Time to pull the curtain back on one of the oldest and more unique B14 traditions.

For more than 20 years, the women of the B14 fleet have particularly looked forward to the final day of racing at National and World Championships. Not because they are tired of racing, far from it! But the after the final day’s racing, all the females flee the final pack up in the boat park for a bonding session over a few bubblies. Sometimes quite a few…

It’s an opportunity for the women to speak their mind, compare bruises, reminisce about the highs and lows and the days just passed. And laugh. A lot. Sometimes there are a few tears but it usually ends with laughter.


A rare shot inside the shower, with champagne, at Midway Point, Tassie.

There’s something very soothing about blowing off some steam while enjoying the humidity of the (usually cramped) change room.

The tradition has now travelled from its humble beginnings in the Sydney Flying Squadron’s women’s showers at the turn of the century, to changerooms across Australia as well as in France, Italy and the UK.


Practicing bending the elbow before one of the early Champagnes in the Shower at McCrae in 2003.

The NOR is published and you can now enter the B14 Worlds and Australian Championships to be held on Sydney Harbour in January 2025.

Head here to register and to find out all sorts of useful information about the event and the location.

At the beginnning of 2024, the shores of Safety Beach, Victoria, witnessed an event that brought together the exhilarating world of B14, Javelin, and Musto sailing—the Skiff Fest Nationals. Hosted by the picturesque Safety Beach Sailing Club, this championship marked the first time all three skiff classes joined forces at an Australian national level, creating a buzz of excitement among sailors and spectators alike.

Skiff Fest Nationals played host to sailors from across Australia, featuring thirteen B14s, alongside participants from the Javelin and Musto classes. This unique convergence of skiff classes added an extra layer of anticipation and competition to the event. Safety Beach, nestled on the shores of Port Phillip Bay, offered the perfect canvas for this sailing spectacle with its clear blue waters and ever-changing weather conditions.

Among the thirteen B14s, the competition was fierce, with two boats representing Tasmania, five from Victoria, and six from New South Wales. The victors of the B14’s in the Australian Nationals were:

First Place: Craig Garmston and Paul Fleming on Aus 375

Second Place: Brent Frankcombe and Leigh Dunstan on Aus 378

Third Place: Scott Cunningham and Brody Riley on Aus 373

Multitool Awards:

Skiff Fest Nationals recognised not only speed and strategy but also the fun antics upon the water. The Multitool Awards, sponsored by Phaedrus Estate, Ronstan, and Jetty Road Brewery, highlighted remarkable moments throughout the event:


Day 1: Anthony House and Michela Torchio on Yellowbone received the award for rounding and hitting the mark.

Day 2: David Grace and Corey Riley on Osbourne earned the award for their "no hands" approach.

Day 3: Ryan Gerrish and Callum O’Boyle showcased brute force, winning the award for ripping pulleys out of their boat on Aus 378.


Beyond the Races: Seals, Scenery, and Celebrations

Skiff Fest Nationals was not just about the races; it was a holistic celebration of sailing culture. From friendly seals accompanying the starting boat, to welcome dinners at Jetty Road Brewery and evenings unwinding from the day just passed with fellow sailors; the event embraced the joys of being on the water.

Stay Connected: Social Media and Photography

For those who couldn't be at Safety Beach in person, the action was kept alive on social media. Skiff Fest's Facebook page became a hub for updates, highlights, and community engagement. Additionally, A J McKinnon Photography captured the moments, offering participants and fans the chance to relive the excitement through their lens. https://ajmckinnonphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/23583560/

Proud Sponsors: A Community Effort

Skiff Fest Nationals 2024 was made possible by the support of several sponsors, including the Victorian State Government, Refresh Property Solutions, Ronstan, Phaedrus Estate, Jetty Road Brewery, Irwin Sails, and Safety Beach Sailing Club. Their contributions played a vital role in making this event a resounding success.

As the sails lower and the skiffs rest, Skiff Fest Nationals 2024 leaves behind a legacy of camaraderie, competition, and the sheer joy of sailing. The shores of Safety Beach will be fondly remembered for the Nationals 2023-2024, until the next rendezvous in Sydney Harbour at Woollahra Sailing Club, with the Nationals 2024-25 from Jan 2-4 and the Worlds Jan 6-10 2025. See you there!!!!

Fleet starting
(c) Lotte Johnson / www.lottejohnson.com

by Paul Fleming & Craig Garmston

Storms yesterday evening were expected to play havoc with today's breeze, and by the time the fleet launched for a 1pm start the breeze was already quite an unsteady southerly, which left some of the lighter crews licking their lips at what was going to bring them some good results.

Race 5 started off in what felt like at the time a building Ora which enticed some, including series leader Nick Craig / Tobytastic (GBR 796), to go the right cliffs which were visibly closer to the start line and seemed to some as an obvious choice. Mark Watts / Matt Johnson (GBR 797) lead the left pack with Russ Gibbs / Lucy Loughton (GBR 762) and Mark Barns / Simon Reynolds (GBR 799) in hot pursuit. The down wind legs proved very tricky with gusts coming down and angles changing constantly. Wattsy / MJ defended hard but in was Russ / Lucy that took the win in the end.


Amir and Nick on 795
(c) Lotte Johnson / www.lottejohnson.com
Paul Roberts continued his very good form from a newly sported handle bar moustache in yesterday's post racing shenanigans which clearly gave him an aeronautical advantage with Paul / Guy Raynes (GBR 756) claiming a series best result of 6th place in race 5, missing 5th place by the smallest of margins.

With the wind slowly shutting down and flicking 45 degrees that race committee made an excellent decision to move the course to the south to ensure race 8 could be held.

Kev & Gaz
(c) Lotte Johnson / www.lottejohnson.com
It was the first time the race track was in this position for the Ora in this series, so it had a few scratching there heads on which way to go. Pin end was favoured and a big pack formed. Nick / Tobytastic (GBR 796) won the pin and started to lead the pack left. Mark / Matt (GBR 797) had great start mid line getting a lift that no one else seemed to get. Russ / Lucy (GBR 762) where again up there. Craig Garmston / Paul Fleming (AUS 375) tried the middle and then left following the leading 3 around the first windward mark. Wattsy / MJ (GBR 797) cleared out mid race leaving 2nd, 3rd and 4th to be battled out. The battle continued for the minor placings as positions changed right to the line. Craig / Paul (AUS 375) scrapped home for 2nd by half a boat length to Russ / Lucy GBR 762) who just defended off Nick / Toby (GBR 796) by half a boat length.
Wattsy & MJ
(c) Lotte Johnson / www.lottejohnson.com

Special mention to Russ / Lucy (GBR 762) who challenged the series leaders all day, and also Crispin Taylor / Guy Haril (GBR 789) for their series best results with a 4th and 5th place respectively today.

After today racing sets up the final day for a proper show down by the top 2 boats Nick / Toby (GBR 796) who lead Wattsy / MJ (GBR 797) by only a point. There is still everything to play for and it will be great to watch these teams fight it out tomorrow for the final two races of the series.

(c) Lotte Johnson / www.lottejohnson.com
Amy & Dave
(c) Lotte Johnson / www.lottejohnson.com


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