Sailing club members need security

I was staggered to discover Port Curtis Sailing Club officials didn’t have the race room at the yacht club manned on Good Friday night into Saturday.

Chatting with club patron Barry Austin on Friday just before the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race started, I casually assumed he and other club members would settle in as the iconic event unfolded.

Barry spoke about dotting the wooden map which has hung for over 60 years in the race room, with the yachts’ names as they make their way north; a task he’d completed, obviously with pride, for many years. I wondered how many visitors he’d encountered asking for race information and after a look at the map.

As I was about to ask him how he managed without much sleep, perhaps none, especially on the first night, he told me he would be heading off in the late afternoon.

Puzzled, I asked why and he was quick to tell me for the past four years they’d left the race room due to the intoxicated clowns hitting them up for drinks.

We get abused and asked for alcohol, he said. We don’t have any here and we don’t sell it.

Don’t they just accept this? I replied, taken aback there are people around willing to take such a tack.

Barry’s a man in his twilight years, and not possessing a big frame either, and shouldn’t have to be putting up with drunken fools hassling him and nor should any of the club members.

One year one of the members locked himself in the car and waited until the police came.

I was speechless and instantly thought what a tragedy it is for these club members don’t get to enjoy day one of what is one of the big sporting events attached to Gladstone. A couple of secutiry guards would be enough of a deterrent to keep the drunken fools at bay and allow members to keep up with the race happenings unimpeded.

Not to mention allow people interested in how the race is progressing to find out. Not everyone’s plugged into the internet and getting a glimpse of the handmade map and adds that human element unavailable online.

It’s not often I ask others to put their hands in the pockets, but there must be money within the Harbour Festival budget to supply security for a handful of hours on Good Friday, or Gladstone Regional Council could perhaps foot the bill, or a security company in town could donate its time.

Something must be done, perhaps a combiantion of the three solutions I mention above. Even though it might cost him a few hours kip, I’m sure Barry will be grateful.

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