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going the distance

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going the distance

After winning various state and national Optimist titles, NSW young sailor Jim Colley’s dreams have turned into a reality as he earned the opportunity to represent Australia at the Optimist World Championship in July 2012, to be held in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean which will attract around 300 sailors from 70 different countries.

This has been his goal for a year and a half and the result of many hours, weeks & months of solid training. In January, Jim competed in the Australian Optimist National Championships, held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane. After five days of demanding racing he was the 3rd placed Australian.

In order to raise sponsorship to cover his expenses, yesterday, Jim set off in his optimist on his mission to sail from Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Pittwater to Woollahra Sailing Club, Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour in an effort to raise money for his World Championship campaign so he can represent Australia in the Dominican Republic .

The young sailor set voyage at 8:40am with a slow start sailing up to Barrenjoey in a light easterly breeze. After the first 2.5 hours Jim made it offshore and started to turn south reaching along in the slowly building NE sea breeze.

With a full support team following, including Traks Gordon and Dave O’Connor in the VSR and Jim’s father Gerry Colley on his yacht, Jim ventured a little further offshore to get into the half a knot set which was running about 4 miles out searching for every little bit of assistance he could find to get him south.

After the 5th hour passing long reef Jim really started to feel the pain from working the boat hard downwind the whole time on the same gybe and commented when asked about how he felt.

“I’m ok but my bum is pretty sore and North Head needs to hurry up and get bigger!” As the breeze started to build to 14knots and the heads started to become clearly visible, Jim’s average speed started to lift to about 5.5 knots as he worked hard to catch every wave which presented its self.

Once in the harbour the seas flattened out and Jim had a very pleasant sail all the way into Rose Bay With an elapsed time of 8hrs 6min and 39 secs to cover over 26NM it was certainly a long time on the water with a huge effort put in by Jim to make it and achieve his goal!

Ten per cent of funds raised to support Jim’s Optimist World Championship campaign, will be donated to Salability on Pittwater. Jim will also compete in the New Zealand National Championships in April and state regattas in NSW, Victoria & Queensland. To find out more about Jim’s program for 2012 and support him check out www.optimistjim.com.au

Report by Nicole Scott / Photo by Dave O’Connor. Title inspiration from Cake.