Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Born To Race!

Bowen teenager, Jack Scharf, is competing in his second Airlie Beach Race Week this year and if his winning streak continues, the boat he’s crewing on stands a good chance of winning.

The 16-year-old has been sailing since he was 10 and first discovered the sport when a friend invited him to a ‘Come and Try Day’ at Port Denison Sailing Club.

For Jack, it was love at first sight and he has been passionately pursuing every opportunity to sail ever since.

“I just love being out on the water and experiencing it all,” he said.

Jack started his career sailing Optimists, which are two-metre single-handed fibreglass boats, and he has since progressed to Laser 4.7s and Radials.

In 2018 he competed in three national championships held all over the country and he won first place for the Green Fleet that year.

In 2019 he won the intermediate nationals and in January this year he competed in the Radial Division, coming 4th in Oceania for the Under 17’s in the Silver Fleet.

“One day I would love to compete in the Sydney to Hobart,” said Jack.

“But right now, my sights are set on making the Gold Fleet at Nationals if I can.”

Swapping a solo sport for a team gig, Jack will be part of eight crew sailing on the Sydney 38 in the Performance Cruising Division at this year’s Race Week.

“I love them both equally,” said Jack.

“When I sail solo it is more ‘me’, I am in full control but when I am part of the crew, it is a bit like family, we build friendships, and it’s heaps of fun.”

Once he completes Airlie Beach Race Week, Jack will be setting off to Hamilton Island Race Week and although he’s missing two weeks of school, he says it will be a different kind of education.

When asked about inspiring other youngsters to try sailing, Jack says it’s important that everyone understands how easy it is to get involved.

“Just give it a crack!” he said.

“There are heaps of people out there looking for crew and all the owners are usually happy to take the young kids onboard to experience it.

“And of course – the more you ask the more you know!”

16-year-old sailing enthusiast Jack Scharf from Bowen

Sailing solo, Jack has competed in national championships

Jack was part of the crew on Italian Job at last year’s Race Week. Photos supplied

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