Racing Fever: Australians’ Passion for Sailing

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Maybe it was winning two medals on their home waters during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics that spurred many Melburnians to take up sailing. Others may have been inspired to try their hand at the sport by a pair of gutsy teenagers from Oz, Jesse Martin and Jessica Watson, who both circumnavigated the globe solo.

Almost every day of the week there’s some type of sailboat race going on around Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. We weren’t sure what this one was. It could’ve been just for fun or bragging rights for the week within a club or among work colleagues. Yet, racing becomes serious when prestigious trophies are on the line.

One of the most celebrated events is the Rudder Cup which has the distinction of being Australia’s oldest ocean race. Sailors are put to the test negotiating the waters from Melbourne across the treacherous Bass Strait to Tasmania.

While Aussies are a competitive lot, most sail simply because it’s a chance to enjoy some of the best things in life: sunshine, water and fun.

If you enjoyed this story in our series, A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Characters™, you may also enjoy another one about the Melbourne area or our book The Unguidebook Sydney & Melbourne.