Club Champions Decided

When Sarah Lee was first asked to skipper Noakes, there was just a momentary moment of apprehension. While supremely confident of her own skills, Lee was joining a boat used to life at the pointy end of the fleet. And in Ricky Bridge and Pete Mackie, you had two giants of the 16ft skiff sailing world.

“I was so stoked but nervous to sail with them when they first asked me because they are so talented with a lot of trophies under their belt,” Lee explained. “But it instantly felt great. Mackie and Bridgey are the nicest guys to sail with. “We have a lot of laughs and the energy is always positive. Now it just feels so natural to jump on their boat and we work together so well. I’m kind of sad the season has come to a close.”

It may have come to an end but Lee will have plenty of fond memories when she looks back on season 2023/24. She became the first female skipper to win the Australian 16ft Championship, steering Southerly to an emphatic win on home waters at St George. And she has backed that up with another history-making moment – becoming the first women to win St George’s club championship aboard Noakes. That was sealed with back-to-back victories in Saturday’s final two heats, leaving Lee nine points clear of nearest rival TTR Civil (Phil Bower) with Toogara (Tom Clout) third and Infinity Rigging (Lachlan Steel) fourth.

Lee said: “We had such a great day sailing…one of those days where I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, and you come in and know that you and your team sailed really well. “To finish off with two spot-on starts, smart tactics, clean manoeuvres and clear wins was a really good feeling. “I’m so lucky to have two talented teams, Noakes and Southerly, to jump in between.”

But perhaps the best moment of the day came hours after the championship was decided. “Yeah, of course it’s nice (to create history) but we were talking about junior sailing at St George (on Saturday night) and apparently it’s full of little girls,” Lee said excitedly. “It would have been so cool when I was learning to see women winning in skiff classes.”

Incredibly, Noakes won six of the nine club championship heats and finished runner-up in the three others.


Full Results Here

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