My Place: Gail Lines

Gail Lines, of Altona Yacht Club, is a woman on a mission to get people in the water and learning to sail. She is one of a handful of female yacht club commodores in Victoria, and she spoke to Esther Lauaki.


What’s your connection to Hobson’s Bay?

I lived in Altona for 11 years before moving out to Point Cook, but I still come regularly every week to help run the programs.


How did you become involved in the Altona Yacht Club?

When my partner and I bought our home on the Esplanade, he said he would learn to sail, being so close to the sea. So we bought an off-the-beach dinghy yacht, and we both took the course together. We were hooked from then on. I’ve been a member of the club for about 12 years now.


How long have you been commodore and what does this role involve?

I have been commodore for 18 months and the role is similar to any role as president of a club. I’m a very proactive commodore, so that means that I chair meetings, organise all the programs and make sure that they are run well … keeping up on everything that’s going on in the club.


What’s one of the most exciting things you’ve done in your time as commodore?

I was talking to a local Maori guy at the fish and chip shop down the road and he said that there was a waka ama (Pacific outrigger canoe) group of paddlers based close by, who had no place to store their boats, so they just have to leave them on the shore. That was something that I made my little project, and I fundraised so that we could build them an enclosure for their boats and we gave their club a home.


What is it that you love the most about yachting?

I used to sail for many years back in New Zealand where I’m from originally. I love the camaraderie and the sense of community that we have here at the club. It’s a way to get out and blow the cobwebs away and take in the scenery.


Are there any upcoming events or programs at Altona Yacht Club?

We have a new program we’re running called Tackers for children. It’s all about having fun and playing in the water, and learning to sail … it keeps kids off the computer, out of the house, and keeps us very busy on Saturday mornings.


What do you love about Altona?

Coming here was like coming to my home in Kawerau in New Zealand. I can’t walk down the street without talking to someone. It’s relaxed and small town and it’s like a little village. The people are friendly and Altona Yacht Club is a very inclusive club. We have people from all walks of life and all ages. Everyone is welcome to come and try sailing.