In 13ft Skiff News, 16ft Skiff News, Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club


An hour before last Saturday’s opening race of Manly 16ft Skiff Club’s 2022/23 season, Cunninghams skipper Nick Connor was seriously considering not going out.

With a fierce southerly whipping up a solid swell – and mindful of potential boat damage so early in the season – he was about to err on the side of caution.

“I wasn’t that keen because knowing my luck with breaking stuff, and the fact we hadn’t sailed together before, I thought in that breeze we could be in a bit of trouble,” Connor said.

“It wasn’t looking good but about an hour from the start most of the fleet decided they were going out so that’s when we decided to go for a sail.

“I just thought ‘whatever happens, happens’.”

It proved a smart decision.

Botany Access (Chris Thomas) grabbed the early ascendancy, heading to the top mark in front of a pack featuring Cunninghams, Sail Racing (Felix Grech) and Sutech Building Consultants (Michael Koerner).

But when Thomas capsized soon after, it opened the door and Connor and crew Alex Chittenden and Michael Childs pounced.

Cunninghams snatched the lead and didn’t let go, taking it home for Connor’s first win in two years and the first win by any boat in Manly’s centenary year.

Sail Racing was close behind in second, with SBC and Botany Access filling third and fourth respectively.

As mentioned, it was the first time the skipper, Chittenden and Childs had sailed together but it clicked instantly.

“Alex hasn’t sailed a 16s season for quite a few years and I twisted his arm to come back for the 100th year and I’ve sailed with Mike once last season,” Connor explained.

“So this was our first time together. We capsized before and after but managed to stay upright throughout the race.

“It was just good to see everyone out there having a crack because they weren’t the easiest conditions to sail in.”

Cunninghams is fully invested in the club’s 100th year celebrations, eyeing the nationals in January as well as all the other major regattas.

Connor said: “It’s a big year and plenty of us want to make it a good season.

“We’re up for everything and this is the best possible way to start.”

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Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club