Winners for the second time! The Portsea Queens (Emile Stigter, Ant Deague, Bev Francis and Peter Furnell) with the trophy that was presented by Erin and Carlye from headspace.

The sixth edition of this event was held last Sunday. It is an event that looks to raise funds and awareness in supporting vocation and employment opportunities for youth on the Southern Peninsula, with all proceeds from the event being directed to headspace Rosebud.

The event also provided the platform to announce the initiative to address a problem that needs solving. The pandemic exposed the dearth of trained hospitality staff on the Peninsula and the initiative is to create a program that will use BYS as a facility for training youth on the Peninsula in hospitality, using a registered training facility to conduct the training. Complementing this hard skills training will be the life and vocational skills training from headspace, Mornington Peninsula Youth Services and the Brotherhood of St Laurence. It is this piece that is resonating with hospitality businesses and a number of them including Searoad Ferries, Peninsula Hot Springs, Pt Leo Estate and BYS have undertaken to be “foundation supporters” – committing to engage youth who go through the program.

We had Erin McGennisken and Carlye Weiner from headspace in attendance who spoke about the range of services and programs that will support this initiative and were most appreciative of the difference events like this make in creating awareness of what they do. Also attending were Kiri James and Matthew Sudomlak from Mornington Peninsula Youth Services whose plans to set up a marquee were scuttled by the wind!

It is an exciting initiative and one that is receiving support across the board and the idea for this year is that all the youth who go through the program will be employed. With the event pushed back into March because of Covid concerns, it was always going to be problematic as to what weather we might get on the day. I suppose after having enjoyed glorious conditions for the the last five years, we were probably due to have a more challenging day and that we did!

The easterly started to kick in just as the event got underway which made it very challenging for the back markers in the swim and for the ski paddlers. The strengthening wind raised safety concerns and so the SUP and Team Swim legs were switched to the western side of the jetty … much to the relief of all participants.

Although we had some cancellations, we still had 21 teams competing this year and handicaps were again applied with the aim of having all teams finishing around the same time and Team Danks (Iain Jennings, Alister Danks, Chris Batty and Heather Danks) were the ones to get under the handicappers guard and win the handicap prize.

The overall winner for the second time was the Portsea Queens. The Queens were strong across all legs of the event, with the quickest time in two of the five legs and they again held off the perennial bridesmaid, being the Commodore’s Team, with last year’s winners the Portsea Kings completing the podium.

The event continues to build and with the commitment from participating teams on the weekend and the stronger purpose of the event, planning is already underway to make next year the best yet!

A BIG thank you again to the volunteers who gave up their time on Sunday morning, starting with Harriette Singh and Gordon Hyde helping arrange volunteers and laying of the courses. Out on the water were Georgina and John Plumridge and Barry Grahame, and stepping in when we needed more on water support were Gordon Hyde and Gavin Wall, ably directed by Al Singh in keeping tabs on all competitors. Timekeeping is always challenging and it was great to again have Jeremy Bulk, Malcolm Farfor and Joan Edwards assisting and despite the best laid plans, the changed courses caused havoc and so the move to electronic timekeeping next year is already in the works! Also assisting in timing and directing traffic on the waters edge were Greg Lewis and Garry Connolly.

Coping admirably with last minute registrations and participant numbers were Julia McNamara, Peter McNamara and Jacqui Devereux.

The biggest thank you again goes to my wonderful wife Andrea for not only her support on all the admin associated with the event, but also being the person responsible for arranging donations and prizes for the day that allowed us to also conduct a silent auction and a raffle on the day. I should also thank my son James for the updated graphics on the flyer and always being willing to help with whatever needed to be done.

Our sincere thanks goes to our major sponsors of the event:

• Searoad Ferries, Hocking Stuart | Belle Property Blairgowrie and Peninsula Hot Springs

Our thanks also goes to the following businesses who generously donated prizes and or items for the silent auction:

• SeaRoad Ferries

• Peninsula Hot Springs

• Moonah Links Golf Resort

• Bunnings Rosebud

• Liquorland Sorrento

• Dromana Estate

• Pt Leo Estate

• Mornington Peninsula Brewery

• BYS

And those supporters of the event who allowed us to display our advertising boards:

• WhiteCliffs Cameron’s Bight Foreshore Committee

• Trueman’s Golf Range

• Baked in Portsea

• Top Fun Shack – Rosebud

• Wayne Mercer

• Anita and Leigh Prossor

• SeaRoad Ferries

The event was followed by lunch on the deck and we thank our F&B staff for making all the competitors and their guests feel most welcome.

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