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Interview with GBR Musto Skiff Sailor, Stuart Keegan, ahead of Noble Marine UK Musto Skiff Nationals

by Musto Skiff Class Association 17 Jul 08:31 PDT
Stuart Keegan (GBR) in the ACO 8th MUSTO Skiff World Championship 2017 © Bernardí Bibiloni / www.bernardibibiloni.com

As an active member of Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club, GBR sailor Stuart Keegan joined the Musto Skiff class in 2012, but has been sailing since he was 15 years of age. Now 30, he has worked his way up the fleet, winning various accolades, and sailing at the club with the largest single fleet of Musto Skiffs in the UK (possibly the world!).

Having finished in the top ten at last year's Noble Marine UK Musto Skiff National Championships, Stuart now has his sights set on another top spot in the forthcoming UK National Championships in Sunderland at the end of this month.

We caught up with Stuart to find out what attracted him to get a Musto, and what he's been doing to get ready for the event of the year for the GBR class - four days of racing at Sunderland Yacht Club for the kudos of being crowned as the UK's 2021 Musto Skiff Champion.

Q: How long have you been sailing for?
15 years. I got into the Musto in 2012, and before that, it was a Topaz Xenon and Laser.

Q: What attracted you to the Musto Skiff?
I saw the fleet at Derwent and they looked amazing. Seeing them flat out down wind made me think, "I want one of those!" Derwent has a booming Musto fleet of about 22 boats, which means we regularly have over ten boats on the water at once, and it's not unusual to have 15+ out. Another big plus point is you can be on the water very quickly, it takes longer to get changed than it does to get the boat ready to hit the water.

Q: How are you finding the Musto Skiff - are you enjoying sailing it?
It's a great boat to sail and the fleet is fantastic. Everyone is so helpful and willing to share their knowledge. When you look at the quality of sailors sailing Mustos, it is a real asset being able to quiz them.

Q: What are you finding most challenging?
Keeping the speed on upwind in a breeze. The heavy guys power up, and at 74kg, I'm clinging on. Fortunately, in light winds, it's the other way around and flat wiring when others are struggling is good.

Q: What are you finding most rewarding?
Fully sending it downwind! Its always great saving a sketchy gybe to!

Q: What surprised you the most about the Musto Skiff?
Once you've got over the learning stages, it's like riding a bike - you don't forget. You can step into one once a year and have a blast with a great fleet. I trailer sailed the boat for five years, and always enjoyed it.

Q: We are slowly but surely starting to see more events in the UK sailing calendar again. What are your goals for this season?
Trying to pack as much time on the water as possible. There's a fantastic Scottish Skiff circuit this year, so I'll be visiting all of the glamour locations on the calendar - along with the Nationals at Sunderland.

Q: Have you got any targets in mind for this season or next?
Just to have fun being on the water.

Q: What advice would you give for anyone else considering the Musto Skiff?
Just get one, then learn how to sail it. Borrowing a boat every now and again doesn't work because it needs to be set up for you.

The Noble Marine UK Musto Skiff National Championships 2021 will be hosted at Sunderland Yacht Club over Thursday 29th July to Sunday 1st August. To find out more, visit the event guide: mustoskiff.com/2021-uk-nationals-event

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