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

For nearly 50 years, a select group of Manly 16ft skiffs has been in a race to the bottom that is the envy of many boats at the pointy end of the fleet.

The Keg Cup started back in 1975 when two boats in the “battlers” category waged a ding-dong fight to finish ahead of the other over a series of handicap races at the back-end of the season. The loser would shout the winner a schooner after each race before the stakes were raised and a nine-gallon keg of beer became the ultimate prize, with the winner hosting the party.

The Keg Cup tradition was born and soon boat numbers swelled as word of the race within the race – not to mention the raging post-season party – caught on. While the fight for the major silverware is intense among the elites in the fleet, many of the club’s greats either cut their teeth or saw out their days in the Keg Cup.

“Over the years these ideals have remained, however the number of boats competing in the Keg Cup has increased, making the celebrations after the end of the season quite an event not to be missed,” co-founder Barry Hodge said.

“It must be the only sailing series that doesn’t rely on boat speed. It is the best tactics and ingenuity that will win the series.” This year the six boats to contest the 49th running of the Keg Cup are Bartley Constructions, Contemporary Pools, Employment Hero, Fireball, Nozomi and Typhoon.

It is held across seven heats as part of the Manly’s overall 16ft sailing program, meaning each race is part of the overall pointscore series. As is tradition, the winner will host the end-of-season party with rivals funding the food and drink and the last pace-getter cleaning up the mess the following day.

With three heats to go, Bartley Constructions has its nose in front after skipper Dan Bromelow and crew Tom Walmsley and Jesse Lilley combined to take out handicap honours in last Saturday’s long course race. Red Pumps (Tyler Dransfield) was second with IMEI (Hugh Stodart) third. IMEI took the race on scratch from Imagine Signage (Zoe Dransfield) and Red Pumps.  Bromelow is excited about potentially joining the long list of Keg Cup winners.

“The Keg Cup does have a bit of history and it’s good to partake in it because I like the history associated with sailing and the club,” he said. “It just adds a new sort of dimension to the sailing, especially towards the end of the season once nationals is over. “You’ve got your big races out of the way and now you can compete for the Keg Cup. “We’re not looking at it every week going ‘where are we in the Keg Cup?’ but the others let you know pretty quickly.   “We’re not on the trophy yet but I think it would be pretty fun and cool to win it.”

In the 13s scratch race, Harken (Heidi Bates) triumphed ahead of Sail Media (Ben Milham) and Ebix (Jemma Hopkins).

On handicap, Botany Scaffold (Sophie Hart) came out on top from Hornblower (Jonah Griffiths) and Harken.

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Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club