Olympic and SailGP stars set to shine in 16ft skiff nationals

December 31, 20212022 Nationals News, News
It’s gold, gold, gold for the 16ft Skiff Australian Championships being held at Belmont, Lake Macquarie, from Sunday, January 2, as a host of former Olympic champions feature in the 47-strong fleet.
Most attention will be on the all-star crew of the borrowed skiff Fluid, with Nathan Outteridge helming, Tom Slingsby on sheet, and Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen manning the bow. They’re rivals on the SailGP circuit, representing Japan, Australia and Great Britain respectively, but close mates off the water.
Elsewhere in the fleet are Rio Laser gold medallist Tom Burton, now helming his own skiff Knighton Group at host club Belmont 16s. He’s defending the title won last season as sheethand on River Wild.
Knighton Group: Tom Burton, Max Paul & Simon Hoffman
Legends of the 470 class, Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page, are reacquainted aboard Ronstan (ex-Growthbuilt), with Lake sailor Brett Davis on sheet and providing local knowledge. Wilmot and Page claimed gold at Beijing in 2008, then Page repeated the feat with Mat Belcher at London.
Outteridge and Jensen won 49er gold at the same 2012 Games and silver at Rio, along with multiple world championships. Outteridge recently joined Team New Zealand for the next America’s Cup defence.
Slingsby, recently named World Sailor of the Year for the second time, won his Laser gold in 2012, having claimed six world titles in the preceding years. He admits, laughingly, that a 16ft skiff isn’t his natural territory – whereas driving F50s at 50 knots is.
“Obviously trapezing isn’t my strong point. Really I’m providing a bit of entertainment for Nath and Goobs, who are probably two of the best there’s ever been,” Slingsby says.
“It’s super-impressive to see how their dynamic works. They know what each other’s thinking, so it’s an honour for me to sail with these guys. We’re having a laugh as well, because we’re not here to set the world on fire.”
Fluid Building - Nathan Outteridge, Tom Slingsby & Iain Jensen
Competing in the Red Pumps-sponsored 16ft Skiff Australian Championships began as a pipe dream but crystalised when the trio were watching a recent Belmont club race. “We thought, ‘why not?’,” Slingsby adds. “It’s rare that we’re all in the same country and don’t have a commitment.
“We’ve got a lot of friends in the class – my brother-in-law is Joel Castle and I’m good mates with Jamie Woods from East Coast Marine, as well as Scott Babbage (SKE Electrical), Daniel Turner (Moonen Yachts) and lots of others. We’ve always followed the class and watched the results.
Moonen Yachts: Daniel Turner, Angus Williams & Matt Stenta
“Aside from that, Nathan, Iain and I have been talking for a while about sailing together. We’ve competed against each other for years – in Nathan and my case, around 30 years. Fortunately, Clint Bowen and Phil Harmer offered up their boat and within a few days it was happening.”
Outteridge is also relishing the chance to sail with his mates in such a strong fleet.
“We’ll only get five or six training days together before the nationals, so we’re trying to work out what we’ve got with the rigs and our roles,” he says, acknowledging the choice of skipper was a tough one.
“It came down to kilos and I’m the lightest person on the boat. Tom has done a bit of trapping before in the A-Class but I’m calling him ‘Twinkle Toes’ because he’s really graceful. It’s just good fun.”
All agree that an Olympic pedigree doesn’t translate to instant success in the 16s, albeit the Ronstan crew recently handed the Belmont fleet a sailing lesson on their own course in a club championship race.
Malcolm Page argues other boats have enjoyed superior preparations.
Ronstan (previously Growthbuilt): Nathan Wilmot, Brett Davis & Malcom Page
“Do we have a realistic chance? I guess we do, but I feel others have more of a chance because they’ve done more work and sailed more,” he said in a Manly 16s report. “A lot has to go right for us and I wouldn’t like to go in with high expectations.
“It’s sport and there’s nowhere to hide. You need to be good, be well prepared and have some luck.”
Up to a dozen Manly boats will face the starter’s gun on Sunday, including the favourites to claim a second national crown – seasoned campaigners Daniel Turner, Angus Williams and Matt Stenta on Moonen Yachts, runners-up in the recent NSW Titles.
Using that event as a form guide, reigning state champion IMEI also has strong claims, with veterans Dave O’Connor, Trent Barnabas and Rob Napper all having supreme boat-handling skills.
O’Connor: “It’s going to be such a good regatta and you don’t want to miss it … any of those boats in the top 10 could win it. Whoever wins this regatta is a very, very competent sailor because the best of the best are racing.”
IMEI: Dave O'Connor, Trent Barnabas & Rob Napper
Former 18-Footer crews abound throughout the fleet and they’re joined by several up-and-comers from the 13ft skiff development ranks who can all excel in lighter airs. The young Cunninghams crew from Manly can produce the odd upset, as can Eric’s Storage and Red Pumps.
Another leading contender is Contender Sailcloth, Belmont’s reigning club champions. Brothers Will and Richard Howard have just completed the Rolex Sydney Hobart aboard the luckless TP52 Celestial, but will be raring to go again in their 16.
Contender Sailcloth: Will Howard, Richard Howard & Corey Hamilton
Registration and measurement for the 2021-2022 Red Pumps Australian 16ft Skiff Championships will be held on January 1, with racing to start Sunday and run until January 8. COVID-safe plans are in place.
Media Contact: Mark Rothfield, Promocean Media | 0487617055 | rothfieldm@gmail.com

