestone in the region’s recreational pursuits.
The regatta was a brainchild of the Clermont Community Business Group (CCGB). Partnering with the Theresa Creek Water Sports Club and under the guidance of Michael Hollier, the President of the Water Sports Club, a working group was formed.
The presence of the Keppel Bay Sailing Club, represented by a trio of experienced figures, added a layer of expertise and finesse to the event. With meticulous planning the club handled all aspects, from race categories to official procedures, contributing to the seamless execution of the regatta.
“The Keppel Club came in and saved the day. They just did everything. From official stuff, to planning the races. They decided on the categories and all the stuff that we had no idea about,” said CCBG President Carolyn Franzmann.
Over two exciting mornings nearly sixty young sailors aged 6 to 16 ventured onto the open waters, mastering the art of sailing under the outback sky. The youngest participants, affectionately known as Tackers, maneuvered their vessels around buoys with determination. Guided by dinghies and paired off in teams, these budding sailors underwent safety briefings and sailing tutorials before navigating the dam’s open waters.
Older participants were paired with experienced young sailors and ventured further into the dam, gaining hands-on experience that left them exhilarated. Despite the chilly waters the participants displayed determination and returned to shore with smiles of achievement.
The regatta continued with competitive races involving over 20 registered vessels, drawing hundreds of spectators.
“The competitors were just so, so excited to see people out supporting their sport. That was really special,” Carolyn recounted.
The event’s success was not limited to the water as the Camp Oven cook-up on Saturday night fed a hungry crowd and lively entertainment kept the festivities alive well into the night.
Congratulations to the inaugural winner of the Clermont Outback Marathon – Chris Mann (Pigs in Space) who also took out the top prize in the Division One – Open Monohulls. The junior winner was Laken Eaton in Poker Face.
The Outback Marathon is the Clermont Outback Sailing Regatta’s signature race and unique to Theresa Creek Dam. The perpetual Outback Marathon trophy was designed, created and donated by Clermont Men’s Shed.
Carolyn expressed gratitude to the regatta’s supporters, including Isaac Regional Council, Glencore and Bravus Mining and Resources. These sponsors along with the Keppel Bay Sailing Club and other local entities made the event’s vision a reality.
As the sun set on the event it left in its wake a sense of unity and shared enthusiasm for sailing. This successful debut has sparked discussions about future events and has undoubtedly set the course for a new tradition, promising exciting voyages for years to come.