During the week you’ll find Patrick Cummin, 13, at Woodleigh School, but come Sunday he’s on the water with the wind in his hair and his sail fluttering in the breeze in Mount Eliza. Seven years ago, his parents signed him up for sailing and he’s never looked back. He spent his first season at Mordialloc Sailing Club before joining Daveys Bay Yacht Club and loves every moment of a sport that gives him a sense of freedom and connection with the elements. He explains: “There’s nothing like working with your boat and the wind. I love sailing and being out there on the water. I started sailing in an Optimist, which is around 2m in length, and have just transitioned to a Laser, which is 4m in length. Both boats are single hand.”
Not only does this young man love the feel of gliding over the ocean, he also loves the feeling of competing. A strong competitor, Patrick is keen to continue bringing his A-game to the racing world where skill, strength and drive matter. He continues: “This was my first year competing in state competitions as part of Woodleigh’s school team in a Pacer, which is a two-hand boat. The competition was held in April in Williamstown at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria, and the weather was extremely cold and windy. Last December I also travelled to Hobart to compete in the national titles for Optimists with Daveys Bay Yacht Club. We also travelled to Albury in October to the Sail Country regatta where there were 200 boats entered. I haven’t won any competitions yet but I haven’t lost any either, usually coming somewhere mid-fleet.”
Commitment is the name of the sailing game as far as Patrick is concerned. Neither of his parents were sailors but his father, Leigh, has just taken up the sport this year. Patrick continues: “That’s because of me,” he laughs.
Sunday mornings at Daveys Bay start at 9am with junior training, then lunch followed by an afternoon of competitive sailing with advanced junior and senior fleets. The day may be full of activity but Patrick enjoys every moment of it. He concludes: “Lots of friends from school are members at Daveys Bay and it’s so much fun. We travel together to regattas. The better I get, the better competitor I’ll become. First state level, then nationals, then who knows. International?”
And what does the future look like for this young man who enjoys bike riding, skateboarding and is also part of the Young Australian Broadway Chorus. “As long as it involves something to do with the water, it will be good. It would be great to sail full time,” says Patrick. Thumbs up to that.