13′ Skiff Nationals – 7-14th January

13ft Skiff Nationals at home in Manly for the club’s 100th year anniversary 7-14th January

Subjected to a range of challenges and coming through the other side to win the NSW 13ft Championships earlier this month has convinced the team at Ebix it can overcome anything thrown its way at the national championships. With regular skipper Jemma Hopkins unavailable due to Flying 11 commitments, brother James teamed with accomplished 29ers sailor Orlando Sadlik to secure three seconds and a first in varying conditions at St George and Gosford. Ebix held off Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Sailing Club rival #9 by just two points to ensure a second win in three years for Manly.

“The whole way through, the points were very close and there was never any security to our position, which is such a great but stressful feeling at the same time,” James said. “I think what created such great regattas was the different conditions that we had to race in – really windy and choppy down at St George for the first round and light and shifty for the second round in Gosford. “That challenged us and many of the other crews’ range of skills as we had to place so much confidence in our own judgments as a crew.” Orlando added: “When we crossed the line second in the last race at Gosford to beat boat #9 by eight seconds after a tough race, we were stoked as we knew that we only needed to podium to have the regatta wrapped up.”

Ebix’s victory made up for a disappointing campaign 12 months ago. “Unfortunately, last year’s states ended early for us as we broke a lot of gear in the early races,” James explained. “So this year, the preparation and work we did with our sponsor Sean Lilley and Ebix to win states is an exciting start to the season. “The best part of sailing is all of the work that goes into a regatta, both on the boat and as a crew, and therefore winning is just a small piece of the whole event. “Over the past few months whilst Jemma has been busy with the Flying 11, it has been awesome working with Orlando, who has brought a lot to the Ebix team.” Jemma and James, who has just completed his HSC, will reunite for the Australian 13ft Championships to be held at Manly from January 7-14. The excitement among the local fleet has been palpable.

James said: “Having nationals at home in Manly for the club’s 100th year anniversary has already got many sailors at Manly excited; you can’t go a weekend at the boat shed without hearing it. “This will be my first skiff regatta hosted by Manly and also the first regatta that Jemma and I will be sailing together in, therefore, I am super excited to see the work going into the boat and our crew-work come together for what should be some close racing.”

Words Adam Lucius

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