Rival 16ft skiff clubs in a league of their own as nationals loom

December 24, 20212022 Nationals News, News

An elite fleet of 45 boats is set to contest the 2021-2022 Red Pumps Australian 16ft Skiff Championships at Belmont, Lake Macquarie, from January 2-8, following the close of entries. A further nine boats have nominated for the accompanying 13ft Skiff titles.

On the weight of numbers, it’s shaping up to be city vs country stoush between the powerhouse Manly and Belmont clubs, whose on-water rivalry runs as long and deep as those of their 1997 NRL Grand Final counterparts, the Sea Eagles and Knights.

The plucky Queenslanders are largely staying clear this year because of COVID-related uncertainty, with only two of a predicted six skiffs now venturing south of the Tweed – BGN from Brisbane, with Sarah Thorburn on the tiller, and Carlton Smith’s RW Retail from Darling Point Sailing Squadron.

Belmont 16s Commodore James Griffiths says the interclub competition adds some good-natured spice, with Manly having boasted some of the sport’s legendary surnames over past decades, including Treharne, Barnabas, Wilmot and Hyde.

“Manly dominated the results for a number of years and I guess we perceived them to be reasonably well- heeled, whereas the Belmont fleet comprises your tradies and miners who grafted a performance,” Griffiths explains.

That said, Belmont is hardly a poor cousin in terms of size, with almost 50,000 social members supporting the sailing activity, nor in its esteemed history.

“We’re entering our club’s 100th anniversary of sailing in 2022, so we’re thrilled to be able to continue the history and tradition with such strong fleets,” Griffiths adds. “And we’re delighted to host the Red Pumps national titles in this important year. There’s a real air of enthusiasm surrounding the club.”

Belmont’s River Wild and Newcastle Financial Planning Group (NFPG) claimed the quinella in the last nationals, a light-air affair held at Gosford. Manly then hit back in last month’s heavy-wind NSW titles via IMEI and Moonen Yachts, with Contender Sailcloth taking the final podium step for the Lake club.

Any thoughts of a home-ground advantage were erased in a recent Belmont club championship race where Manly’s Growthbuilt gate-crashed the party and won handsomely in testing, second-rig conditions. Aboard were Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page, the most successful 470 class competitors in history, along with Lake legend and former Australian Champion Brett Davis.

Insight Building Services played tug-of-war with the Sydney crew while gradually gapping their own fleet. In fact, ‘insight’ was the key word for skipper Rod Carter and crew Adam Gilson and Andrew Stone, who gained a valuable lesson in driving their skiff to its limits.

Rod Carter: “We can go into the nationals with a bit of confidence. The boat is certainly going quick and we’re sailing really well, but this will be an all-new ball game. Any one of about 10 boats can win, but we’ll give it a shake if we can string together a consistent series.”

Australian Moth champion Scott Babbage, who was also part of the Gotta Love It 7 18-Foot skiff crew, is helming the SKE Electrical skiff this season with sailmaker Scott Beeby on sheet and Joel Skelton on the bow. They’re the only crew to take a club championship race off Insight this season and remain a dark horse with impeccable DNA for the Australian title.

