the Breeze

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A handful of years ago, a group of island kayak enthusiasts started trekking around our islands and notified The Friendly Bay Islander of their intent.

From those small beginnings, more and more paddlers and then sailors joined the fray and before long, the Sandy Beach Sailing and Kayak Club was born.

The name was aptly chosen.

One of the most picturesque sites on our islands is the southern-most beach on Russell Island, Sandy Beach.

It is the place where the club was founded and where it hopes its future may lay.

Two years ago the Sandy Beach Sailing and Kayak club was incorporated, driven by some enthusiastic sailors, but particularly by a sailor, designer and artist of some repute, Bob Turner. He is also the club Commodore.

With friend, Steve Morgan, and another keen sailor in school teacher Liam Tucker, the club has gone from strength to strength.

Husband and wife treasurer and secretary Shaun and Donna Hardy have been helpful to the cause and the direction.

One of the goals is to introduce fun on the water to young islanders in particular.

"I grew up sailing on Middle Harbour in Sydney. Some of my best memories are those boyhood sailing days.

"You just can't beat a fine day, a strong breeze, and skimming over the water in a yacht or a kayak," Bob Turner said.

That may may not quite have been an accurate memory for Bob Turner.

There was a time in the early 1970's when he and a mate built a 44ft. catamaran on the banks of the Thames in London, sailed it to the waters off Korfu in Greece and spent five years taking tourists (mostly attractive females) on some awe inspiring sailing adventures (but that's another story).

Bob Turner says every young person and anyone living on our islands should 'get out and have a paddle or a sail'.

"We have a young bloke by the name of Liam Hardy who absolutely loves sailing and helps a lot of young islanders get involved with the club. He is a terrific young fella," a laconic Bob added.

Bob says the waters of Sandy Beach are 'ideal' to teach sailing.

"We are an island and more of us should experience our waterways."

Sandy Beach at the Southern end of the island, overlooks the southern end of North Stradbroke Island just a few hundred metres away, and looks on down to the Gold Coast further to the south. Spectacular stuff.

Colourful sails billowing in the wind is a sight difficult to beat.

"It is a wonderful advertisement for our islands," Bob says.

He admits that the Sandy Beach travails so far have been a 'voyage'.

"Our guiding light has been the Tingira Boat Club on Macleay Island.

"If Sandy Beach can match their success in the coming years, it will be an achievement."

With that in mind, a permanent place of residence in the form of a club house would be a milestone the club would like to attain.

The club meets every Sunday for about two hours either side of high tide at Sandy Beach with up to nearly 20 juniors learning to sail and race.

"The young 'tackers' (check early Australian slang for this one i.e. blokes, sheilas, fellas, and stone the flamin crows) learn about our environment and water skills that will last a lifetime," Bob said.

Bob Turner believes the waters of Sandy Beach are the best sailing venue on the islands.

"It offers a great test of sailing skills in a wonderful setting."

The club has led the way from a civic point of view introducing and hosting the annual island Australia Day Awards with help and sponsorship from Cr Mark Edwards and The Friendly Bay Islander.

"What a success they have been," Bob said.

Bob Turner and the Sandy Beach Sailing and Kayak Club intends to go from success to success.

"I have to say it is a joy to be part of this terrific island sailing and kayak journey," the club Commodore added.

• Some of the members of the Sandy Beach Sailing and Kayak Club at their Sandy Beach venue.