PADDLE PUSHERS: The Whitsunday Outrigger Club is on the lookout for new members.
PADDLE PUSHERS: The Whitsunday Outrigger Club is on the lookout for new members.

Keen yachties brush up on paddling skills

OUTRIGGER: THE Whitsunday Outrigger Club gave visiting Clipper Race crews some useful paddling tips last weekend.

Plans for the event included a short race between outrigger crews made up of seasoned paddlers and novices from the Clipper fleet.

However, only a handful of sailors showed up to participate, as the fleet was due to depart for Vietnam the following day in Race 7 of their round-the-world odyssey.

Of those that did participate, Phil Francombe, crew of the Clipper yacht Da Nang Vietnam, said teamwork was key to a good crew.

"It wasn't challenging getting in sync but staying in sync when upping the rate was," he said.

"What you shouldn't do is go out the night before like we did."

Despite suffering from their night out, the crew members did enjoy the paddle and the warm hospitality offered by the Whitsunday Outrigger Club.

Club head coach Adam Joyce said the Clipper crews had a great time.

"They were all laughs when they got out," he said, adding working as a team on board the Clipper yachts had enabled them to pull together in the outrigger.

"Their teamwork was good," he said.

The day before showing Clipper crews the ropes, the Whitsunday Outrigger Club had a "come and try day".

Club president Nick Bellinger said the outriggers were always looking for new members.

"It's a really good way to get out there and get fit, whether you are competitive or whether you just want to do it socially," he said.

"This year we have done it a bit differently.

"We will be training on the weekend with certain crews but to enable people to have their weekend free, whether it be on the water or off the water, we are looking at training Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5.30-6.30pm."

Outrigger Whitsunday is the second oldest club in Australia behind Hamilton Island.

The club is part of a national body made up of teams from the north Queensland zone that compete against clubs based in NSW, Tasmania and Western Australia in a national competition.

Bellinger said this season would be his third with the club, having competed all over the country and even in the Cook Islands.

Last year the club entered a mixed crew in a 45km paddle from Yorkies Knob in Cairns to Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.

They won the event in four hours, seven minutes.

Training at the Whitsunday Outrigger Club started this week for the 2016 season. The club will host the first north Queensland regatta of the season, to be held on March 19.

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