Beers and bananas greet race yachties
By CRAIG McTEAR
WHEN weary sailors dock-in after the Strathfield Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Yacht Race next month, Richard Guest will be one of the first friendly faces they see.
Richard is part of a 30-strong band of volunteers who will officially meet and greet the fleet with cases of beer and bananas in tow.
"Whether they've had an easy trip or a hard trip, they can be assured there'll be a smiling face at the end to welcome them to Coffs Harbour," Mr Guest said.
"We're also here to answer any questions they might have, such as where they can put their gear, where they can have a shower or use the toilet, or where they can find a taxi or an ATM.
"We'll be there in shifts from when the first yacht arrives to when the last one crosses the line, even if it's two or three days later.
"I've been doing this for each of the past five years, except for one when I was fighting fires in Sydney in 2001 as part of a local Rural Fire Service contingent.
"I spent my life in jobs I couldn't get away from full-time, so when I retired eight years ago, I said 'okay, I want to give something to the community'.
"I started out with the volunteers when the Endeavour came to town, and I sailed on the Endeavour to Queensland.
"I also do volunteer work with the city council sports unit during big sporting fixtures here.
"I like meeting people. I'm a people person."
Richard said the only pre-requisites to becoming a volunteer and greeting the sailors dockside were to 'having a sprit of wanting to give and wanting to meet people, and wanting to help'.
He is full of praise for the work of all volunteers throughout the community.
"If volunteers stepped out of the picture, there would be so many things which wouldn't get done in Coffs Harbour," he said.
"I'm just a very small cog in the wheel."