VIODA China Exchange Tour

VIODA China Exchange Tour

In 2013 in conjunction with ISAF Sailing World Cup, VIODA created a sailor exchange program to provide an international sailing experience for junior sailors.  As invited as guests of the Chinese Yachting Association the opportunity exists to be able to attend the annual Qingdao International Optimist Training Camp and Regatta in China.  

This Sailor exchange program is now in its 7th year and forms a unique offering to all our VIODA members.  Qualifying sailors will be offered the opportunity to travel to Qingdao as a team of 6 sailors with one coach and a manager.  As guests of the Chinese Yachting Association they will be offered complementary training camp, regatta, accommodation and meals.  

The purpose of this program includes:

  • International travel experience for Intermediate level sailors;
  • Cultural exchange with sailors of other Nations (eg. China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Poland, Germany, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, Spain);
  • Development of regatta preparation and management skills in new environment (NOTE: Qingdao is typically extremely hot and humid in August);
  • Learning to manage charter boat set-up and travelling with sailing equipment; and
  • Sailors and parents learning to travel as a team under the guidance of a coach.

Further information: Sail Melbourne & VIODA fostering Australian-Chinese friendships.

Qualifying sailors will be responsible for flights to and from China, visas, travel insurance, incidental costs and coach fees. This experience is available for qualifying Intermediate sailors with an accompanying parent.  Ask any past VIODA exchange families and they will all agree this is one of the highlights of their time in the junior fleet.

Qingdao Exchange Tour Details: 

Dates:         2020 Tour has been cancelled due to COVID19

Sailors:         Six (6) current financial members of VIODA

Coach:         One (1) Australian Sailing Qualified Sailing Coach with current VIODA endorsement.

Manager:     One (1) Parent Team Manager

NOTE: By accepting your position you will be also offering a Chinese sailor to billet at your home at a Melbourne regatta as part of a reciprocal arrangement.  This has been a fabulous way to share our cultures with other sailors.

The VIODA YouTube Channel links to a number of past videos to give you an insight into the experience.  

* 2019 Qingdao Training Camp & Regatta Promotional Video

* 2015 VIODA Tour -

* 2014 VIODA Tour -

* 2013 VIODA Tour -


  • Only Intermediate sailors are eligible
  • Selection is based on a combination of rankings at the Nationals (67%) and the Victorian States (33%)
  • 6 sailors

Past Victorian Qingdao Exchange Sailors

2020 Tour (cancelled due to COVID-19)

  • Annabelle Williamson
  • James Williamson
  • Leigh Harvie
  • Miles Levenspiel
  • Olivia Cameron
  • Thomas Jackson
  • Mavis Laverty

2019 Tour

  • Coach: Sam McKay
  • India Sinclair
  • Liam Stevens
  • Morgan Williamson
  • Dmitry Sorokin
  • Harry Pilkington
  • Lottie Griffith

2018 Tour

  • Coach: Mel Hitchen-Haw
  • Sarah Goss
  • Arabella Henderson
  • Angelique Gleeson
  • Natalie Gleeson
  • Ben Hemingway
  • Oscar Meinke
  • Oliver Beretta

2017 Tour

  • Coach: Xavier Vandame
  • Jack Italia
  • Daniel Laverty 
  • Hugo Vandame
  • Matt Purnell
  • Jarrod Jones
  • Hope Withers
  • Brooke Hutchison

2016 Tour

  • Coach: Jeni Danks
  • Scarlett Zerbe
  • Cameron Berry
  • Hamish Berry
  • David Danks
  • Mason Mahoney
  • Thomas Johnston

2015 Tour

  • Coach: Alison Dale
  • Linden Wareing
  • Michael Case
  • Zac Heyes 
  • Mackenzie Heyes
  • Lachie Weber
  • Will McKenzie

2014 Tour

  • Coach: Lloyd Collings
  • Matty Goss
  • Lily Richardson
  • Matilda Richardson
  • Patrick Distefano
  • Lachie Hughes
  • Nikki Gurr

2013 Tour

  • Coach: David White
  • Stephen Case
  • Michael Parks
  • Charlie Hiam
  • Campbell Rickard
  • Ella Sharman
  • Jess Harper