Club to cash in on Olympic gold
DARLING Downs Sailing Club president Jason Elliott hopes Australia's success at the Olympic Games will attract a wave of new interest in the sport.
The Aussie sailors were a shining light in London, winning three gold medals and a silver when so many of our country's athletes performed below their world rankings.
And Elliott said the club planned to make the most of sailing's new-found profile among Australia's sporting elite.
"My feeling is all the funding should go to sailing now instead of swimming. We're the new golden boys on the block," he said.
"We had every hope that Australia would be successful. With a little bit of luck we could have won some more. We were very close in a few races.
"It puts sailing on the front page of the news and gives it more recognition."
Elliott said sailing enthusiasts could hit the water in the same type of boat that Tom Slingsby sailed to gold.
"We've got two Olympic class lasers available for people to come out and use," he said.
"They're a bit older, but it's the same class Tom Slingsby won gold in."
Ian Templeman, a former Australian sailing champion, was a foundation member of the club in 1966.
He said the lasers were a fantastic boat for everyone from rookies to seasoned veterans.
"I've been sailing since I was five years old and I'm in my 70s now and I can still sail the laser," he said.
"Lasers are really ideal for this type of sailing (at Cooby Dam)."
Fellow member Terry Mosler agreed.
"They're nice and easy to set up. It's one of the reasons why they're so popular," he said of the lasers.
"Everyone that wins a gold medal starts at a grassroots sailing club."
Times have been tough for the Darling Downs Sailing Club, with years of drought, followed by flooding that wiped out its Cooby Dam clubhouse.
But Elliott said the conditions were perfect for the club to return to its former glory.
"It's coming into spring and summer. It's a bit cold out at Cooby during winter, so now is the perfect time to come out and enjoy it," he said.
"I don't know whether any of us will make it to the Olympics but we'll always welcome any new visitors."