State Titles Begin On Harbour

Last weekend saw the opening heats of the NSW State Championships for three different sailing classes. Flying Ant, 13ft Skiff and 16ft Skiff sailors from Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Gosford, Sydney and the Illawarra (around the state?) converged on the Port Hunter 16ft Sailing Skiff Club at Stockton to compete against each other and the elements.

On the confined courses on Newcastle Harbour the large fleets were constantly coming together, ducking and weaving to avoid each other and to gain competitive advantage. Strong winds on Saturday afternoon proved especially testing with boats converging at high speed, with most of the fleet showing exceptional boat handling however there were still a few capsizes and some gear breakages forcing the retirement of several boats.

The Flying Ants had boats from Illawarra and Lake Macquarie fighting for the top positions with Elliot Noah's Itchy & Scratchy and Jake Morgan's Kamakazi each winning a heat and getting a podium in the alternate race. Other podium finishers were Audrey Scheu's Rough Diamond and Will Dalgleish's Geronimo.

In the 13ft Skiffs Manly boats dominated the top positions with Jake Barnabas' The Kitchen Maker and Will Divola's Bruce each getting a win and a second and Nathan Lilley's Bartley Construction gaining two third placings.

Manly boats were also impressive in the largest and most competitive fleet of 16ft Skiffs, with Olympic Gold Medallist and multiple World Champion Nathan Wilmott and his crew on Manly Surf N Slide showing their class to win both heats from 35 other skiffs. Felix Grech's Koreman Marine Composites and Nick Connor's Cunninghams both sailed excellent races to be runners-up on Saturday and Sunday respectively, while St George sailors Lee Knapton and crew on Brydens Lawyers showed the consistency that has won them multiple 16ft Skiff Australian Championships and an 18ft Skiff World Championship, with a pair of third placings.

The final two heats of the 13ft Skiff and 16ft Skiff State Championships will be held at Gosford on December 1st and 2nd. Top-flight sailing will return to Newcastle Harbour in January when Port Hunter hosts the MG14 Australian Championships.

Photos will be posted as they become available.