WITH a strong wind behind her sails and the perfect sailing conditions in front of her bow, sailing star Gabrielle King was in her element at the State Titles at Yarra Bay, Sydney, earlier this month.
Competing in the Laser Radial class in a regatta format on February 7 and 8, King finished in the top five of each of her five races to claim the crown of state champion.
King may have been enjoying speeding around the Yarra Bay course, but further behind 'controlled' chaos was ensuing.
“It was a very entertaining regatta ... there were a few out of control boats,” King said.
“There were a few who couldn't control their boats, a few capsizes and it makes for very entertaining racing.
“By no means is it dangerous but like every sport it has its risks ... but they are controlled risks.”
Out in front, away from the carnage, King, 18, was showing all her class and skill in the Olympic-class category event.
A former Mororo resident, the triumphant King returned to the Clarence Valley to visit her family before beginning a three-month training block in Sydney.
“I will be doing lots of skill work and fitness regimes,” King said.
“Sailing on the (Sydney) harbour is great because I have access to my coach and it is geared towards water lifestyles.”
King, now based in Randwick, Sydney, started sailing at the age of ten when a friend invited her to go sailing with herself and her dad.
“It is the most amazing sport,” she said.
“It has all the elements you need to challenge yourself within a sport.”
King said growing up around the Clarence River was the best introduction into the world of competitive sailing.
“It is a unique environment like no where else,” she said.
“It's very nice sailing conditions and a good place to learn how to sail.”
With the completion of her training block, King will travel to Europe as she continues to build towards her Olympic dream.
“I will be primarily based around Germany and Denmark,” King said.
“I'm campaigning for 2012 and to qualify for the Australian team I need to be pushing for results in Europe and the world titles.”