Winter racing goes through hoops at Manly

Bringing in the ‘bridge of doom’ had its challenging moments.

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Kosta Gladiadis won the O’pen Skiff class. Phil and Sam Wild enter the water for the parent/child races. Manly sailor Tristan Lastennet

Manly Sailing Club’s recent midwinter youth championship was not only its largest ever, but also saw the local debut of the Bridge of Doom, known for creating thrills and spills.

This is the fourth time that the 2-day event has been held in the first weekend of the winter school holidays. In that time it has grown from 23 participants to 126 who sailed a variety of craft on July 6 and 7.

Sailors, the majority aged under 18, came from as far as Dunedin, Taipa and even Japan to take part in races in O’Pen Skiffs (formerly known as O’Pen Bics), Lasers, 29ers, Starlings and RS Fevers.

Racing was on courses off Manly, Stanmore Bay and Red Beach. Saturday saw more action, thanks to strong southerly breezes and on Sunday there was far less racing as the wind largely died away.

However, the O’Pen Skiff fleet managed a full day of open water racing with light winds honing skills – especially the ability to spot wind gusts as they came across the water.

A highlight for the O’Pen Skiff competitors was a chance to have a go at the Bridge of Doom, an inflatable arch designed just a little too low to sail under. Sailors must heel their boats over as they approach to get through the arch successfully.

The Bridge was launched in 2017 at the North American O’Pen Bic Championships and is designed to bring course obstacles to youth sailing for more fun and to increase skills. Reportedly it was a challenge enjoyed by all at Manly, with a queue forming to have a go.

The arch was inflated by club members using a vacuum cleaner, and at the end of Sunday, it took four people to manhandle it off the beach and back up to the club before it was deflated.

Manly Sailing Club’s young sailors performed well at the event. The big winners were Mattias Coutts and Cailen Rochford, who came first in the challenging double-handed 29er class, and Kosta Gladiadis, who won the O’Pen Skiff class.

Ben Tapper placed 2nd in the Gold O’Pen Skiff fleet and Cameron Holding placed second in the Laser 4.7 fleet.

Liam Dimock placed 3rd in the Silver O’Pen Skiff fleet and Maddie Rist and Aimee Bright, also from Manly, came fifth in the 29ers.

One of the popular features of the regatta was the parent/child category, which allowed some more senior members of the club to get in on the sailing action – the father and son team of Phil and Sam Wild placed second in the RS Feva class.


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