by Adam Lucius
The 2012/13 Australian 16ft Skiff Championships have become a race in two after Brydens Compensation Lawyers and Hubble Chemicals put healthy gaps on their rivals following dominant performances on Wednesday.
Hubble wins Heat 3 in 16ft Skiff National Australian Championships at Manly Wed 16 Jan 2013.
Olympic gold medal winner Nathan Wilmot steered Hubble to a comfortable win in the morning's rescheduled heat three, with Brydens (Lee Knapton) placing second.
In the afternoon's fourth heat, the positions were reversed as Manly's Knapton claimed a narrow win over Wilmot.
Brydens has a stranglehold on the overall lead after recording finishes of 1-1-2-1, but Hubble is not about to go away after pinching a win and two seconds.
With drops taken into consideration, Brydens (3pts) leads Hubble (5) with Fluid Building Services (Clint Bowen) third on 13.
'Hopefully our run continues but we're not relaxing with three heats to go,' Knapton said minutes after claiming victory in heat four.
'Hubble's right on our hammer and they won't give up. They're not about to back off 'It always goes down to the last heat in the nationals and that's what we're expecting.'
Wilmot, chasing his first national 16ft crown, is happy to play the role of pursuer. He said: 'Brydens are sailing brilliantly but we're still a chance. 'Today is something we can build on. We'll keep doing what we're doing and keep the pressure on Knapo.'
'If we're in there with a chance going into the last heat then that's great.'
Hubble led all the way to claim heat three in a light easterly but any hope of a double victory flew out the window with a poor start in the fourth heat.
'It was the reverse situation from the previous race,' Wilmot reported. 'The first race was good. We got a good start and built our lead and were pretty careful.'
'We made a terrible start to heat four and were a long way back and we had to chip away.
'I said to the boys 'a top five finish here is going to be a really good' and then we started working our way through.
'Halfway down last run Brydens got one little gust and we couldn't catch them.'
The championships continue on Thursday with heat five and run through until Saturday.