18ft single sculls: John ‘Steamer’ Stanley

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18ft single sculls: John ‘Steamer’ Stanley

by Frank Quealey Aug 15, 2020 11:37 PM PDT

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John ‘Steamer’ Stanley is the go-to person for historical information and photographic images regarding the 18ft, now is the time to take a look at John’s own history regarding sailing and 18 foot yachting.

John arrived in Sydney (from Queensland) at the age of six. After his parents bought a house in Seaforth and became social members of the Middle Harbor Skiff Club, John used to sit on the beach and watch the boats race, and he “wanted to play the game. “.

His first sailing on a 16ft was with Jim O’Rourke, a former Australian 16ft champion. John recalls, “It was a 30 knot westerly wind. I was the mechanic and I think I bailed out Middle Harbor twice that day, and I loved it.

After sailing in the Class B fleet, John became fourth hand in light weather with Eddy Kirk and finished second to Pamela IV at the 1962-1963 Australian 16ft Championship.

The following season, Ken Beashel asked John to become his light-weather assistant on Elvina Bay, who finished third in the 1963-1964 Australian Championship in Perth.

With some of the biggest names from the 16s around this time, John has fond memories of his experience. “I had the chance to sail with some of the best competitors the club has ever had. The next step was to go from 16 to 18, and I wanted to be the best striker there is.”

“Rod Zemanek asked me to sail his 18ft Minamit in 1967-1968, then the following year we moved into the 18s on a brand new single scull named Willie B, which was the first 18 to sail with four on the wire. We were runners. -in place in the 1969 and 1970 Giltinan championships, but won the 1969-1970 Australian championship on the Brisbane River. ”

At the 1969 Giltinan Championship, Willie B and TravelLodge were tied after all five regular races and the first start in championship history was needed to nominate the champion. It was a controversial regatta, especially since a protest against Race 3 winner Willie B was the reason for the start.

John recalls: “In Race 3 TravelLodge led Willie B around the top mark, and while adjusting the spinnaker the end of the boom cut the trapeze line of Bruce Farr’s Guinness Lady sailing under. us up to the top mark. winning the race and Bruce and his crew congratulated us on our victory, but when the TravelLodge manager heard about the incident, he filed a third party claim late that night. Our skipper, Rod Zemanek, refused to go and demonstrate and we were disqualified.

“We still finished tied on points at the end of the title, so we had to fight a start against TravelLodge. We were leading the last run until the finish, against the tide, before TravelLodge posed a huge spinnaker and does not overtake us just before the finish. ”

After the two seasons on Willie B, John said, “I heard Dave Porter was getting an 18 footer for the 1970-1971 season so I called him up and asked if he wanted a hand. forward. He said he would call me back. He did, and said yes. ”

Ian Perdriau built a beautiful boat, which raced in Australia. John remembers “the boat was a rocket and we won the New South Wales state title. Unfortunately, this season was the last to have a rule that when the top of the mast hit the water, you were left out. It cost us both the Australian and the Giltin Championships. ”

The following season (1971-1972), John joined Denis Lehany and Ian Perdriau on a new boat, named Electric Indian.

According to John, “Graham Nock had already sponsored Denis and asked him if he could sponsor the new boat. The boat was then renamed Nock & Kirby and we won the Australian Championship on the Brisbane River, but on the Bay. from Waterloo, Don Lidgard’s Smirnoff, which was the first boat to jibe downwind, was too good. ”

John ‘Woody’ Winning won the 1974-1975 Inter-Dominion 12ft Skiff Championship and rose to 18 the following season, with support from TravelLodge. John Stanley joined ‘Woody’ but, while neither had time to do a high profile campaign justice, ‘Steamer’ decided to quit the team after just a few weeks. .

“Steamer” had sailed the bigger boats before, and after the short time spent on Travelodge, he focused all of his efforts on a variety of high profile classes and events.

In 1976, John joined Bruce Ritchie in the Etchell class and won the Australian Championship, which saw the team contend for the world title in Newport, Rhode Island, where they finished in third place.

Following this event, John said, “I flew to San Francisco for The Big Boat Series and won on Ballyhoo.

Over the next year, it was “all-go” for John. He sailed Ragamuffin III and competed in the Admirals Cup in England, then joined Tom Stephenson on the One Tonner B195, which won the Australian Championship.

The 1977 E22 World Championship was going to be held off Palm Beach (Sydney), so John convinced Frank Tolhurst to buy an Etchell 22. With Norm Hyett, the trio won the championship and became the first Australian crew to win. the world title.

John recalls: “Unfortunately, Norm Hyett and I were unable to accompany Frank Tolhurst to defend the E22 title as we prepared Big Schott (Two Tonner) for the first Pan Am Clipper Cup, won by the Australian team.”

Then he joined Hugh Treharne’s Quarter Tonner Seaply and won the Australian Championship. The team then traveled to Japan where they finished third in the world title.

John’s incredible racing career continued as he put it: “In 1980 I was invited to try out as a crew for the America’s Cup with Jim Hardy and Ben Lexcen, a great experience with Ben and the mast folded. ” Then in 1982 “I sailed the One Tonner White Pointer in the first race from Sydney to Coffs Harbor and we won the double.

We’re extremely lucky to have John Stanley as a historian in 18 footers, so I just had to ask him what drives him so, his answer: the years. I believe if you don’t know where you have been you will never know where you are going.

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