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2021-22 Red Pumps 16ft Skiff nationals decided as three-boat battle fades with breeze

by Mark Rothfield 8 Jan 2022 19:44 PST 1-8 January 2022

A regatta like this deserved an exciting climax, not an 'anti' one, yet the wind gods could blow no more yesterday after giving their all during the 2022 Red Pumps 13ft and 16ft Skiff Australian Championships held by Belmont 16s on Lake Macquarie.

Thus, the final race was abandoned midstream and the overnight scores carried, leaving the Ronstan crew of Nathan Wilmot, Malcolm Page and Brett Davis as worthy national champions.

The script had been written for a three-way battle with IMEI and Moonen Yachts, but you simply can't race without wind. The fleet did get a start in, under black flag, but the breeze swung 50 degrees and the top mark was pulled on the first work. The time limit then expired.

"I've done a lot of nationals and to finally win one, and to win it with Mal and Bretto is fantastic," a relieved Wilmot said. "At the top mark the three of us were probably going to be two, three and four anyway. In the end there was no wind - an unfortunate way to win it but nice to finally get it out of the way."

Wilmot borrowed the skiff, formerly Growthbuilt, from his cousin then went to see sailmaker Robert 'Baz' Atkins at Truflo Sails.

"We asked Baz what sails need to be replaced and he said, 'all of them'. That was a week before Christmas so he spent the whole time making us new sails. Even last night, he went back to Sydney to rebuild our ripped spinnaker in case we needed it.

"He got us there and got us a national championship with it."

Davis, a Belmont local, last had his hands on the silverware in 2002-03 when he won with Greg Searant and Stephen Newell.

"I honestly never expected to win another. I'm so grateful these guys asked me to come and sail. I actually spoke to Nathan about 12 months ago and he said I'd have to be under 100 kilos - that was a fair challenge," Davis said.

In the end, he tipped the scales at 95kg.

"Today, I'm down 20 kilos since I started losing weight. It's the lightest I've been for 15 years and I feel really good. It's just awesome right now, crazy."

Ronstan rued a torn spinnaker in Race 8 but can look back and thank NFPG, which capsized a boat length from the line while leading in Race 4. The fortuitous point they gained proved critical in the wash-up.

IMEI began the week with a 12th after skipper David Gilmour's hiking strap broke and he fell overboard. They then posted an 11th in Race 3 but came home with a wet sail to claim second place. There was also some good news for the crew yesterday, with regular skipper Doc (Dave O'Connor) announcing the birth of his baby. They just couldn't bring home the title.

"A north-easterly was meant to come through but a westerly seemed to be fighting it," Gilmour explained. "We got about halfway to the top mark and the wind started to shift, then it completely died.

"We were lifting to the mark with a bit more breeze than the rest of the fleet. We were looking pretty (but) it was within the race committee's rights to abandon the race.

"We're happy with second. Would've been nice to make a few less mistakes but the Ronstan guys sailed a very consistent event and deserved the win."

Third-placed Moonen Yachts skipper Daniel Turner needed some variables on the race track but not what eventuated.

"We would've paid good money to see the race roll out. Ronstan was on our hip and we felt like we were gaining on them. So it was looking good for us and IMEI," he said. "Unfortunately, the longer you stay in the fleet, the more a podium feels like you just didn't get there but we can't take it too hard."

Bryden's Lawyers held on for 4th and Fluid finished 5th, the star crew of Nathan Outteridge, Tom Slingsby and Iain Jensen having fun doing so. They hit speeds of 25 knots in the skiff - half that of what they're used to on the SailGP foilers.

"We had the pumping nor'easters that Belmont often provides and I'm happy to be racing back on Lake Macquarie - it has been a long time," Outteridge said. "We felt like we left some points on the table but I also think we jagged a couple.

"On the way here, Tom was already talking about how we can compete in the upcoming Sprint series. It was a pleasure to sail in the fleet and we look forward to coming back."

