Please select your home edition
Edition
Crewsaver 2021 Safetyline LEADERBOARD

Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships at Port Stephens NSW - Day 4

by Mark Rothfield 9 Jan 2020 13:37 GMT 4-11 January 2020
River Wild seeking a startline gap - Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships, day 4 © Mark Rothfield

A surprise 'daily double' by Newcastle Financial Planning Group (NFPG) has put the wind up the leading contenders in the 2020 Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships at Port Stephens, on a day where pressure was high but the breeze otherwise light and languid.

The flawless performance by the Belmont 16s crew of Ben Bruniges, Dave Hickey and Justin Sharrock was starkly contrasted by sweeping inconsistency among the remaining skiffs. In fact, with two drops allowed under the new nine-race point score, most boats have now had their quota.

Only two races remain, and the forecast for tomorrow and Saturday is for far stronger conditions that will make boat-handling mistakes even more costly.

Race 6 started under the threat of black-flag disqualification, following two general recalls. There was chaos at the pin end and carnage at the marks, with overnight leaders Sutech Musto Racing, Koreman Marine Composites (KMC) and Brydens Lawyers all caught up.

At one stage a 13ft skiff tangled spectacularly with a 16ft skiff under kite, while another took split-second evasive action - fortunately no damage was done.

NFPG avoided the mayhem to virtually sail their own race. They were pursued by clubmate Emptyjets (Rob Flanagan) who was having one of his better days until pipped at the post by Nathan Wilmot's Imei. Sutech Building Consultants snuck into fourth, ahead of Growthbuilt and the fast-finishing Toohey's Extra Dry.

Race 7 also saw a general recall before getting away cleanly. Imei somehow found room at the boat end and headed right, with Sutech Musto covering, but this time the left shoreline paid dividends. NFPG had again read it correctly and battled to the finish with Growthbuilt (Ryan Wilmot).

Felix Grech on KMC showed his class by posting a crucial third place, while Eric's Storage capped off a strong day with a fourth placing.

Ben Bruniges couldn't conceal his delight nor disbelief with the day's outcome, against such a strong field.

"The boat's got it in it, the crew's got it in it, but if you'd asked me today whether we'd get two wins I'm not so sure," he said. "We generally like the fresher conditions [so] it's a good feeling.

"In the first race, about 30 seconds before the start, we saw a shift on the right side of the course. We were mid-line, and luckily could peel out to the right. Then once you get the lead it becomes a lot easier to get around the course.

"In the second race we started towards the pin because there was better pressure to the left, and again we nailed the lay line. The guys sailed exceptionally today, we held our nerve and got the results."

Sutech Musto scored a 19th and 11th, never quite clicking into gear.

"That's about as tough as it gets," skipper Daniel Turner lamented, post-race. "At times it looked like we were on the right part of the course but then 20 boats would go around the outside of us.

"Pretty painful, but I said at the start of the week that everyone would have their bad days. This was ours, but the forecast is looking much more positive for tomorrow."

Any thoughts of a late charge by pre-regatta favourites Imea were also snuffed out by an uncharacteristic 15th in Race 7.

"It's pretty tough to be consistent in those conditions," skipper Wilmot said. "Ben Bruniges did it well but otherwise it was very up-and-down. In the second race we got it very wrong.

"It was nice to get 2nd in the earlier race and pass a few boats but it's too little too late. We'll still battle away though over the final two races; hopefully get a good blow, put the little rig in, and see how we go."

With one drop factored in after races 6 and 7, KMC sheds its 15th to take the lead on 25 points. Sutech Musto and Brydens are locked on 32 while Tooheys Extra Dry and NFPG sit on 33 points.

In the 13ft Skiff series, Harry Parker's AWOL enjoyed a 1-second victory over James Downey in Bigfoot in race 6, however Downey made amends in race 7 to lead home Ebix (Nathan Lilley) and Bruce (Will Divola)

Racing resumes at 2.55pm tomorrow, with ex-skiffies warmly invited to watch the racing from the Port Stephens Sailing and Aquatic Club veranda while reminiscing about the old days.

Details at nationals.skiffs.org.au, results at skiffs.org.au/results

Related Articles

Belmont's 16-Foot skiff season off to a flyer
They've been champing at the bit like Melbourne Cup favourites They've been champing at the bit like Melbourne Cup favourites, and finally a 25-strong fleet of 16-Foot skiffs has been unleashed in spectacular style at Belmont 16s on Lake Macquarie NSW. Posted on 16 Nov
13 and 16 Foot Skiff Titles at Gosford
Many of Australia's greatest sailors race over the Easter long weekend Many of Australia's greatest sailors, both present and past converged on the Gosford Sailing Club over the Easter long weekend for the Red Pumps 13' and 16' Skiff Australian Nationals and the stars were shining bright over the 4 days of competition. Posted on 7 Apr
16' Skiff Nationals return to Gosford
Sailing historians will remember the GSC's link to 16's which dates back to club's very beginnings The Gosford Sailing Club is proud to be hosting the Red Pumps 2021 16' skiff National titles for the first time since 1982. After a Covid forced postponement, the Nats are set to take place on Brisbane Water. Posted on 28 Mar
Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Champ postponed
Now set to take place at Easter from Gosford Sailing Club After careful consideration Gosford Sailing Club (GSC) and the Australian 16ft Skiff Association (ASSA) have, this evening, made the tough decision to postpone the 'Red Pumps' Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships until Easter 2021. Posted on 22 Dec 2020
Manly 16ft Skiff Short Course Pointscore races 5,6
Brutal day on the water as wind gusts hit the 30 knot mark Winning a state title would be cause for celebration among most 16ft Skiff crews, but the men aboard IMEI are a different breed. Posted on 10 Nov 2020
Manly 16ft Skiff Clubs Championship day 1
Ben Bianco wins his first race as a full-time skipper Ben Bianco picked up where he left off to win his first race as a fulltime skipper in six years as Manly's 16ft Skiff's season continued with the opening club championship heat of 2020/21 on Saturday. Posted on 19 Oct 2020
16ft skiff photos turn the clock back to 1971
Extreme conditions and capsizes during Manly Regatta, Sydney The skiff 'Swanbourne' was competing in the annual Manly 16ft Skiff Club Regatta, on 3 October 1971, traditionally held over the October long weekend back in those days. The day before, Saturday, racing was cancelled due to the extreme conditions Posted on 1 May 2020
Australian 16ft & 13ft Skiff Championships overall
Smooth sailing by 'Roughie' brings cherished 16ft skiff title Sutech Musto Racing is the new Australian 16ft skiff champion, winning by the narrowest margin in an enthralling game of snakes-and-ladders on the final day at Port Stephens NSW. Posted on 12 Jan 2020
Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships day 5
Sutech Musto breezes back into lead on a good ol' day With a snowy-haired squadron of 16ft skiff ol' boys watching intently from the club veranda, the young guns of the class gave a sublime exhibition of power sailing in heat 8 of the 2020 Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships at Port Stephens today. Posted on 10 Jan 2020
Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships day 3
TED lands a 1-2 punch as more 'lefts' and 'rights' thrown There were more 'lefts' and 'rights' thrown than in a pub stoush during the 2020 Australian 16ft and 13ft Skiff Championships at Port Stephens today, with the fleet going vastly separate ways in intriguing conditions during races four and five. Posted on 7 Jan 2020