Gladstone sailor Hannah O’Brien waiting for the starters’ orders at the Queensland Youth Sailing Championships on Keppell Bay.
Gladstone sailor Hannah O’Brien waiting for the starters’ orders at the Queensland Youth Sailing Championships on Keppell Bay.

Victory for sailing princess

YOUNG Gladstone sailor Hannah O’Brien skilfully piloted her sailboat, ‘Tuff’n Up Princess’, to an impressive victory against major competition on Saturday.

The 16-year-old picked up two first and two second placings in her class, as well as fifth overall for her division at the 2010 Queensland Youth State Championships in Keppel Bay.

O’Brien, who is part of the Queensland Development Squad, would like to represent Australia some day and certainly looks on the right path.

“I love the feel of the open ocean,” O’Brien said before heading out for her final day of sailing.

She said the highlight of the six days of sailing in Yeppoon was meeting new people in the sport and honing her skills.

“There’s been some tough competition from all over Queensland this week,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien, who said she was the “princess” of her family, hence the name of her Laser 4.7, learnt to sail in her home town when she was just eight-years-old.

Now she competes in about 12 regattas every year.

During the selection trials last year, conducted in blustery conditions, O’Brien was lucky to escape serious injury when another craft changed direction suddenly and the boom struck her on the nose.

“It was pretty sore, but not broken,” O’Brien recalled.

A Year 11 student at Chanel College in Gladstone, O’Brien said sailing was a leisure activity for her, and ultimately she would like to go on to study further and become a vet.



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