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13 and 16 Foot Skiff Titles at Gosford Sailing Club

by Gosford Sailing Club 7 Apr 01:48 PDT 2-5 April 2021
13' and 16' Skiff Australian National Championships © Gosford Sailing Club

Many of Australia's greatest sailors, both present and past converged on the Gosford Sailing Club over the Easter long weekend for the Red Pumps 13' and 16' Skiff Australian Nationals and the stars were shining bright over the 4 days of competition.

The winds were fickle, which is typical at Easter on the beautiful Brisbane Waters, but to their credit PRO Hugh Leicester and the race committee managed to conduct 8 races over 3 days after a glass out on Good Friday prevented the boats from leaving the shore.

The 16' title went to Belmont entry River Wild skippered by Warwick Rooklyn, with Olympic gold medallist Tom Burton calling the shots from the middle and Australian Olympic 49er sailor Sam Phillips up front.

River Wild managed to score single digits for every race and that was always going to make them competitive.

Tom Burton is another former Gosford junior who has won the 16 foot skiff National title and adds to an honours list that includes James Dorran, Henry Makin, Joe Turner and Daniel Turner who all sailed Sabots out of the GSC in the early 2000's and have won the Australian title in recent years.

Although the Gosford Sailing club was represented with just four 16 footer entries at these titles, there were a host of former juniors scattered through the fleet both as skippers or crew.

GSC junior instructor Sophie MacIntosh and her crew on Brian Hilton had a mixed regatta, but did manage to bank a handicap win and two thirds over the weekend.

Best performed local was Ashleigh Robson in Aristocrat who finished 21st overall on scratch, but had her best day on Monday when she dialled in a total for the three races that had her in the top ten performers of the day.

Ashleigh is a 3rd generation 16 foot skiff sailor at Gosford and her father Grant was also competing in Robson Civil Projects, but was given a lesson by his talented daughter.

Sailing development is a focus of the club and stars of the future were on display in the 13' skiffs, whereby the Gosford Club was well represented with 4 of the 17 entries.

Club President Paul Gulliksen has worked tirelessly to build the class and the GSC hopes to add to the numbers in future years.

"The 13's are an obvious stepping stone into the bigger skiff classes and they are quite affordable", Gulliksen said, "and we hope to consolidate the class with the aim to develop future champions."

Manly representatives James Downey (Bigfoot Bags) and Alex Hart (Fluid Building) dominated the regatta with six of the seven wins between them.

Best placed of the locals was 14 year old Kye Rivers who was 5th overall in Holmes Marine and as the youngest skipper in the fleet, is one to watch for the future.

From an historic perspective, it was great to see sailing legend Hugh Treharne drop in to reminisce about his times in 16 footers and his visits to the GSC in late 1950's and early 60's to compete in the class.

Hugh and his brother Ian "Bomber" Treharne motored up from Newport and enjoyed the hospitality in the GSC Boatshed bar before joining the large spectator fleet on the race course.

The GSC has long had a reputation for hosting successful regattas and much of the success can be attributed to the tireless efforts of the volunteer members who should be congratulated.

The venue had a festival type atmosphere and the rigging area coped well with the 50+ boats in attendance.

By all accounts, everyone was happy with the organisation and we hope to see many more regattas of the type in Gosford in the not too distant future.

Full results can be found here on the association webpage here.

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