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2021-22 Red Pumps 16ft Skiff Australian Championships in Belmont Bay - Day 3

by Mark Rothfield 4 Jan 06:12 PST 1-8 January 2022

Sou'east breezes that fluctuate markedly in strength and direction, while whipping up a chop, have been known to separate the men from the boys on Lake Macquarie, and that's pretty much the case at the halfway turning mark of the 21-22 Red Pumps 16ft Skiff Australian Championships.

Today, at least, it separated the seasoned campaigners from their younger challengers following Races 4 and 5. The yellow jerseys have been handed to Nathan Wilmot, Brett Davis and Malcolm Page on the borrowed skiff Ronstan, while the venerable Lee Knapton, piloting Bryden's Lawyers, sits handily in second place.

Clean starts are critical in a fleet of this calibre, with the first beat largely setting the script for the race, which is where wise heads usually prevail. Ronstan is yet to win a race but is consistently in the top four. Bryden's has also largely flown under the radar, dropping a 12th placing in Race 3 to sit three points adrift.

Lurking in 3rd overall is the Olympic/SailGP crew on Fluid, and overnight leader Domino's dropped back to 4th.

In Race 4 it was Ronstan first at the top mark from Lancelin and IMEI, with SKE Electrical and Fluid in the mix. Belmont boats NFPG and Insight then seized a right-hand shift to be first and second at the next mark. With Ronstan breathing down their neck as well, NFPG capsized just a few boat lengths from the finish.

It was painful to watch, let alone be part of, and it opened the door for a narrow win by Insight.

"Heartbreaking really," said NFPG skipper Ben Bruniges. "We just had to stay in front on the run to the finish but we didn't pull off the last gybe because I fell over and that was the end of it.

"Still, we have a layday tomorrow and we'll come back refreshed for the rest of the series."

Race 5 saw a two-boat battle between IMEI and Brydens at the front, while Belmont's East Coast Marine flew home for third.

Australian Sailing team member David Gilmour is helming IMEI with the highly experienced Trent Barnabas and Rob Napper. Gilmour knows Belmont Bay well from his 49er training days but is still coming to grips with the 16ft skiff.

"It was pretty fun racing today," he said. "There were around 10 boats that were pushing for the front of the fleet. I'm not totally comfortable in the boat yet so there's a few mistakes on my end, but I'm enjoying it a lot."

Wilmot says the key for the Ronstan crew is keeping everything simple and consistent.

"This was only our sixth race sailing together as a team so whatever happens, happens. I think we're also winning the Masters, so that's always a good thing for us old blokes," he joked.

"It's great having the team back together too. My cousin gave us his boat for the regatta and it has worked out well. Malcolm knows when to tell me to shut up and Brett is just as solid as a rock.

"There's a lot that can happen yet, with big breezes to come, but I love sailing these boats in those conditions."

Knapton is remaining cagey about his chances of securing another national title in a class he's competed in since 1997.

"It's early days but we're just laying low and hopefully can come in at the end and give it a good shot," he said. "The boat's good, it's just us old fellas trying to get it around.

"We're trying to stay top 10 but it's hard to do that consistently in this regatta. We're just going out to have fun - if we get a result, it's a bonus."

In the award for female skippers, Bethany Sherry on Konami is tied with Georgia Steenson aboard Bella Group, just ahead of Jessica Iles on Capital Brewing. The 13ft Skiff Cheeky, sailed by Max Downey and Thomas Mountstephens, is yet to be beaten in the national titles, while Angus Stewart and Hugo Kemp aboard #9, were again runners-up in both races.

Racing resumes on Thursday, January 7.

