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.

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!!!!

You can see all the results here.

Congratulations to Craig Garmston and Paul Fleming for taking out the B14 2021-22 National Titles once again.

But it wasn't always easy...


Thanks to the Illawarra Yacht Club for hosting us once again, the B14s always feel very welcome at IYC and we are always well looked after.Thanks to Bob and Anne Bowers and all the volunteers. And well done Glenn Cardwell and Kim Desborough for all the hard work in organising this very well-run regatta.

Bryan Moses has created an excellent video of the event. 2021RaceDay2.mp4 (vimeo.com)

And more fantastic pics thanks to Brendan Markey can be found here. B14 Nats 6th Jan 2022 - Google Drive