Chelsea Bradford wins the Keelboat Racing Club Champion award with the crew from Whispering Jack.
Hillarys Yacht Club keelboat sailors celebrated their successful season and trophy winners at the annual Presentation Night held last Saturday.
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the achievement of nineteen year old Chelsea Bradford who skippered Whispering Jack in division one to win overall consistency in that division and was crowned Club Champion for 2018/19, making her the Club's youngest ever skipper to claim the title. Chelsea says she has been involved in sailing all her life, with dad Bruce encouraging her all the way. Starting with Optimists at age 9, Chelsea admits her first regatta was a steep learning curve, where dad's advice of "bang left" finally worked in the second to last race moving Chelsea from last position to finish 5th overall, forcing Bruce to put down his beer and beam with pride.
Keelboat racing came shortly after, learning the ropes on her dad's 30ft yacht Rhumb Runner. Fast forward a few years and Chelsea now skippers Whispering Jack, a Titan 36, with the crew from Hillarys Yacht Club and skippered the HYC Ladies State Team in the Women’s State Championship running 1st in the last race and 3rd overall until an unfortunate spinnaker pole breakage. Of her current crew aboard Whispering Jack, Chelsea jokes "She is a great boat with a good blend of youth and ‘experienced’ crew – however the kite tends to go up before the latter are ready for it". Of course, behind every successfull sailor is a supportive family and a group of coaches. "Coaches are essential and I have been very fortunate in that regard and must thank Ron Mellor of PFS, Ashley Jones of MOFSC, Alex Zimmerman of RFBYC and of course Coach K at HYC. Currently I am sailing on R6 at RPYC and must thank my mentor Kingsley Peirce who taught me how to sail on the Swan River for the Women’s State Keelboat Regatta" said Chelsea.
Being involved in the recent She Sails campaign to introduce more women into sailing and as an Australian Sailing qualified coach involved in a multitude of courses at Hillarys Yacht Club and beyond, Chelsea is no doubt an inspiration for women and girls to start their sailing careers, and Hillarys Yacht Club couldn't be more proud (we suspect Bruce has had to put his beer down again too).
keelboat presentation evening
As well as the achievements of the crew of Whispering Jack, several other crews were celebrated on the night, with special recognition for Chris Kelly (Coach K) who along with Chris Goldacre was awarded the Ron Tough Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Sailing at the recent 2019 State Sailing Awards ceremony held at RPYC.
Blue Chip (Keith and Deborah Fisk) and Deckchairs Overboard (Neil and Wendy Harrison) who won the overall consistency for their division also pressed for Club Champion. Others to take home the booty included Perle for the IRC, Mini Series and Summer Consistency Series in division one; Helga for the Rottnest and Mindarie ocean races in division two and Comfortably Numb for the Commodore’s Cup, Fremantle and Marmion Reef races in division three. Crew Person of the Year was Warren Linnell from Tropical Itch and Most Improved went to Blue Chip.
Two presentations highlighted the participation of HYC women in the Women’s State Championships and the four HYC yachts who competed in the Fremantle to Geraldton and return ocean races.
Over two thousand dollars was raised to assist dinghy and keelboat sailors competing in State and National Championships next season, a result sure to be appreciated by our local HYC sailors.
Long-serving start management team members, Bill Mott and John Curedale who are retiring from the voluntary task were thanked with a hearty applause.
Photos L-R: Chris Goldacre & Chris Kelly accept their Australian Sailing award; the crew of Whispering Jack with all their awards; Chelsea Bradford accepts the Club Champion award.