World stage on horizon for dad and daughter duo
Like father like daughter — or so the saying goes.
Keen sailors Phil and Caitlyn Epps are hoping to prove their worth on the world stage in November.
But for the dad and daughter duo, qualifying for the world championships in Florida was only half the challenge.
Now, Phil has an unexpected obstacle.
“I’m a teacher, so asking for more holidays on top of the 12 weeks a year I already get is a bit of a problem,” he said.
“Hopefully it will all fall into place so we can get over there.”
The pair recently made the cut after a stellar performance representing Geraldton Yacht Club at the National Championships in North Haven, South Australia.
Their efforts saw them claim third place in the Hobie 16 Masters, and fourth in the Hobie 16 Open.
“I generally finish about sixth, so top four was even better than I expected,” Phil said.
“In the qualifying event there were some more boats there which don’t normally sail.
“Some of the guys were trying pretty hard, it was a pretty hot fleet and there was a lot of competition.”
For 47-year-old Phil, who competed in the 2016 world championships in China, this year’s event offers the chance to remedy a stroke of bad luck.
“Going into the final day I was up in the top five,” he said.
“Then I had a bad day on the last day and finished 13th, which was disappointing.
“But hopefully we can get there this year and have a crack at the top 10.”
Considering he has sailed since he was “eight or 10”, it is no surprise Phil had Caitlyn, now 18, on the water at a young age.
“I’ve sailed with my dad on various boats through the years, with my brothers and my wife, and now my daughter,” he said. “We went out a few times on small boats when Caitlyn was 10 or so.
“I think she was 12 when she got on the Hobie with me, and we just jumped straight in and did competitions.
“But I always made sure we had fun, and she kept coming back. She does a great job on the boat.”
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