The Northern Beaches’ beloved Manly Skiff Club is celebrating a milestone 100 years since it began, having survived the Depression, World War 2 and a devastating storm.

The beautiful Manly Skiff Club, located in arguably one of the best locations in Sydney, offers waters-edge dining, two bars, a harbourside function space, and sailing for all ages and abilities.

Founded in 1922 by a group of local sailors, Manly Skiff Club has played an important role in the local community over the last century. “The boats and the people may have changed through the years,” say the Club, “but we are as passionate as ever about our racing, supporting our local community and providing a memorable dining experience to our guests.”


According the Club’s history, it “traces its beginnings to the 1921/22 sailing season when a number of members of the Delwood Canoe Club decided to band together and conducted sailing races on Sunday afternoons. The Club was actually formed at a meeting held on Friday 23 February 1923 and was to be known as the Manly Sailing Club.”

Since then, it managed to survive the Great Depression in 1931 “the fleet had fallen to three boats, however, a small group of members managed to keep the Club viable.” Then, World War Two in 1939 when the “fleet and membership again decreased, with over 50% of the Club’s members serving in the Armed Forces.”


By 1952, the Club only raced 16ft skiffs, so that’s when 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.

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).

Image: The devastating storm of 1974 via Northern Beaches Council

Much of the repair work to our building was carried out on a voluntary basis during the off-season by club members.”

Between then and now the Club has gone from strength to strength to become a cornerstone of the Northern Beaches community.

The “Skiffies” fraternity now offers a range of racing programs designed to fully support sailors in their desire to experience fun, action-packed racing in a competitive environment. These include:

  • 16’FT skiffs – a uniquely Australian high performance three-person dinghy
  • 13’FT skiffs – designed as an intermediate skiff to provide a reasonably priced stepping stone between the junior classes and the 16’FT skiff
  • Flying eleven – for ages 12 to 16 years
  • Junior division – for ages 8 to 13 years

Of course, Manly Skiff Club is more than just a sailing club. The bistro is a great place to socialise over seafood and cocktails, and make the most of weeknight specials including $17 steaks on Mondays, $14 parmis on Tuesdays and $10 burgers on Thursdays.

The Club also hosts a range of social events for members, including trivia nights, live music, themed parties and Friday night raffles, which are supported by The Manly Skiff Social Golf Club. And then there’s also that incredible view!


Congratulations to the Manly Skiff Club on their 100th birthday!




Address: Cnr East Esplanade & Stuart Street, Manly 2095



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