After a hiatus of some years, last Saturday saw the running of the Port Jackson Championship for 16’ and 13’ skiffs, which was hosted by Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club. The race saw a combined fleet of roughly 70 skiffs greet the starter in “The Sound” at 13:30 hours and involved a racecourse stretching almost the length of Sydney Harbour from Manly Cove to Garden Island and back, some 14.5 nautical miles in total. As part of this event, and in keeping with the Manly Club’s desire to make the Championship appeal to all skiff sailors regardless of experience or ability, the major handicap race of the NSW 16ft Skiff Association, the Dumaresq Cup, was incorporated into the race.

The history of the Dumaresq Cup is unique to the 16ft skiff class and whilst Admiral John Saumarez Dumaresq was Flag Officer, Commanding H.M.A. fleet for the period 1919-1922, he also had a keen interest in open boat skiff sailing and built two 16ft skiffs named Dumaresq I & II which he raced to teach navy personnel small boat handling. Before completing his posting as our Nation’s first Australian born naval officer to command the Australian Fleet he presented the Dumaresq Cup to the NSW 16ft Skiff Association. The trophy is a solid silver cup, of imposing dimensions, and has been raced for annually since its inception in 1922. The trophy has recently been fully restored and is quite magnificent.

Last Saturday, the Middle Harbour 16ft Skiff,  known as  “Shead” and skippered by Peggy Stanbury with dad Matt on mainsheet and forward hand Josh Champion in the bow, took out first place on handicap in the Port Jackson Championship and duly secured the Dumaresq Cup for the Club!

To add to the excitement, Peg’s big brother Tommi, yes, our bar manager, with Natasha Pollett on the tiller and Jamie Hargrave on main, sailed “No Cents” into second place to complete a spectacular day for the Club and the Stanbury family! Needless to say both skiffs relieved Manly 16’s of some much appreciated funds which can go towards new equipment and sails (or even over the bar for their MH sailing mates!).

Not to be outdone, 13ft Skiff “Plonk Café “ , skippered by Avril Richardson with Warwick Taylor as crew, were also on the podium taking out 2nd place on scratch from 19 competitors over a course some 30% longer than the 13s would generally sail. An outstanding effort from another of our up and coming female sailors and her crew.

Both Peggy, Tash and Avril, recent graduates of our junior and youth sailing fleets, are in their first season of serious skiff sailing and the newly renovated ladies changeroom at the Club is proving to be a real motivator to sail fast and get back to the luxurious and warm showers early!

Special thanks to Manly 16’s for putting on a great event and getting everyone around the course in plenty of breeze, safely.