Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron Opening of 132nd Sailing Season
Kaye and I are delighted to join you, once again, for this special day in the annual calendar of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron.
I first officiated at this ceremony as your Patron in twenty-fourteen, only weeks after being sworn in as Governor, and I have since had the pleasure of officially starting two Brisbane to Gladstone yacht races.
Last year at this time I was in Hong Kong, so the season was opened by Acting Governor, the Honourable Chief Justice.
But I’m very, very pleased that my schedule this year has allowed Kaye and me to be here, following our return yesterday from official travel to Japan, and I am also pleased to note the presence here today of the Official Secretary, Air Commodore Gower.
It gives us the opportunity to join with you in celebrating not only the opening of the one hundred and thirty-second sailing season, but the silver medal success of Squadron sailor Will Ryan and his fellow Queenslander, Matt Belcher, in the men’s four-seventy class at the Olympic Games in Rio.
It also allows me to congratulate three other Squadron sailors (Ashley Stoddart, Jake ‘Big Fella’ Lilley, and Will’s sister, Jamie) on their selection for the Australian Olympic team.
For five of the eleven sailors in our national team to be members of a single sailing club – along with the Team Manager, Peter Conde, and two coaches, Victor Kovalenko and Jared West! – is truly remarkable and I congratulate everyone involved in training and supporting those young sailors throughout their careers.
It might take a village to raise a child, but I think I can say confidently that it takes a club and a committed community to raise sailing champions.
Those five Olympians have added to the already magnificent record of this club in producing members of the Australian sailing team at every Olympic Games since 1956 — that’s sixteen different Games, competing in waters and conditions ranging from Sydney Harbour to the Gulf of Finland, Lake Ontario to the Mediterranean.
That ability to adapt to a wide variety of conditions is characteristic of sailing as a sport, and there are few other sports that require the sailor’s combination of strength, agility and endurance as well as fearlessness, determination and tactical nous. But sailing also requires willingness to adopt and adapt to constant changes in materials and technology.
I can certainly say that the high-tech Moths of today bear scant resemblance to the Moth I attempted to master in my own early forays into sailing.
The qualities I’ve mentioned apply equally to the clubs which support sailing. Without bravely confronting change and confidently adopting new technologies, innovation, and a strong future vision, clubs cannot continue to succeed.
The members, trainers and management of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron have been exemplary in this regard and it is as a very proud Patron and Governor that I congratulate them on another successful year and wish you all well for a successful year of sailing to come.
It is now with great pleasure that I declare the one hundred and thirty-second sailing season officially open.