Australian 16ft Skiff Championships - Brydens takes upper-hand

Brydens has won the opening two races of the Australian 16ft Skiff Champs at Manly
Joe Murphy
The Australian 16ft Skiff Championships saw another victory from Lee Knapton, but this time he did it from behind as he steered Brydens Compensations Lawyers past Hubble Chemicals for a 14-second win to stay perfect after two races at Manly.

Hubble, skippered by Olympic gold medal winner Nathan Wilmot, opened up a two and a half minute lead after the first lap and was doing it easily.

But with frequent rain squalls hitting Sydney Harbour and the wind proving extremely tricky, conditions started to play into Knapton's hands as he began clawing back the lead.

On the final run the Manly skipper made his move and powered past a stunned Hubble for a 14-second win.

It left Brydens with an unblemished record after two races - two wins from two starts.

'I thought he (Wilmot) may have gone through and cleaned up,' Knapton said. 'We just had to hang in there and chip away with each work, overtaking one or two boats at a time. I could see Nathan looking back at us and once the head turned I thought we were in with a chance.'

Wilmot was philosophical about the result, admitting he was powerless to halt Brydens' late onslaught.

'The last run he was going so quickly. We held him up the beat but they sailed such a great race and are sailing the boat so well,' he said.

'There wasn't much we could do about it. They were hard to hold off.

'When the wind got a bit fresher down on that last run they had the manpower to get past us. They sailed a brilliant race and came from a long way back.'

Despite his perfect start to the regatta, Knapton is taking nothing for granted as he zeroes in on a fifth national crown.

'It's a good fleet so we're not about to relax for a minute. he said. 'There's a long way to go but we've got to be happy with two wins from two heats.'

The consistent ATB Morton (Danny Anderson) from Belmont followed up a first day fourth with a third in the second race with clubmate AB Window Fashions (Ben Bruniges) fourth.

Giro Constructions (Richard Williams) was first on handicap followed by Sydney Fast Ferries (Steve McIntyre) and CHPS (Evan Darmanin).
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