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18ft Skiffs- Two skippers with the same idea = collision - Images

by Frank Quealey on 22 Nov 2013
3 - Speared ’em good - Australian 18 Footers League, Sunday 17 November, 2013 Frank Quealey /Australian 18 Footers League

When two 18ft Skiff skippers, with reputations for being good starters in a quality fleet, each decide to do the same thing in a 15-18knot Southerly on Sydney Harbour then something has to give.

Last Sunday at the start of the Australian 18 Footers League’s Race 5 of the 3-Buoys Challenge Series, Dave Witt (Sydney City Marine) elected to start alongside the Starter’s Boat and thought it was all clear as he tacked onto port almost immediately.

What he hadn’t noticed in those few secs. was young Alexandra South (Viagogo) had the same intention to start on starboard alongside the Starter’s Boat.

The dramatic result is captured on the accompanying photos but the respect each skipper has for the other’s talent and the goodwill between the two crews after the incident was a major reason that damage was kept to a minimum.

As Alex said: 'It was an unlucky incident that fortunately wasn’t as bad as it could have been'.

'Nobody was hurt, which is the best outcome we could have asked for'.

'The instinctive actions of my crew, Locky Pryor and James Slee, saved the boat from not coming home at all'.

'We’re also thankful to Dave Witt and Tom Clout who came from Double Bay to Camp Cove, where the skiff had been towed by the club’s rescue boat (another big thank you)'.

'There are two holes in the hull. The one on the port side is big enough to fit my whole head inside'

It’s unlikely the Viagogo hull will be repaired in time for Sunday’s race, but Alex is such a devoted competitor and determined character that she will find a temporary replacement.

The Australian 18 Footers League fleet will be back on Sydney Harbour for Race 6 of the 3-Buoys Challenge Series, with the usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.

With the possibility of more strong winds, the racing should provide plenty of spills and thrills.

Australian 18 Footers League website

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