So Far So Good
An idea hatched over a bottle of shiraz has led to one of the more remarkable “beginner” stories in 16ft skiff history.
We put “beginner” in inverted commas because St George’s Shannon Andrew has been in and around boats all her life – brothers Jack and Brad are well-known figures on the sailing circuit – but had no real experience in the 16s until a couple of months ago.
The plan to enter the class was born where many good ideas begin – over a glass or two of red – at the club’s presentation night last season.
“It was one of those ideas that sounded good after a few wines and then you wake up the next day and have to go through with it,” Shannon laughed.
“I’ve sailed since I was a young person and then took about 15 years off when I had my boys and came back about 10 years ago in the MG14s.
“I’ve sailed with my son in the MGs the last two seasons and thought it was time to do something different.
“But this is the first time I’ve steered a 16.”
At this juncture, we should point out Shannon celebrated her 53rd birthday this week.
She said: “There’s lots of learnings going on at the moment. It’s very challenging.
“The biggest thing is getting used to the power of the boat and the way it steers.
“These capsize a lot more if you get in the wrong position. We’ve spent a bit of time in the drink but we’re learning all the time and the rest of the fleet has been great in giving advice and helping out.”
Bowman Dan Maclachan and Ash Scott (sheethand) are with Shannon on this journey and are fast building a combination.
Also helping the cause is team sponsor So Far So Good, a sustainable clothing company producing garments from eco-friendly materials.
Five per cent of each purchase is donated to various Australian charities dedicated to youth mental health.
“I liked the idea of what they’re representing and what they’re trying to achieve and the messages they’re sending,” Shannon said.
“It’s two females who have set this business up based, I think, on their own experiences.
“They’re keen to support mental health as well, so that’s a good story and it all fit together quite nicely.”
So Far So Good’s on-water apprenticeship continued last Saturday when St George held the fourth heat of its club championship.
Series leader Noakes (Sarah Lee) again dominated the race, beating home Noakes Blues (Ryan Ewings) and TTR Civil (Phil Bower) to claim its third win in four starts.
The battle for second and third was fierce, Noakes Blue striking late after stalking its prey.
“We sat on the tail of the TTR boys for three laps and were always within 10-15 seconds of them,” Ewings explained.
“We ended up getting them on the last work and held on from there, although there were only a few seconds in it.
“That course is pretty tricky so we were happy with second.”
As for Noakes’ ongoing dominance, Ewings is content to lap up the free education.
He said: “The aim is to not get too far away from them, but they don’t get it wrong too often.
“If you’re on the opposite side of the racecourse, you’re probably the one doing something wrong.
“They’re a good reference point. If you’re up a work and they’re going hard one way and you’re going hard the other, you get a bit nervous.”
Noakes Blues is confident of making its presence felt in the opening two heats of the state championships at Drummoyne on November 18-19.