One of the crews likely to be among the top contenders for the major 18ft Skiff championships on Sydney Harbour this season are champion sailors from the 16 Footer ranks.
Fire Stopping 16ft Skiff -1
With the backing of MOJO WINE, 24-year-old James Dorron will skipper the skiff with Ricky Bridges and Mike McKensey adding to a powerful combination of ability and experience.
While it will be the first season in the 18s for James and Ricky, Mike has already had two seasons in the skiff and recorded excellent fourth placings in each of the 2011 and 2012 Giltinan Championships.
James Dorron is a two-time winner of the Australian 16 Footer Championship as well as winner of the NSW Championship in the 16s.
In 2008, as a 19-year-old, he became the youngest skipper to win an Australian 16 Footer Championship when he scored the first of his two victories in Fire Stopping. He successfully defended his national title in 2009 and also won the 2010 NSW Championships before taking a year off from sailing.
James recently got a Moth and sailed his first Moth Worlds at Lake Garda (August 2012) in which he finished 12th in the Gold fleet.
Previously, he was an Australian and NSW Flying 11 champion in 2004-2005.
'I’ve been looking at the 18s for a while now, so I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to sail the Mojo', Dorron said.
'I’m looking forward to the new challenge an 18ft Skiff brings and I think we have the crew and the boat capable of mixing it with the top players'.
'I’m also looking forward to sailing against some old rivals from junior classes'.
Ricky Bridges teamed with Lee Knapton and Peter Mackie to win the 2010-2011 Australian 16 Footer Championship and has filled in on occasions in the 18s. He was also VJ Junior Australian champion in 1993-1994.
'I’ve always had aspirations to be part of a competitive 18 footer campaign', Bridges said.
'I’m looking forward to this year’s season as I know quite a few of the guys sailing the 18 footers, and they are a great bunch of blokes'.
'We have put a lot of work into preparing the boat during the off season and are hopeful that Team Mojo will be a contender in the 2013 JJ Giltinan'.
Mike McKensey’s two seasons in the skiff will be invaluable to the team as it strives for top placings in the major titles.
Mike sailed with Matt Searle and Archie Massey (as Red Claw) to finish fourth at the 2011 Giltinan then teamed with Archie Massey and Dan Wilsdon (Mojo Wine) to finish fourth again in the 2012 Giltinan.
'Following last year’s result in the JJ, we’ve made further improvements to the boat with a new deck and a couple of new sails', McKensey said.
'I’m looking forward to the new team quickly finding its feet and starting the season where we finished the JJ last year'.
'With the new format of the 3-Buoys Challenge there is plenty of incentive to have the boat and team sorted early in the season'.