“We haven’t been starting overly well, but if we can get off the line with clear air we can be pretty quick at times,” Babbage says, modestly. “We’ve found a good mode with the big rig and it helps to have two big guys on the trap.”

Elsewhere in the fleet are a smattering of the old and new – Steven Chapman on One Too Many and Pepsi Max’s Ross Stutchbury in the former category as skippers – and 13ft Skiff graduate Will Divola in the latter. Bella Group’s Georgia Steenson, 17, is the youngest female skipper and she will be competing against her older brother Thomas and uncle Michael Quirk on Domino’s.

Family connections like this abound in the class. STA Building from Gosford, for example, is entirely crewed by the Akhurst clan, Steve, Troy and Will, and a number of boats have sibling or parent/child combinations.

Registration and measurement for the 2021-2022 Red Pumps Australian 16ft Skiff Championships will be held on January 1, racing to start the following day and run until Saturday, January 8. COVID-safe plans are in place for the event.

13ft Skiff Class Rules Change – Rule 12, Age Limits

December 1, 2021News

Correspondence (via email) dated 10th October 2021 was forwarded to all clubs regarding the proposed notice of motion to change rules 12.2, 12.3 and 12.4 of the 13ft Skiff Class Rules.

The voting period on the altered amendment closed on November 7, 2021. It is now deemed under rule 12.23 of the Rules of the ASSA,that two –thirds of the clubs that
returned their votes have voted in favour of the motion. Therefore, the proposed change to class rules 12.2, 12.3 and 12.4and is CARRIED.

A copy of the amended class rules has been included. Any further clarification regarding this shall be directed to the Australian 16ft Skiff Association Secretary via return email to secretary@skiffs.org.au.

ASSA Development Grant

November 28, 2021News

ASSA has announced a development grant initiative has been created to provide financial support to clubs or associations that undertake development initiatives for 13ft & 16ft skiffs sailors.

For full information, see the document below which outlines the purpose and requirements for the grant.

2021 Nationals Survey Results

November 26, 2021News

Photographer: Michael Chittenden

The 2021 ASSA Sailors Survey results are now available for viewing below. ASSA send out a survey each year to help the association to gather feedback about the national championships and general association operations. This is an invaluable tool and certainly assists the association in making the right decisions for future regattas.

Congratulations to Michael Childs (Vaikobi 16ft Skiff) for winning the $300 team kit reimbursement prize.

As always, if any skiff sailor has any feedback for the association, please get in contact with our secretary or any other ASSA representative. 

We have attached the 2020 Survey results (as many of the questions remain the same each year) for reference.

    Dates confirmed for 2021/22 NSW Regattas

    November 4, 2021News, Skiff Notices

    The NSW Association have now published the Notice of Race for the 2021/22 Season. To see a full list of events, go to the Events Page. The key dates for NSW events are as follows:

    To see entries or register, go to the event page, make sure you are logged in (top right corner) and fill in the details.

    Survey – 2021 Red Pumps Australian Championships

    September 24, 2021News, Skiff Notices

    Every year we use the feedback provided by sailors at the post carnival conference to frame a survey to allow an oportunity for the sailors to provide meaningful feedback so we can better the execution and experience of skiff regattas.

    We have emailed links to skippers of skiffs whom participated, but you did not receive a link, please contact our secretary (info below).

    If you didn’t participate in the regatta, your feedback is just as important and we would like to get your feedback – Non-Participant Feedback


    Nathan Edwards

    President – ASSA

    Contact Information

    Tilly Lang


    2021 Australian Championships – Easter Update

    March 8, 2021Announcement, News, Skiff Notices

    The Red Pumps 2021 Australian Skiff Championships are fast approaching, so it’s time to get into gear and register. The regattas are being held as a condensed event from April 2nd-5th at Gosford Sailing Club. Boats who have already entered will have their entry carry over to Easter. If you are now unable to participate in the event, please contact the association to make the changes to your registration. 

    We have published a new version of the Notice of Race which has the updated schedule and changes to series scoring. The sailing instructions for the event will be available at least a day prior to the start of the regatta. 

    ASSA and GSC would like to thank our sponsors for supporting the changes to the event and hope that our sailors will show the same gratitude through-out the event in Easter. 

    If anyone has any questions about the event, please get in contact with us through our email info@skiffs.org.au and we will reply as soon as we can. 


    Nathan Edwards 

    Commodore | Australian Skiff Sailing Association