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Festival of Sails 2017

The Musto Skiff State Championships 2014 - Ferrari of the skiff world

by Rick Steuart on 17 Mar 2014
Denis Jones in fast mode - The 2014 Musto States at Freo. Rick Steuart
The Musto Skiff State Championships 2014 are being held in Perth, WA. They are a pretty rare beast these Musto’s. Almost like a Ferrari and comparably just as darned expensive. Fragile too.

If you wish to go fast by yourself, this is possibly the best you will get. We were chasing these skiffs with 100 horses on the back and they still drew away.


The state heats at Fremantle were sailed over two days with the fleet joining a normal day on the water for the dinghy section on Saturday. The breeze was starting to pump up above 18 knots out of the south west and eventually rose further. Combine that with the chop from the power boats heading off to Rotto and a two meter swell; conditions were dynamite.

After the first race, won comfortably by Denis Jones on four Legged Octopus, there were three withdrawals as the wise or already injured, headed in to fight again on Sunday. The second race was won by Denis again with Thor Schoenhoff on Capt’n Peanut running second. By now the wind was starting to push above the 20 knot barrier and the swell was such that the camera-support boat was shipping greenies every so often.

The third race was a matter of staying up right and Denis was followed by Arthur Brett, head coach at Fremantle Sailing Club on his Musto 'George'. By this time, the numbers of withdrawals had risen to four and the fleet was looking fairly tatty as they made their way home, not without incident either, as Arthur managed to fall over on the way to the pens and skewered his new sail on a pylon. Hasty repairs ensued.


The Sunday was a different picture with south westerlies of 12 to 15 knots and a good windward-leeward track laid out in record time. Going left was going to pay off as the breeze swept over and around North Mole and the first race finished with the Jones boy dipping his flag to Arthur with Thor following on his heels. Relegation to third spot for Denis Jones was repeated in the next race as Thor found his wings and a welcome gust of breeze and shot into the lead, staying there right to the finish with Arthur not far off his transom.


The third race of the Sunday and certainly the most interesting was a chance for Chris Sutherland to show his stuff with a brightly raced second, having seen Thor and Arthur both take spills. Predictably Denis Jones was first, but Paul Green on 'Bob' picked up his second third of the series and Thor finished out of the placings for the first time, but had raced well enough to take second over all to Denis Jones.

The hard luck story was Richard Shallcross, sailing consistently and despite the falls that ensued, showed that his mastery of the boat was improving. A good fourth over all and he sailed every race.

Many thanks to the start team and volunteers at Fremantle Sailing Club who looked after this small fleet of exciting skiffs. There will be many more skiffs for the Worlds in 2015 on the Swan River in Perth.





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