It is the highlight of the year

 In 16ft Skiff News, Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club

Manly 16ft Skiff Club commodore Grant Windsham doesn’t hesitate when asked the highlights of the 2017/18 season.

“There are two clear stand-outs,” he said.

“Manly’s win at the nationals and our Kids Swap Day – it’s hard to split the two.”

Kids Swap Day is the last event on the skiff club calendar, and one of the most popular.

The club’s next generation of skiff sailors are invited aboard the 16 and 13-footers to get a feel for the bigger boats without the pressure of race conditions.

Dozens took the opportunity to sail with some of the club’s senior sailors last Saturday.

“It’s great to be able to give them a taste of the skiffs under controlled conditions,” Windsham said.

“They not only get a feel for a 13’ or 16’ but also get the chance to learn from some of the best.

“It’s a great day for all involved, especially the kids.”

At the other end of the scale, Windsham got great delight in welcoming home another national champion to Manly in January.

“The finish to the nationals was pretty hard to top. To have it go down to the last heat, with all the drama thrown in, was something special,” he said.

The drama Windsham alludes to was the injury sustained by Manly Surf n Slide skipper Joe Turner three heats out from the finish.

A quick SOS was answered by fill-in skipper Ben Bianco, who came in to rack up a third, second and first to give SnS a memorable victory.

“It was a great story-line. And a Manly boat won it again, so even better. That was the highlight for me,” Windsham said.

“We just missed out on a state title at Manly but the season pretty much panned out as we hoped.

“Winning the nationals was big and our participation levels were stable, which is pleasing as all sports have that challenge of keeping people coming back year after year.

“That’s our goal year after year – to keep numbers up and to ensure the competitiveness of the fleets.”

The 16ft season saw a number of young sailors emerge to challenge the established order.

Their rise is expected to continue next year and translate into trophy success.


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Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club