PRESS RELEASE - Family’s sailing is a sport for life

Photography- Jeff Crow


PRESS RELEASE - Family’s sailing is a sport for life

Out on Port Phillip at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne two young Optimist sailors, Tom and Oscar Green, are exemplifying the new creed of world sailing; that is World Sailing’s new slogan Sport for Life . 

They are third generation sailors following the footsteps of their grandfathers and their parents.  Both grandfathers raced keelboats while their parents started sailing in dinghies and windsurfers before also moving into keelboats.

The articulate and confident 12 year-old Tom started sailing with Sydney’s Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s Tackers program when he was about seven.

”I sailed once a week on the weekends. It was a fun activity. I then got into more of a competitive scene. I did more frequent training and then suddenly I was at the top of the national fleet,” Tom said.

He has stayed with sailing, even though he also plays rugby and has started rowing, because he finds it “really fun”. “It’s just fun being out on the water, being with all your sailing friends I’ve made through sailing.”

In school Tom says his sailing has helped him with his science and geography studies. “That’s because I know about the wind and the waves, and why and how breezes come about.

“It’s been really good for my concentration and being determined to get the most out of the sport. It’s really on-the- spot thinking; it’s thinking about what’s going to be affected later by what you are thinking at the moment.”

Oscar, 10, who prefers to chill out with his rigging lawn mates than talk about himself, let’s his mother do his talking.  Oscar also started sailing through the Tackers program when he was seven.  “He has a love, hate relationship with sailing. Sometimes he says he hates it, but he actually doesn’t because he has a 20,000 watt smile when he is out on the water.

“He has seen his brother do all this travel to interesting and amazing places around the world; Singapore, New Zealand, every state of Australia and to Qatar for the Asians. Oscar’s a little bit interested in that side of sailing and Tom’s encouraging him,” his mother Sally Warneford said.

She admits after they finish racing the Optimist, Tom and Oscar’s future will remain firmly tied to sailing.

Their paternal grandfather, Adrian Garrett, sailed all through his childhood and as an adult with the British Royal Navy. Sally’s father raced Bluebirds on Sydney Harbour.

Sally, who decided to take up windsurfing in her teens, moved into dinghies and small keelboats as she got older. The keen helmswoman now has a Sydney 38 which she races on Sydney Harbour. 

Their father, Simon Green, a renowned ocean racer, started on his sailing path at five and progressed through to keelboat racing, completing 14 Sydney Hobart races before his death.

“This is the essence of why they sail. Their father was absolutely passionate about sailing so I wanted them to learn to sail as a connection with their late father, and to understand where they came from. I made the decision that they would learn to sail and be connected with their family heritage.”

Tom’s family keel boat background is already influencing his dreams for the future. He wants to race on maxi yachts like Wild Oats and Comanche. “Those sailors are amazing the way they survive so many days out on a boat,” Tom said. But while he is waiting to do that he hopes he can get in some racing on a foiling Moth.

“I think sailing is a good skill to have in your quiver of skills. I want them to be best they can be and I want them to develop the passion and love for sailing that I have, that I came to myself and that Simon had through his family. They can then take it wherever they want,” Sally added.

There may even be salt water flowing through the veins of this family that lives, plays and connects through their sailing. 

- Tracey Johnstone -