19 December 2017

Page 19

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20% OFF* One Collection Blockout & Screen Roller Blinds Includes round bottom rail. Teardrop rail available at extra cost. Commodore’s commendation: Hastings Yacht Club commodore Leon Alexander honours Dave Bowen after his presentation. Picture: Supplied

Quiet chat belies drama on high seas By Leon Alexander SOMERVILLE resident and Hastings Yacht Club member David Bowen has an enviable record on the water. This was revealed during a recent presentation at the club where the modest mariner spoke about his exploits as part of a screening of the film “The Weekend Sailor” released recently. Far from a “weekend” sailor, Mr Bowen in 1971 was the first person to row across Bass Strait. He rowed a 20 foot boat from Devonport to Wilson’s Promontory. Seeking more adventure, Mr Bowen signed up with the least likely crew ever to win a Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race in 1973. He joined the crew of Sayula II, owned by Mexican Ramon Carlin who, at the time he entered, had been casually sailing for two years and did not own a boat. In his introduction to the film, Mr Bowen recounted the derision they endured from the British media and the scepticism from the professional crews – some trained by the Royal Navy. The race, now known as the Volvo Ocean Race, departed Portsmouth for Cape Town, then to Sydney, Rio Di Janeiro and ended back

in Portsmouth. After 155 gruelling days at sea Sayula II beat all her 14 competitors. Hastings Yacht Club members were enthralled by Mr Bowen’s stories of the voyage – including having some crew members washed overboard in the Southern Ocean when the yacht capsized and the cabin filled with water. All were recovered as they were tethered to the yacht. Unlike the professional crews which were able to refresh their crews at each port of call, the “Mexicans” stayed together for the whole trip, with the exception of the owner’s wife who had had enough by the time they reached Cape Town. Yachtsmen have all kinds of motivations to enter this race: most aiming to win. In the case of Sayula II, Ramon was hoping to divert his teenage son from marrying an underage girlfriend. As it turned out, after 155 days at sea, he not only won the race but the son married the young woman anyway. Mr Bowen said the secret of success was the owner’s superb leadership skills and consideration for his crew to the point they were even permitted one glass of wine a day – an unheard of indulgence in a race such as this.

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Fast-track for stadium rebuild WORK will start on rebuilding the Somerville Recreation Centre early in January and, hopefully, be completed in December. A $1.3 million grant has been received from Sport and Recreation Victoria’s Better Indoor Stadiums Fund, with Mornington Peninsula Shire chipping in $4.3 million to rebuild the stadium which was destroyed by fire in May 2016. The council awarded the tender to the Lloyd Group on Tuesday 12 December for a bigger centre with four basketball courts, upgraded

change rooms, kiosk, activity room and community spaces. The funding will also cover the planning and design of a new skate park as the existing skate park lies within the footprint of the new stadium and will need to be moved. “We are looking forward to new and more modern sporting facilities,” Mornington Peninsula Badminton president Darren Fraser said. “It is fantastic that the centre will also be expanded, providing us with an opportunity to grow our club.” Western Port News 19 December 2017


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