In a year dominated by ball sports and winter’s competing footy codes, Wagga’s premier yachtsman Greg Williams has quietly continued to further his family’s sailing legacy.
Greg’s prowess on the water is well recognised – few can lay claim to a place in the Riverina’s Sporting Hall of Fame – and a string of recent successes has him in pole position to collect yet another national title.
The former junior nationals champion claimed first place in the laser standard division at Albury’s Sail Country regatta earlier this month, seeing off a talented field including fellow Wagga sailor Finn Buckley to win the two-day event in a countback.
It’s not his only podium finish for the year – a double-up with father and fellow Hall of Famer Garry Williams saw the pair claim second at the TS 16 class state titles in Speers Point last month and there’s more silverware on the horizon.
“We’ve got the Paper Tiger national titles down at Arno Bay after Christmas which I’ll be heading down to,” Greg said.
“I’ve got a new right on the boat this year which has been good .. but there’s lots of fast guys heading down and it’ll be tough.”
While not dissatisfied with last year’s second placing at the same event, Greg is eager to go one better and book his tickets to next year’s international event in New Zealand.
He’s happy to draw the line there with Olympic qualification taken off the table.
“I reckon I’ve got too many grey hairs for that now [laughs] but I’m hoping to have a good run at Arno Bay.”
“If you finish up in the top 10, you qualify to head over to New Zealand and I’m keen to get involved in that.
“At last year’s international race in Frankston, I captained the team but we got done by those New Zealanders – they’re really well set up and those blokes can sail.”
Greg’s competition form is hitting its straps at the right time of the year but finding a training ground is proving a challenge.
Dwindling water levels in Lake Albert are hampering preparations and the skipper is on the hunt for alternatives.
“I got a training session in last Sunday but I’m just a bit wary that water levels have been disappearing and we might not even be able to train after Christmas.”
Thankfully, a stacked competition schedule will be keeping Greg busy, particularly this weekend’s upcoming NSW and ACT laser state championships.
“I’ll be trying to fit in as much a possible before the nationals and we’ve got a whole weekend in Canberra coming up before we start regatta hopping around,” Greg said.