By 1931 the country was in the grip of the Depression and the fleet had fallen to three boats, however, a small group of members managed to keep the Club viable. By 1934 the future looked brighter and the clubhouse was extended to accommodate a further ten boats.
During the Easter weekend in 1935 at Toronto ( Lake Macquarie), the skiff "Lightning" sailed by Russell Slade became the first skiff from this Club to win a N.S.W. 16ft Skiff State Championship.
The commencement of the 1936/37 season saw a change to Saturday sailing for the first time. This change had been proposed for some time but did not receive sufficient support until just before the start of that season. Saturday sailing has been retained since that time, although there were some unsuccessful moves during the 1970’s to change back to Sundays because of congestion on the Harbour on Saturdays due to large yacht fleets.
With the onset of the 2nd World War in 1939, the fleet and membership again decreased, with over 50% of the Club's members serving in the Armed Forces. For the duration of the War an average of six 16ft skiffs and four "B" class boats sailed each weekend.
After the end of hostilities in 1945, the Club supported the formation of North Harbour Sailing Club to provide a training ground for juniors who would hopefully move on to 16ft skiffs. To this end the "B" class which by this time mainly consisted of junior members began to race with the North Harbour Club.
In 1952, with the Club now only racing 16ft skiffs, the name was changed to Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club. By that time there was a fleet of about twelve 16ft skiffs racing with the Club and further extensions were carried out to the building to provide a social area.
The latter half of the 1950's and early 1960's was a period of rapid and dramatic change both for the Club and the 16ft skiff class. In early 1960, the Club applied for a Liquor License. This was ultimately granted on 1 July 1960. Up to this time revenue had principally been raised by social functions, competitions, membership fees and debentures, shed rent and donations. In addition, much of the administration, building and maintenance work had been carried out on a voluntary basis by members, some of whom devoted many hours of their time. The increased revenue which resulted from the operation of the Club as a Licensed premises, was, and still is, applied solely to maintaining Club facilities and promotion of sailing.
The changes to the 16ft Skiff class at that time included - adoption of the bermudan rig to replace gaff rigs, hulls became significantly lighter in weight when ply construction began to replace the heavier planking method, and the use of trapeze wires as a method of balancing the boats was introduced, synthetic sails replaced cotton sails, wooden masts were gradually replaced by aluminium masts and buoyancy tanks were introduced to enable boats to be righted in the event of a capsize.
In 1963 the present concrete deck was constructed as the first stage of a rebuilding programme. Unfortunately, lack of finance and subsequent problems with this deck forced the shelving of this programme with exception of the addition of the timber deck in 1966.
To cater for the growing numbers of members' children interested in sailing and to provide a training ground for potential 16ft skiff sailors, the Club introduced the Flying Eleven division in 1971. This move proved very successful and by the mid 1970's the Club not only had a good Flying Eleven fleet but also a fleet of up to thirty 16ft skiffs.
To comply with the State Government requirements, the Club was incorporated as a company (limited by guarantee) in November 1972. The purpose of this requirement was to protect the liability of members if a club became insolvent.
On 26th May 1974, the Club building was severely damaged by a very severe storm which, combined with an exceptionally high tide, saw waves actually breaking over both the concrete and timber decks. This same storm caused considerable damage around the Manly/North Harbour foreshore, including the total demolition of the North Harbour Sailing Club (and all boats stored therein).
Much of the repair work to our building was carried out on a voluntary basis during the off-season by club members. During the following season (1974/75), the Club hosted both the State and Australian 16ft Skiff Championships for the first time.Read more...
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