Main Photo: Defending Champion Finport Finance | Photo: SailMedia | 

The Australian 18 Footers League will continue its international 18ft skiff program when a strong 10-team challenge heads off for the European Championship, which will be sailed on Lake Garda, Italy from July 1-5.

Defending champion Finport Finance (Keagan York) and Yandoo, the current Giltinan world and Australian champion, head the team which also includes Queensland’s champion Big Foot Bags and Covers, skippered by Dave Hayter.

After missing the last two months of the recent 2023-24 Australian season due to hip surgery, three-times European champion John Winning returns to the helm of his champion Yandoo skiff with eyes firmly set on taking his tally in the championship to four wins.
Last year’s championship was a thriller with Finport Finport taking the title on a count back after finishing tied on points with Yandoo at the end of the 14-race regatta.
John Winning, who is also President of the Australian 18 Footers League, is looking forward to another tough contest against the talented Finport Finance team as well as the European teams, led by Germany’s Black Knight.
Black Knight’s team of Heinrich von Bayern, Thomas Martin and Andy Martin finished third in the 2023 championship after recording a win and eleven top-4 placings from the 14 races.

After winning the 2023-24 NSW Championship in Yandoo, Winning had to forgo the rest of the season because of the hip surgery and could only watch as Yandoo, skippered by Micah Lane, won the Australian and Giltinan worlds, with Fang Warren and Lewis Brake, in March 2024

According to Winning, “It was tough having to miss such an important part of last season, but I’m hopeful that my recovery will allow me to put up a 100 per cent challenge against both the Australian and international teams.”


Adding, “As President of the League, I’m proud of the club’s continuation of our 25-year support of the European Championship, which began in 1999 when Peter Sorensen won the title.”

“The League’s international support was accelerated back in the late 1960s-early 1970s when the then-club secretary, Alf Beashel, promoted tours by Australian teams to the USA, which was followed by an Open Worlds at Plymouth in the UK in 1978.”
The Australian teams are expecting challenges from Germany, Denmark, Hungary and UK, which all had teams finishing in the top-10 in the 2023 regatta.
Australia’s teams for the 2024 European Championship are:
YANDOO   John Winning, Fang Warren, Lewis Brake
FINPORT FINANCE   Keagan York, Gus Williams, Phil Marshall
BIG FOOT BAGS & COVERS (Qld)   Dave Hayter, Courtney Mahar, Elliott Mahar
SIXT   Nathan Edwards, Alex Leslie, Locky Pryor
SHAW AND PARTNERS FINANCIAL SERVICES   Emma Rankin, Adam Gilson, Tom Quigley
FISHER & PAYKEL   Jordan Girdis, Josh Feldmann, Jacob Broome
MARINE OUTLET   Brett Van Munster, Kurt Fatouros, Flynn Twomey
THE KITCHEN MAKER   Lachlan Steel, Jerome Watts, Ben Kirkby
BURRAWANG-YOUNG HENRYS   Simon Nearn, Grant Rollerson, Finn Rodowicz
TBA   Dave Lightfoot, Jack Joiner, Peter Ivanic