Sharpie legend Mal Higgins, along with Sam Sanderson and Andrew Chisholm in Focus, has taken out yet another coveted South Australian State Sharpie Title, winning overall in a commanding victory against some very well-touted opponents. Although he and his crew did not attend the nationals this season, they proved they could still gel  as well as ever before and take out a memorable win.

Beer Nuts leading down the run

Beer Nuts leading down the run

The 2016/17 SA Sharpie States were competed for over two separate weekends throughout the season – one weekend at the Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club in November prior to the nationals and the traditional country weekend in February after the nationals, hosted by the Wallaroo Sailing Club. Although numbers for the state championship itself were lower than seen in previous years, it was pleasing to see upwards of 35 sharpies competing at club level in South Australia at some point throughout the season. This can be significantly attributed to the growing Port Lincoln fleet, which is getting up towards 15 boats – our strongest sharpie club in the state.

The first leg of the states at Brighton was held in lighter and trickier conditions and saw some close racing with the up-and-coming Luke Stephens in Beer Nuts and veteran Chris Went in Trump putting Higgins to the test. They headed into the halfway mark in close contact, opening up a thrilling finish in Wallaroo.


TRUMP, leading the way

The Walla Weekend is always known for big breezes and late nights but this year only half of that would be true. The sailing on the Saturday was a light off-shore breeze that many sailors had never seen before in Wallaroo and caused headaches for many of the teams. The night was spent at the awesome local yacht club where we enjoyed a great buffet dinner and some drinks before heading to the Cornucopia Hotel where several more refreshments were enjoyed. The second day was light again to start but then built into a gentle sea breeze, still not what we were used to for Wallaroo.

Higgins was too strong in the second leg and ran away with another title while Luke Stephens held off for a count back runner up place ahead of Chris Went.

Congratulations must also be given to Stuart de la Perrelle and his crew Sam Stevens and Henry Green in French Bread on taking out the SA Country Title. These guys have sailed a great season back home in Port Lincoln and are showing that the west coast long boats can definitely match it with their city counterparts.

Also a big shout out to the Victorian Sharpie Association on the running of a very successful nationals at the Mordialloc Sailing Club where we were lucky enough that SA went 1-2-3 (Maelstrom, Beer Nuts, Trump) in what was a closely-fought regatta. President Jake Nichols and his team worked incredibly hard and should be proud of their efforts.


They also put a lot of effort into travel this season with two big trips both to Port Lincoln last June for our Sharpie Frostbite Regatta and again in November to the first leg of our states. Max Nichols, along with Leah MacPherson and Rob Radnell in Figjam, were one of two boats that made the trip to the states and were good enough to take out the Arthur Shanks Perpetual Trophy for the first-placed juniors in the states – well done!

A great season of sailing sharpies again in SA and we look forward to next year, which will include the 75th anniversary of the Sharpie Nationals in the iconic and historic sharpie location of Yeppoon in Central Queensland. There’s already a heap of SA boats confirmed with talk of plenty more – we can’t wait to get there.

A year on from the Yeppoon nationals it will be coming back to SA and we invite everyone to the Adelaide Sailing Club for the 76th Sharpie Nationals (dates to be confirmed).


  1. Focus – Mal Higgins
  2. Beer Nuts – Luke Stephens
  3. Trump – Chris Went
  4. Maelstrom – Jason Heritage
  5. Nude – Ryan Kelly
  6. Moe’s – Peter Higgins
  7. Ferocious White Hunting Rabbits – Chris Todd
  8. Nightmare – Steve Luders
  9. Spank – John Weigand
  10. Under the Radar – Peter Kirk
  11. Don’t Poke the Bear – Tony Turton
  12. You Can’t Get Fritz in Sydney – John Woolatt
  13. French Bread – Stuart de la Perrelle
  14. Intoxicated – Terry Carlson
  15. Simply Irresistible – Brett Gage
  16. Bums on Decks – Lauren Thredgold
  17. Asylum – Bronte Flint


  1. Spank – John Weigand
  2. Ferocious White Hunting Rabbits – Chris Todd
  3. Nude – Ryan Kelly
  4. Beer Nuts – Luke Stephens
  5. Focus – Mal Higgins
  6. Trump – Chris Went
  7. Maelstrom – Jason Heritage
  8. Nightmare – Steve Luders
  9. Under the Radar – Peter Kirk
  10. Moe’s – Peter Higgins
  11. Bums on Decks – Lauren Thredgold
  12. French Bread – Stuart de la Perrelle
  13. Intoxicated – Terry Carlson
  14. Mark it Zero – Mark Forbes
  15. You Can’t Get Fritz in Sydney – John Woolatt
  16. Don’t Poke the Bear – Tony Turton
  17. Asylum – Bronte Flint
  18. Simply Irresistible – Brett Gage


SA930 Focus – Mal Higgins, Sam Sanderson, Andrew Chisholm

SA919 Spank – John Weigand, Joe Kelly, Tom Alder

SA920 French Bread – Stuart de la Perrelle, Sam Stevens, Henry Green

V777 Figjam – Max Nichols Leah MacPherson, Rob Radnell

SA931 – Ferocious White Hunting Rabbits – Chris Todd, Doug Nairn, Jason Webb

STATES SPONSOR – HandiWebb Home Maintenance (Jason Webb)