Otherwise, the next time Outteridge and Slingsby see each other, they'll be facing off for the SailGP final in San Francisco USA in March, wearing the rival helmets of Japan and Australia.

"Looking forward to SailGP," Outteridge adds. "It will be nice to be foiling again and sailing around the track a little bit faster and a little bit drier."

Handicap winner was XXXX Gold (Neale Jones, Luke Dunne, Mike Ovenstone) from Belmont clubmate Domino's.

The youth title went to the Lancelin team of Brendan Crisp, Fynn Sprott and Tom Cunich. "We're new to it, so pretty happy to be out here with everyone, not just the youth sailors. To mix it with guys who've done heaps in the sailing world is such a great thing to do," Crisp said.

Georgia Steenson, steering Bella Group with Michael Hochguertel and Rory Murtagh, claimed the female sailors' award from Capital Brewing's Jessica Iles and Marilyn Sorensen on Shead. "It's a good competition between the female skippers and we've done pretty well overall," Steenson said. "I moved up from Flying 11s so the boat is a very different to what I'm used to, but really fun."

Manly sailors Max Downey and Thomas Mountstephens were crowned 13ft Skiff champions after posting seven wins from as many starts aboard Cheeky. It wasn't always as easy as that score suggests.

"We had our most drama on the first day, with a few breakages," Downey, 17, said. "We capsized after crashing into a 16 that my brother sails (Fireball) and we broke the trap elastics. Then, on the last upwind, the jib shackle let go so we sailed half of it with no jib and crossed 12 seconds in front. Pretty lucky.

"Next season I'm looking to steer a 16, so if anyone has one they want me to steer, let me know... otherwise I'll buy a boat."

The national championships were supported by series sponsor Red Pumps and race sponsors Inspectrite, NHS, Skelcon, Piper, Allen, Vaikobi, Bryon Bay Brewing, East Coast Marine, Contender Sailcloth and Domino's.

Next on the 16s' calendar is the 2022 Australian Sprint Championships, also to be hosted by Belmont, on February 5.

