by James Bury
When James May stuffed a few clothes in his backpack and headed off overseas a decade ago, he planned to back sailing within a year.
The Kofm on the way to another solid win - Manly 16ft Skiff Club
But 12 months abroad quickly became two years and before he knew it 10 had passed with only the occasional journey out on the ocean.
May eventually returned to Australia with a wife and two young children in tow and immediately felt the urge to return to the water.
He now needed to find a boat and some crew.
In a happy coincidence, two old sailing mates Mark Murden and Chris Madin had the boat and just needed a
'So we put the band back together,' May laughed after steering Kofm to handicap victory in Manly 16ft Skiff Club's spring pointscore race on Saturday.
'It's taken a few weeks but we're starting to find our feet.
'On handicap it's been going well - I think they've been pretty generous with the times - and we're improving our scratch performance every week which is good.'
The three Ms - May, Murden and Madin - sailed together in different two-man combinations in the 12ft class at Lane Cove during their teenage years.
But this is the first year the trio have sailed together on the one boat.
'I did the Aussie backpacking thing...went for a year and stayed 10,' May explained.
'I was mainly in the UK and Germany and sailing took a back seat apart from a bit of offshore racing.
'I was keen to get back into it when I returned home and the others guys had been sailing at Manly and told me it was a good club and the sailing was strong so here we are.
'So far so good.'
The fleet was recalled twice for false starts on Saturday before eventually getting away in a light nor' easter.
Kofm was slow to get going but gradually moved through the field to ensure its handicap win was never in any real damage.
After a rare slip in the club championship last weekend, Fluid Building Services (Clint Bowen) returned to winning ways in the scratch event.
Southerly (Chris Thomas) was second with Bigfoot Bags & Covers (Graeme Ferguson) third. Bridgestone B Select (Natalie Greentree) took out the 13-footers race from Bigfoot Bags & Covers (John Armstrong) and Bell Potter Securities (Declan Reilly).