UWA has joined the international sailing scene with the launch of its first Foundation 36 yacht. UWA Centennial was unveiled last month along with plans for UWA to become involved in international sailing programs.
Perth will host the ISAF World Sailing Championships in 2011, our centenary year, the perfect opportunity for UWA Centennial to make its mark on the Swan River.
"We are the only University in Australia to be situated on good sailing water," said Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson at the launch. "And we are next door to the yacht club that won the America's Cup, which has a fleet of Foundation 36 yachts, a legacy of that international competition. We are delighted that, in our centenary year, we can be part of the biggest sailing event in Perth since the America's Cup defence."
Bruce Meakins, executive director of UWA Sport and Recreation Association, said he and his colleagues had been thinking about getting involved in international sailing since they were at the Indian Rim Asian University Games in Singapore.
"They have a fantastic sailing program there, but they have to travel 23 kilometres to get to the water. Here we are right on the water. It's too good an opportunity to ignore," he said. The UWA International Sailing Program is a collaboration between Royal Perth Yacht Club, Swan River Sailing (formerly WA Yachting Federation), the State Sailing Centre, UWA and the Sport and Recreation Association.
UWA has also signed a sporting memorandum of understanding with Singapore Management University (SMU), with a focus on sailing, rugby and tennis.
"The partnership agreement covers shared objectives and goals, sporting student exchanges, adventure and leadership training, sports tours and internships and of course cultural learning experiences," Mr Meakins said.
"As far as sailing goes, we have strong winds and low tides here in WA and Singapore has light winds and big tides, so it will be great for both our sailors and the students from Singapore to experience the different conditions, which will stand them in good stead for international competition."
The first UWA sailing team was hosted by SMU in August. "Singapore doesn't have much room, so their sports are water-focused," Mr Meakins said.
"They are keen for us to adopt dragon boat racing and we can offer them training in bushwalking, mountain biking and abseiling. There may also be opportunities for our students to go into third world countries on volunteer work with SMU."
UWA hopes to host the World University Match Racing Championships in 2014.
- Article from UWA News, 5 October 2009.