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Manly 16s Short-Course Pointscore Heat 19 & 20

by Adam Lucius 14 Mar 2023 00:05 PDT 11 March 2023
Manly 16s Short-Course Poiintscore Heat 19 & 20 - SailRacing © Manly Skiffs & SailMedia

SailRacing produced a performance to match the occasion last Saturday, peeling off consecutive short course victories to celebrate 10 years in the Manly 16ft Skiff Club fleet.

Skipper Felix Grech and crew Tom Potter and Paul Darmanin joined the class as teenagers and are still there pumping out the wins as one of the most improved boats at the club. Sail Racing again showed its composure under pressure, claiming back-to-back races to climb several places on the pointscore standings.

In a pleasant 12-16 knot northerly for the day's first race, Sail Racing was second to the top and bottom mark before pulling away for a 80-second win over Sutech Building Consultants (Sara Lee), Red Pumps (Bruce Savage) and Fluid Building (Clint Bowen).

The follow-up race proved a touch more comfortable after early leader Chubbs (Jesse Dransfield) fell away and were caught on the second upwind leg. Sail Racing took no risks from there, seeing off series leader Moonen Yachts (Daniel Turner), Cunninghams (Nick Connor) and Botany Access (Chris Thomas). The double victory comes almost a decade to the day the Sail Racing crew joined the 16s as eager-to-learn 18-year-olds.

"(Former club commodore) Hugh Cooke lent us a boat to do the Drummoyne nationals and we were hooked from there on," Grech recalled. "We bought an old skiff and pretty much rebuilt it with the help of our old sponsor Chris Koreman.

"It's been great being part of it for the past 10 years. We were pretty much the only youth crew back then, so it's been amazing to watch the fleet grow and see other young guys and girls come through the class."

Now Grech, Potter and Darmanin want to throw a stick in the spoke of the club championship contenders when the final heat gets under way on Saturday. Moonen Yachts and Typhoon (Nathan Wilmot) are locked in a titanic battle for top honours, with just one point separating them on the overall tally. Adding further intrigue and spice, Typhoon and Moonen went head-to-head in a protest hearing after a collision in the last club championship heat, with the committee ruling in Wilmot's favour.

Typhoon is the reigning Australian 16ft champion while Moonen is desperate to finish with the season's last piece of major silverware.

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