Neil, Connor and Warren Stiff at the Warwick Sailing Club Social Day at Leslie Dam on Sunday.
Neil, Connor and Warren Stiff at the Warwick Sailing Club Social Day at Leslie Dam on Sunday. Gerard Walsh

Sailing in the 'blood'

A THIRD generation of the Stiff family went out on the water solo at the Warwick Sailing Club Social Day at Leslie Dam on Sunday.

Connor Stiff, 13, sailed out into a dam at full capacity in his Moth and couldn't have been happier.

"Sailing is an adrenalin rush just like rugby union," Connor said.

"I was not worried at all going out by myself."

Like his father Warren, who played rugby for Warwick and Darling Downs, Connor is a flanker or second row.

Warren first sailed as a child with his father Neil before he and wife Lana bought a catamaran 10 years ago.

Unfortunately, the level of Leslie Dam was dropping a decade ago and didn't fill to Christmas.

While some families head to the beach with a caravan in tow, the Stiff family tow a boat trailer with their catamaran.

"Lack of water has been a problem at the dam (until Christmas) but we sail while at the coast on holidays," Warren said.

Warren first sailed with his father Neil three decades ago and his father still sails.

This year, Neil sailed his 34-foot Kaufman from Brisbane to Lord Howe Island and back - a trip of 400 nautical miles each way.

"I had one crewman," he said.

"It took five days to get there and three days to get home with a bit of a breeze."

The sail to the island was without any help from a motor, which is only used in and out of port.

The three generations of the Stiff family were at Leslie Dam on Sunday for a sailing club social day which attracted six current and six prospective new members.

Two of the longest-serving club volunteers were at the dam on Sunday, Ivan Watt and Gerry Roche.

Watt was the foreman in a group of volunteers who built the sailing clubhouse on the foreshore of Leslie Dam three decades ago.

Roche, the club commodore, said he had six phone calls following an article in the Daily News last week.

"Ten to 12 members would be great," he said.

While Warren reckons a 25-knot wind is ideal for sailing, a light breeze, as on Sunday morning, is ideal for learners. The club plans social days on the first Sunday each month with all boats in the water by 10am.

"We will go out for three to four hours," Roche said.

The club has one sailing boat and hopes to buy three club junior boats to encourage families to join.

Inquiries to Roche on 4661 4028.



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