Tinaroo Sailing Club

A Junior Revolution

O'pen Bic Un-Regatta 2009

An early morning sail

An early morning sail

John Philippa, Monday, 6 July 2009

The first ever Aussie Un-Regatta was held at Tinaroo over the weekend of 4-5 July 2009.

We are not really sure what an “un-regatta” is but the concept was copied from similar events held in North America and Europe. We set out to try and have a balance of fun events mixed with some serious racing.  The whole weekend revolved around simplifying the rules and taking away the pressure as well as providing some good healthy competition. As well as attracting local sailors, competitors travelled from Darwin, Mount Isa and Townsville to participate in the Inaugural Great Tinaroo Un-Regatta.  Tinaroo Sailing Club conducts its events on Lake Tinaroo, which is situated on the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. The club’s magnificent camping grounds were a great draw card for families enjoying their school holidays.  We wanted the kids to have heaps of time on the water. Sailors and most importantly their parents were briefed on this philosophy thoroughly before the events got under way.

Soccer has Rooball. Hockey has Minky. Softball has Tee-Ball. Volleyball has Newcombe. Why not sailing?


  1. Have Fun
  2. No crashing
  3. Port Tack gives way to Starboard Tack
  4. On the same tack, windward boat keeps clear
  5. Mark room

The Open Cross event involved sailors completing a course that involved a variety of manoeuvres and skills. These races had a Le Mans style start with sailors racing down the shore to their boats. The wetter the kids got the more fun they had.  Everyone was a winner in these events.

The single and tandem freestyle events provided great entertainment for those on shore. Tail sinks, Hood Ornaments, Spidermans, King Kongs and spectacular dismounts formed the basis of the tricks performed. Maya Reid took out the Singles competition with great agility and amazing work in front of the mast. Elyna and Charlotte Overland donned clown wigs and performed an intricate series of ballet poses to impress the judges and win the tandem. Maya Reid achieved the highest altitude in the difficult King Kong (mast climb). Angus MacGregor was the first to perform the highly daring boom run.

The speed slalom races formed part of the overall competition. Off the beach starts once again provided a spectacle. The less experienced sailors had a head start.

The speed races had the sailors reaching across an elongated figure 8 course. Sailors had to keep their wits about them when they met the rest of the fleet head on! Great for teaching port and starboard tack.

There were 5 conventional races as well. The ‘on the water’ starts and fleet racing tactics allowed the more experienced sailors to demonstrate their skills.

The 13 races of various types over the weekend helped to achieve our aim of maximum time on the water. No one had to bail and no one needed to be rescued!

Some of the Winners:
Overall Champion: Angus MacGregor
Sailor who had the most Fun: Kate Reid
Freestyle (singles): Maya Reid
Freestyle (tandem): Elyna and Charlotte Overland
Most amazing handstand (nothing to do with sailing): James Sellars
Under 12: Hamish Wiltshire
First Girl: Natalie Gray

What the Kids say:
“The BIC is extremely manoeuvrable, making them ideal for freestyle moves” 
“Really quick going downwind and reaching. In a breeze it planes easily” 
“I was excited when I saw the BIC and I really wanted to have a go”
“I love the fact that when I capsize I can easily turn the boat over and keep sailing without having to bail at all”

What the Parents say:
“The O’pen BIC is an inexpensive boat enabling us to own our own boat for learn-to-sail. The support of the Tinaroo Sailing Club and a terrific learn-to-sail program has meant that our children have mastered the basics of sailing with relative ease”

The Future for O’pen BICs

  • Launched in France in September 2006 the O’pen BIC Class was formally recognized by ISAF in 2007 as an exciting junior single handed class that has been well received in Europe and is now rapidly expanding all over the world.
  • A modern, fast planning 45kg hull measuring 2.75 metres in length is based on the Open 60 design of a totally open self draining stern with similarities to a laser. The rig includes a fully-battened 4.5m² mono-film sail with mast pocket, similar to that of a windsurf board. Rigged on an epoxy mast, the sail has been designed with an open leech to give sailors maximum control and performance in windy conditions. The boat is beautifully finished and fitted out with state of the art Ronstan gear.
  • The class targets kids in the 10 to 16 year age bracket with the sailor’s maximum ideal weight being 65 kgs. 
  • Tinaroo Sailing Club is the first club in Australia to adopt the concept of the O’pen BIC. The future looks bright with clubs in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania all showing interest in the class.

A Hood Ornament 22 Boats rigged and ready to go Darcy Cant (aged 7) Maya Reid took out the freestyle event James and Angus with a 'Tail Sink' Sailors get ready to go Le mans start in the Open Cross event The fleet gets away Georgie and Aidan Angus Hamish and Emily perform a King Kong Emily


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