Results after Day 3:

PosBoat NameSkipperCrewCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1RonstanNathan WilmotBrett DavisMalcolm PageMan2[4]42412
2Brydens LawyersLee KnaptonPeter MackieRicky BridgeStG72[12]4215
3Fluid BuildingNathan OutteridgeTom SlingsbyIain JensonMan5[11]17518
4Domino'sMichael QuirkDallas DawsonThomas StensonBel61210[15]19
5Moonen YachtsDaniel TurnerAngus WilliamsMatt StentaMan1568[11]20
6IMEIDavid GilmourTrent BarnabasRob NapperMan[12]3116121
7Insight Building SerRod CarterAdam GilsonAndrew StoneBel4[16]311422
8SKE ElectricalScott BabbageScott BeebyJoel SkeltonBel31283[18]26
9East Coast Marine &Tom DawsonJamie WoodsJoel CastleBel[16]8514330
10Contender SailclothWill HowardRichard HowardCorey HamiltonBel106[14]9631
11Sail RacingFelix GrechPaul DarmaninTom PotterMan1197[15]936
12Newcastle FinancialBen BrunigesJustin SharrockDave HickeyBel87185[47O]38
13LancelinBrendan CrispFynn SprottTom CunichMan[29]101311842
14Money LinksAdam PiperTroy DobinsonMark WillisBel[23]131513748
15Red Pumps RedGerard SmithKeagan YorkKirk MitchellMan141710[19]1758
16ToogaraJosh TaskerSam MonkhouseFinn RodowiczStG[18]1417181059
17Sutech Building ConsMichael KoernerJosh PontonJames Lawira‑FernandMan20199[28]1260
18Eric's StorageHarry LawsonNathan EdwardsAlex LeslieMH19[47F]16121360
19JamescoBen BradleyJames TurnerAlex MarinelliStG1715[23]161664
20Knighton GroupJake LiddellMax PaulSimon HoffmanBel1324[25]211977
21Red PumpsBruce SavageGreg WindustJay HarrisMan15181925[28]77
22Pepsi MaxRoss StutchburyBen PilleyShane BurkeBel[26]2020172683
23Tooheys Extra DryMatthew MeaneyHugo HamiltonFelix PrinceBel22212420[29]87
24NHS Building SupplieMatt CrockettRobert FlanaganGlen DawsonBel212527[47F]2093
25VaikobiFelix DaverioMichael ChildsJames SleeMan27[28]21222393
26CMG Property MaintenMichael VincentCameron WalkerTaylor HodgkinsonMH3122[33]2324100
27Bella GroupGeorgia SteensonMichael HochguertelRory MurtaghBel2427[32]2725103
28KonamiBethany SherryJason ThompsonShane SlatteryBel[47F]23303022105
29ADCO ConstructionsLachlan SteelBen KirkbyJerome WattsStG[33]29292921108
30Capital Brewing CoJessica IlesAndrew IlesRiley PikeMan282622[47F]35111
31EdendaWill BeckAndrew StephensonPeter McLeodDrum30[32]312427112
32XXXX GoldNeale JonesLuke DunneMike OvenstoneBel32[33]282633119
33SchweppesBailey JamesJamie DobinsonRob JamesBel2530[39]3134120
34SheadMarilyn SorensenSteve StentaMichael JenkinsMH[47F]31263532124
35AristocratKimberly BakerJackson BakerJon SearlesBel37343533[47F]139
36PTHayden HansenNathan GuliksenMark MurrayGos[47F]38383431141
37FireballJames DowneyJames PinningtonSam SkeenMan34[39]373238141
38One Too ManyStephen ChapmanPaul HarrisonGreg SteensonBel[47F]36403630142
39Employment HeroAndrew DivolaAlastair HunterGeorge ThompsonMan35[37]343736142
40CunninghamsNick ConnorZac BarnabasDaniel NugentMan9[47C]47C47C47C150
41KammakazieRichard WilliamsPhil JenkinsIan WoodMH363536[47F]47C154
42White TigerMichael CarterCraig DoranDavid RusselMan3840[41]3939156
43WeathertexJess RiversWill RiversRyan WattGos[47F]4147O4037165
44Inspectrite AustraliDavid TaylorJosh HenshawWilliam HorinBel[47F]47F423840167
45Iron JackGriffin SutersGeoff AkhurstSophia UgarteBel[47S]47F47C47F47F188
45Brian Hilton Motor GBrent ConnorSam GrikLincoln SeniorGos[47C]47C47C47C47C188

See full results here. More information on the event website.

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