A local sailing squadron for a navy service interest group was commissioned in Geraldton last week, with a number of old yachts to be refurbished and used by ex-Navy service people and cadets. The Naval Association of Australia (NAA) WA branch held a ceremony on Friday, August 4 at the Multipurpose Centre for the commissioning of the NAA Sailing Club Geraldton Squadron. Mayor Shane Van Styn cut the ribbon at the launch, with Geraldton MLA Lara Dalton and a representative of Durack Member Melissa Price also in attendance. The NAA was established in 1920 with the sole purpose of looking after the interests of serving Navy and ex-Navy men and women. Naval Association WA state president Ian Holthouse said he purchased 13 old yachts for $200 each when he discovered Navy cadets were receiving new yachts, with the old ones - which were still in good condition - to be destroyed. “Some of these yachts are quite old, because they first come out about 50 years ago but they’re such a good yacht and they last so well,” he said. Mr Holthouse said the yachts would be refurbished and used by ex-service people and cadets in Geraldton. “You’ve got veterans sitting at home and you can’t get them out, and I thought ‘well, if I can get these we can get them out and doing something and get them out on the water’,” he said. “We’re working with the cadets, so they will train together and the yachts will be made available to the cadets if they need extra yachts, so it’s a dual purpose.” Ms Price said she was proud to see the NAA’s WA Sailing Club establish their Geraldton Squadron following hard work and correspondence with various departments. “I am delighted that their recently purchased ex-defence yachts will now be refurbished and will provide an exciting avenue for our veterans to enjoy mateship whilst sailing our beautiful seas,” she said.