16ft Skiff Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSkipperCrewCrewFromR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1RonstanNathan WilmotBrett DavisMalcolm PageMan2[4]424[5]3217
2IMEIDavid GilmourTrent BarnabasRob NapperMan[12]3[11]6134118
3Moonen YachtsDaniel TurnerAngus WilliamsMatt StentaMan156[8][11]11519
4Brydens LawyersLee KnaptonPeter MackieRicky BridgeStG72[12]4247[11]26
5Fluid BuildingNathan OutteridgeTom SlingsbyIain JensonMan5[11]175[17]6327
6Insight Building SerRod CarterAdam GilsonAndrew StoneBel4[16]31142[24]428
7Domino'sMichael QuirkDallas DawsonThomas StensonBel61210[15][13]12738
8Contender SailclothWill HowardRichard HowardCorey HamiltonBel[10]6[14]9672939
9Sail RacingFelix GrechPaul DarmaninTom PotterMan[11]97[15]965642
10Newcastle FinancialBen BrunigesJustin SharrockDave HickeyBel87[18]5[47O]108846
11East Coast Marine &Tom DawsonJamie WoodsJoel CastleBel[16]85143[15]111051
12SKE ElectricalScott BabbageScott BeebyJoel SkeltonBel3128318[47S][47C]1357
13Money LinksAdam PiperTroy DobinsonMark WillisBel[23]1315137129[18]69
14LancelinBrendan CrispFynn SprottTom CunichMan[29]1013118[22]192182
15Red Pumps RedGerard SmithKeagan YorkKirk MitchellMan141710[19]171410[19]82
16Eric's StorageHarry LawsonNathan EdwardsAlex LeslieMH19[47F]16121311[47C]1586
17Knighton GroupTom BurtonMax PaulSimon HoffmanBel13[24][25]21199141490
18Red PumpsBruce SavageGreg WindustJay HarrisMan151819[25][28]8161692
19ToogaraJosh TaskerSam MonkhouseFinn RodowiczStG1814171810[27]15[20]92
20JamescoBen BradleyJames TurnerAlex MarinelliStG1715[23]161616[47F]1292
21Sutech Building ConsMichael KoernerJosh PontonJames Lawira‑FernandMan20199[28]122118[47C]99
22Pepsi MaxRoss StutchburyBen PilleyShane BurkeBel[26]202017[26]191324113
23NHS Building SupplieMatt CrockettRobert FlanaganGlen DawsonBel2125[27][47F]20202117124
24Tooheys Extra DryMatthew MeaneyHugo HamiltonFelix PrinceBel22212420[29][28]1723127
25VaikobiFelix DaverioMichael ChildsJames SleeMan27[28]2122232420[47C]137
26Bella GroupGeorgia SteensonMichael HochguertelRory MurtaghBel24[27][32]2725252227150
27CMG Property MaintenMichael VincentCameron WalkerTaylor HodgkinsonMH3122[33]2324[47C]2626152
28Capital Brewing CoJessica IlesAndrew IlesRiley PikeMan282622[47F]3526[47F]22159
29EdendaWill BeckAndrew StephensonPeter McLeodDrum30[32]312427[47F]2328163
30XXXX GoldNeale JonesLuke DunneMike OvenstoneBel32[33]28263318[47F]29166
31SheadMarilyn SorensenSteve StentaMichael JenkinsMH[47F]3126[35]32232531168
32SchweppesBailey JamesJamie DobinsonRob JamesBel2530393134[47C][47C]25184
33ADCO ConstructionsLachlan SteelBen KirkbyJerome WattsStG3329292921[47C][47C]47C188
34KonamiBethany SherryJason ThompsonShane SlatteryBel[47F]23303022[47S]47C47S199
35FireballJames DowneyJames PinningtonSam SkeenMan3439373238[47C][47C]30210
36Employment HeroAndrew DivolaAlastair HunterGeorge ThompsonMan3537343736[47C][47C]32211
37AristocratKimberly BakerJackson BakerJon SearlesBel37343533[47F][47F]47C34220
38PTHayden HansenNathan GuliksenMark MurrayGos[47F]38383431[47C]47C35223
39KammakazieRichard WilliamsPhil JenkinsIan WoodMH363536[47F][47C]47F47C33234
40One Too ManyStephen ChapmanPaul HarrisonGreg SteensonBel[47F]36403630[47C]47C47C236
41CunninghamsNick ConnorZac BarnabasDaniel NugentMan9[47C][47C]47C47C47C47C47C244
42White TigerMichael CarterCraig DoranDavid RusselMan3840413939[47S][47C]47C244
43WeathertexJess RiversWill RiversRyan WattGos[47F]41[47O]403747C47C47F259
44Inspectrite AustraliBeynon TelfordJosh HenshawWilliam HorinBel[47F][47F]42384047C47C47C261
45Iron JackGriffin SutersGeoff AkhurstSophia UgarteBel[47S][47F]47C47F47F47C47C36271
46Brian Hilton Motor GBrent ConnorSam GrikLincoln SeniorGos[47C][47C]47C47C47C47C47C47C282

13ft Skiff Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameSkipperCrewFromR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
140CheekyMax DowneyThomas MountstephensMan[1]1111116
29#9Angus StewartHugo KempHKSC222222[6]12
335EbixLiam KarunaratneJames HopkinsMan333433[5]19
439Bigfoot Bags and CovPeter RoweHugh SkeenGos[9F]46346326
537DutchessAmy BentleyBethan KarunaratneMan454555[7]28
644AWOLAndrew de MontfortJake BentleyMan[9F]65667434
722Plonk CafeAvril RichardsonPeggy StanburyMH[9F]9F9F9F9C9F247
818Eric's RemovalsAmy HargraveJamie HargraveMH[9C]9C9C9C9C4848

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

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