The Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club is situated on the foreshore of Manly Cove in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. With its harbour-side location, members and guests enjoy spectacular views westward over Manly Cove.

Apart from the sailing activities, the Club is a hub of Manly’s social scene for the local community and tourists alike.

Whilst enjoying full patronage in the peak season (summer), numbers dwindled over the cooler months.

The outdoor deck was not large enough to cater sufficiently for the number of guests, and being separated from the internal bar, the flow of movement for patrons and staff was restricted. The aluminium louvered system that covered the deck had rusted and fallen into disrepair. With the roof’s low and flat profile, the outdoor area seemed closed-in and the architecture not in-keeping with the historic site.

In 2011 the Board decided it was time to upgrade the facility.

Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club Secretary Manager, Matt Hazel, said they wanted to extend the area to make it more open and functional.

“We wanted to create an outdoor area that could be successfully used all year round and that maximised the beauty of our location,” said Matt.

Director of Aalta Australia, Richard Goodearl has been a member and frequent patron of the Club for some years and on hearing about the Club’s proposed redevelopment approached Matt regarding some concept designs for the outdoor area.

“The louvre roofs could never be fully opened so you were always sitting under a cage-like structure, and they leaked, making it unpleasant to be there during rainy days,” said Richard.

 “My concept was based on utilising the historic existing structure with a retractable roof that was sympathetic to the architecture of the building,” he said.

Richard prepared conceptual drawings which were submitted for the consideration of the Board. This included pitched gabled roofs that continued the lines of the existing gable roof structure. The new systems were to be retractable and motorised, enabling the Club to maintain its outdoor feel in all weather and for guests to take in the exceptional view.

Secretary Manager, Matt Hazel said, “The concept evolved over time and ended up somewhat different to what was initially suggested but Richard was with us every step of the way.”

Fluid Building Services and Sutech were contracted as builders and project managers respectively. Working closely with Aalta and the Board, the final proposal was lodged into Manly Council in 2012 and included:

  • Retractable roofs covering 110sqm comprising of eight motorised systems individually operated. Each roof is approximately 13.75sqm with separate remote controls allowing for individual operation and customisation of light control for morning and afternoon sun.
  • The steel frame which the roof systems are supported by was engineered to withstand the high winds common to harbour side areas
  • The material on the roof structures is a flame retardant, antifungal treated, UV stabilised, water proof PVC, meeting with council regulations for public areas
  • Lighting, heating and external glazing were incorporated to provide comfort and ambience to the patron
  • Internally the wall separating the outdoor area and the bar was removed. The bar, kitchen, bathrooms and dining area were redeveloped, and the entire Club was refurbished.

The end result is a spectacular bar and dining area where patrons can enjoy the outdoors and experience the beauty of the location in all weather conditions.

“The finished project is unbelievable,” said Matt, “The retractable roof allows us to take advantage of different times of the day and all weather conditions to maximise the enjoyment of the space for our members and customers. It’s great to be able to have the roof open once the sun starts going down and well into the evening allowing people to literally dine by the water under the stars. Our quietest months are now as busy as what our busiest months used to be. We should have done it years ago!”