KIDS SWAP DAY 2022: 26:03:2022

 In 13ft Skiff News, 16ft Skiff News, Flying 11 News, Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club, Manly Juniors News

The smiles on the kids’ faces said it all.

Manly Skiff Club’s annual Swap Day – where the next generation of sailors are given their shot aboard a 16-footer under guidance from a fleet member – attracted around 40 youngsters eager for a spin with the best in the business.

Most of the Manly fleet adopted a budding skiff sailor or two for three shortcourse races around the harbour, with the emphasis as much on learning and it was fun.

Red Pumps sheethand Greg Windust had four of his own kids onboard, with four others jumping in at one stage for a crowded but laugh-filled ride.

“We’re trying to get them addicted so they’re hooked for life like the rest of us,” he said.

“Us older guys have to make an effort to do this day because it’s so important the kids become familiar with a skiff and lose some of that apprehension.

“You can see by the look on their faces that they really get into it and enjoy the experience once they get a handle on how it all works.

“At one stage I had my oldest steering and my youngest in the bow. The 11-year-old who steered said it’s just like sailing a Manly Junior.

“Once you learn the technique in a 16, it’s probably easier than a Manly Junior.

“This is a great day to find all that out.”

Manly 16ft Skiff Club junior sailing chairperson Ryan Thomas took his own kids and a friend’s kids out and was blown away by the response.

He said: “The kids were super nervous to begin with because they don’t know what to expect, but once we get racing they were absolutely loving it.

“We also had a number of kids from the 29er class come along to see what the 16s is all about and I think they got a lot out of it.

“They normally graduate out of the 29ers around the age of 17 and are looking for their next opportunity and this gives them a hands-on experience.

“They got the chance to experience what the boat is like with a view to potentially moving onto a 16 in the next couple of years.

“It was a really successful and worthwhile day for all involved.”

Taking it all were sailors at the other end of the age spectrum – former greats attending the popular Old Buffers Day.

National, state and club champions mingled with sailors from yesteryear to reminisce about the good old days in the first reunion for more than two years.

Hosted by president Rolf Cohen and director Craig Nicholls at the licensed club, more than 60 ex-skiff sailors were present as the next generation of skiff sailors were put through their paces on the harbour.

“To have Swap Day and Old Buffers at the same time really showcased where the club has come from and where it is headed,” Cohen said.

“It’s vital that we continue to recognise those who paved the way for all of us who followed.

“These are arguably the two most important days on the club’s calendar. It’s a reminder of our past and also a pointer to our future.”

The Generation Next theme continues on Saturday when Manly hosts an open day for novice sailors.

The Manly Junior, Flying 11s and 13ft classes will all be represented, with kids from early teens and under welcome to come down and try their hand under expert tuition.

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Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club