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2017 Sailing Season Opens

The 2017 sailing season was officially opened yesterday with the blessing of the fleet during the Sail Past at the Royal Suva Yacht Club. The tradition is believed to have
30 Apr 2017 11:12
2017 Sailing Season Opens
Patricia Punja’s Deepa III steered by Rohit Punja during Yacht parade out at Suva Harbour on April 29, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The 2017 sailing season was officially opened yesterday with the blessing of the fleet during the Sail Past at the Royal Suva Yacht Club.

The tradition is believed to have originated in ol’ Blighty around 200 years ago at the Royal Yacht Squadron in the English seaport town of Cowes.

The annual event in Fiji started when the RSYC was established over 80 years ago. It consists of club members who sail out into the harbour starting from the junior sailors, to the Hobies and followed by the B-class boats.

Captain and crew members saluted Royal Suva Yacht Club Commodore Peter Watts and got their boats blessed by Father Leronio Vodivodi of the Laucala Bay Parish to safeguard the sailors for the rest of the year when they are out at sea.

“Not only does the sail past mark the beginning of the sailing season, it also marks the end of the cyclone season,” said Watts.

“It is the opening of the sailing season and the blessing of the fleet so all our boaters and sailors go out there safe and sound for the rest of the year. It also transpires as the end of the cyclone season, the trade winds have come in and it is time to start being a yacht club and go sailing and having fun.”

The year is expected to be a busy one for the yacht club, Watts says, with the children’s programmes coming up, plus the fishing competitions.

“The junior sailors have a kids programme so the kids can come along and learn to sail as well as go sailing. The B-class sailing boats have a regular sailing campaign over the season and there is also a fishing club and a non-competitive fishing competition where it is just about having fun and going fishing.”

Watts also mentioned that the club brings together people from different backgrounds who not only share a passion for the sea but to also have fun and socialise.

“Lots of people love going fishing and sailing, it is the Royal Suva Yacht Club but people love going sailing as well as socialising and having fun. People love boats, getting out on the water so this is a mechanism or a fraternity for them to do both at the same time.”

For the Sail Past yesterday, some decorated their boats and did performances on the deck.

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