By Anthony Hall
Two big sailing competitions attracting competitors from around Australia and the world are heading for Fremantle.
The 505 Australian Nationals and the International Dragon World Championship will be held late this year.
Saskia Doherty is the Executive Director of Events at Tourism Western Australia. She thinks the competitions will help Fremantle’s economy and attract valuable media coverage for the state.
“We estimate the Australian and World Dragon Championships will generate more than $1 million dollars to the local economy attracting nearly 300 out-of-state visitors who will each stay for an average of 16.5 nights,” Doherty says.
Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club will host the events at Fremantle Sailing Club’s historic facility which is well known for Australia’s defense of the America’s Cup in 1987.
Scott Olney the Sailing and Events Manager of Fremantle Sailing Club says the events won’t be a challenge logistically as the dragon boat crews come well prepared for the events.
“Most of the skippers and crew will be doing their own boat importation,” Olney says.
“These guys pack their boats up on a road trailer, put it in a 40 foot shipping container and send it over here to be carefully unpacked and delivered to our hardstand area.
“They’ll probably arrive around early to mid-December and then I believe all of the dragon containers are going to be unpacked offsite,” Olney says.
The club will be helping Royal Freshwater Bay sailors transition their Dragon boats to Fremantle and prepare for the race’s ocean course.
“I believe that some of the guys from Freshwater Bay are looking to move their boats here a little bit earlier around November to make it easier for them to actively train for the competitions,” Olney says.
“They’ll be doing a fair bit of training out here on the ocean waters outside our facilities to get more aquatinted with the conditions and the course.”
The 505 National Dragon Championship will commence in December this year with the International Dragon World Championship following immediately in 2019.
A source has indicated that a Danish Royal may be attending the events as a competitor.