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Home » ClubNews » Somers Yacht Club: female sailors making waves

Somers Yacht Club: female sailors making waves


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Michelle Bursa and Chelsea Haynes . Michelle Bursa and Chelsea Haynes, Hobie 16 sailors from Somers Yacht Club in Victoria. . Credit: .

Three of Somers Yacht Club’s female sailors are making waves at a state, national and international level.

Chelsea Haynes and Michelle Bursa, both 17, have been named as members of the Victoria Sailing Team. They sail a Hobie 16 at Somers, while Caitlin Davies has been selected to represent Australia at the world Laser Radial Championships in China in September–October.

Michelle Bursa was also one of about six sailors nominated for Victoria female sailor of the year. The award went to Olympic sailor Krystal Weir.

Yachting Victoria says the Victorian Sailing Team is the underpinning program to the Victorian Institute of Sport’s sailing program and exists to provide funding and opportunities to junior and youth sailors who wish to pursue a sailing pathway in high performance.

As part of their selection, sailors will receive invitations to Vic Sailing Team Camps, access to funding and sponsorship opportunities, regatta support and invitations to guest speakers and coaches.

Michelle Bursa’s mother Joyce said that her daughter was “very excited” about gaining a place with Chelsea Haynes in the Victoria team for the second year running.

In early July the pair was sailing at Jervis Bay after having competed in the OAMPS Youth Regatta at Royal Queensland Yacht squadron sailing Viper.

Normally Michelle and Chelsea sail two evenings a week and weekends when daylight saving is in force and every weekend in winter.

The two girls are neighbours in Somers and have known each other since they were about two years old but have only been sailing together for the past two years.

Michelle Bursa, a student at Flinders Christian College in Tyabb, still finds time to coach at the Tackers junior sailors Westernport Yacht Club at Balnarring.

Chelsea Haynes, a student at Padua College in Mornington, said that she and Michelle had entered the Hobie 16 world championships, which are being held at Jervis Bay in February next year.

The world Laser titles where Caitlin Davies will be competing will be held at Rizhao city on the Yellow Sea south of Beijing, 27 September to 7 October. She will be one of only three women sailing for Australia.

Caitlin, 22, has been a member of Somers Yacht Club for 12 years when she first took up sailing but has only been sailing competitively for the past two years. She is now ranked 69th woman Laser Radial sailor in the world.

She is also a qualified sailing instructor and works at Sandringham and Westernport yacht clubs as well as working part-time as a pool lifeguard at Pelican Park in Hastings.

Olympic aspirations? “If I improve enough in the next three years, perhaps. My immediate goal is to see how far I can go. But I don’t rule out a shot at Olympic selection but there‘s still a long way to go,” Caitlin said.

She is studying to be a paramedic and nurse at Monash, Frankston and has six months to go before completing her course but has decided to take a year off because of sailing commitments.

By Tony Duboudin