The 2018 Club Marine Pittwater to Paradise Regatta, commencing Tuesday 2 January, has its share of under-30s sailing talent in its ranks this year. Some are newcomers to sailing and others are seasoned sailors who have hundreds of nautical miles under their collective belts. All of them are primed and ready for the 2018 P2P, motivated by equal parts camaraderie and competitive spirit.
Seven yachts in this year’s Race have sailors in their 20s onboard, among them, Dreki Sunnan, formerly Victoire, the Beneteau First 45 bought in mid-2017 by Ken Holmes. With its Norse name meaning ‘Dragon of the South’, Dreki Sunnan will welcome onboard three under-30s, lured to the challenge by Ken’s initiative to support and train the next generation of sailors.
Named in honour of Ken’s father’s conviction that the family came from Viking stock, Dreki Sunnan has an enviable pedigree and crew that is half extremely experienced and the other half new to sailing.
“The majority of our foredeck crew are undertaking their first season of offshore sailing,” said Ken. “It’s part of the training program we have put together to get young people interested in sailing, and in particular, bluewater racing, and then train them up to a standard where they’re confident to take on the greatest challenge of all, the Sydney Hobart.
“We’re hoping to be reasonably competitive,” continues Ken. “The boat can certainly do it, if we can push it and get decent wind behind us. The yacht does well in heavy conditions – 25 knots and above.
"We are looking forward to mentoring the younger chaps, both for their enjoyment of the sport and passing on the baton for the future of the sport.”
This year, Ken, an environmental scientist, will complete the race, “enjoy a few beers at SYC” then fly back to Sydney without taking part in Southport Yacht Club's Bartercard Sail Paradise Series.
“Regrettably, I have business commitments and have to go back to reality! The crew will take the boat back and I will fly back.” A proud Blues supporter, Ken and crew will be flying the flag for NSW in this year’s inaugural State of Origin Trophy, hoping to contribute points to claiming it for NSW.
“We’ll say it’s a bit of fun, but there will be a serious side to it now there’s a trophy up for grabs.”
One of the three young guns onboard Dreki Sunnan is John Lewin, a 26 year-old pilot based in Brisbane, in his first year of sailing and working hard to learn the ropes ahead of the P2P – his first offshore event.
“My mum and dad have been involved in sailing and yacht deliveries for many years, and they will be crewing on Dreki Sunnan this year as well,” he explained, adding that it would have been a “family affair” including his brother, Greg as well, but he had prior commitments and could not make it.
John’s dad, David, and Ken Holmes have been friends since their Uni days, hence the invitation for the 2018 P2P.