18-foot skiffs: the winning way

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18-foot skiffs: the winning way

by Frank Quealey Sep 5, 2020 10:47 PM PDT

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Pacific Harbor Fiji in action at the Australian Championship on the Swan River, Perth © Frank Quealey

AMP Centrepoint, John Winning’s 2000 JJ Giltinan Championship winning skiff © Frank Quealey

The continued success of iconic 128-year-old Australian sport, 18ft Skiff Racing on Sydney Harbor, owes much to the incredible action and support of John (Woody) Winning, the Winning family and the family business. Winning.

John is a Giltinan World Champion as well as a winner of the International and Australian Championships. He has also been President of the Australian 18 Footers League for the past 17 years and responsible for the stability and success of the sport.

‘Woody’ has not only been the major influence in 18ft single scull racing on Sydney Harbor for the past 20 years or more, he is still an active competitor in modern and historic fleets (style 18 1950s) every weekend during the summer months.

He will line up again with the 2020-2021 Australian 18 Footers League season fleet every Sunday in the famous Yandoo color patch (red and blue oval) as well as skipper The Mistake in the historic Sydney Flying fleet. Squadron every Saturday.

John’s son, John (Herman) Winning Jr. is hoping his business commitments will give him plenty of time to face his dad again in the League in the new season in his winning squad skiff.

Both come from the 12 foot Amateur Sailing Club in Vaucluse and both have impressive sailing records.

‘Woody’ joined the ranks of 18 Footer in 1975-1976 in a TraveLodge sponsored single scull after winning the 1971-1972 Australian 12ft single scull championship with Yandoo and the 1974-1975 inter-dominion single scull championship for the company TraveLodge.

In the 18s, he won the JJ Giltinan World Championship in 2000 when he claimed victory with AMP Centrepoint with his teammates Euan McNicol and Anthony (Jack) Young, and won the Australian Championship as well as the Championships international 18-foot single sculls in Europe, the United States and New Zealand.

‘Woody’ also finished second to legendary 18 Footer champion Iain Murray in two World Championships JJ Giltinan and three Australian 18 Footer Championships, and his record would have been even greater had he not taken several years away from the 18s to focus on its commercial commitments.

John’s 18-foot international championship record includes three European Championships (2001, 2004 and 2011), the Mark Foy Trophy with Yandoo in Sonderborg, Denmark in 2011, the San Francisco International Championship in 2004 and the ANZAC Regatta in Auckland in 2010.

“Herman” won the 29er World Championship in 2002 before switching to 18ft single sculls in 2006 with a single scull sponsored by the family’s appliancesonline.com.au company.

Time-consuming trade engagements curtailed his career in the 18s, but despite reduced opportunities he still managed impressive results against the world’s best single sculling teams at the Giltinan Championship. His best ranking to date was earlier this year, in the winning group, when he finished second on the Honda Marine team of three-time world champion David McDiarmid.

In 1999, John was heavily involved in establishing the “historic 18s” fleet.

Former Australian 18-footer champion and class historian John ‘Steamer’ Stanley, who has known and sailed many times with ‘Woody’, recalls:

“John and I went sailing on a replica Aberdare with Robert Tearne, who built the boat, and we were both addicted to the challenge of sailing such a boat. Woody asked Robert to build a replica of the boat. Australia I, the 1946- Australian Champion of 1947, which included John’s father and uncle Dick Winning in the champion’s crew. It was the start of a rebuilding program to preserve and recreate the rich history of the 18 feet.

As usual, he was willing to back his conviction with his own money and still owns or has an interest in 5 or 6 boats in the current historic fleet.

John was first president of the Australian 18 Footers League from 1984 to 1985, but had to give up that post as it was around this time that he became more involved as head of the family business.

When Mr. Eric Bowen, who succeeded John in 1985, retired in 2003, John returned to the League and remains in that position today. He is in the unique position of being the Chairman of the Sydney Flying Squadron as well.

The League fleet flourished during the 2000s under John’s presidency. In fact, it is his personal and family initiatives, and his financial support, that have played such an important role in the success.

John, his wife Kerrie, as well as the late Bob Killick were the original trio that created the video coverage of the League races and the family business has been the primary funder of every JJ Giltinan Championship since 2007.

John Stanley has nothing but the highest praise for ‘Woody’ the man and the champion sailor. “John ‘Woody’ Winning puts a lot more back into the sport than he gets. He is extremely generous with his time and money, and is always ready to help fellow sailors or anyone in need.”

Mark Foy created an action-packed sport and promoted it to the general public who previously had little knowledge of sailing, while James J Giltinan was a sports promoter tasked with initiating a world championship for the 18-year-olds.

John ‘Woody’ Winning has now solidified the work of these men by ensuring the continuity of the class, through sponsorship of his family business and associates, while promoting the race with live video coverage around the world. .

“The 18 Footers lost two greats when Mark Foy and James J Giltinan died in 1950. ‘Woody’ arrived in 1952, with his father’s genes, but I think he had some of Mark Foy’s genes as well. and James J Giltinan genes to continue their great foresight. ”

18 Footers racing is fortunate that the success and longevity (128 years) he has had was mainly due to forethought, positive thinking and financial wisdom to promote the sport to the masses by three thinking men positive. So far, the class has been free from the negative and cost-cutting individuals that have sent many sports companies and organizations into oblivion.

We agree with John Stanley when he said “three thumbs up to Woody”.

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