IT CAME down to a game of cat-and-mouse to decide the Australian 16-foot skiff title on Lake Illawarra on Wednesday.
Lake Macquarie sailor Henry Makin, steering TJS Services, had to finish within two boats of Manly rival Joe Turner on board Fire Stopping in the seventh and final heat. The experienced Makin had found himself back in the fleet, but produced a late surge to finish third, with Turner well within view in second, enough to claim the overall victory. It was a remarkable racing series, with different winners in each race during the week long carnival at Illawarra Yacht Club. Showing Turner’s amazing consistency, the crew did not win any of the events, but finished in the top five on four occasions and never lower than eighth.
“It really did come down to the most consistent out there,” Illawarra Yacht Club commodore Richard Nardone.
“It looked like it was Joe who was going to win it, Henry was a long way back, but finished very well. He had to claw his way back and it just shows how close the racing was all week.”
Energy Australia, skippered by Phil Bower, claimed sixth in the seventh heat, after a second-placed finish in heat three, to be 11th overall and one of the leading Illawarra entries.
However, Illawarra sailor Kevin Middleton celebrated handicap honours after impressive efforts in the final three heats to finish six points clear on 49.
“There were some light conditions, it was quite testing out there,” Nardone said.
“There were big momentum swings in each race, just because of the conditions and how it suited different crews.” The third time the Illawarra Yacht Club has hosted the championships, there were 36 entrants, as well as 10 in the 13-foot skiff class.
And the club will host the single-man Contender division later this month.
- AUSTRALIAN 16-FOOT SKIFF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Overall: TJS Services (Henry Makin) 25 points, Fire Stopping (Joe Turner) 26, Southern Beaches Rugby (Rod Carter) 33, Fluid Building (Clint Bowen) 42, RW Retail (Josh Franklin) 43.
Handicap: Illawarra Gear and Diff (Kevin Middleton) 49 points, Drift Mob 2.0 (Michael Koerner) 55, Growth Built (Ryan Wilmot) 60, Lakeview Constructions (Ross Massey) 64, Kamakazie (Phillip Jenkins) 67.
- AUSTRALIAN 13-FOOT SKIFF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Overall: Mighty Mite (Carlton Smith) 14 points, Dimension Polyant (Jordan Ferguson) 14, Arris Project (Alex Watson) 22, Bridgestone (Daniel Heyworth) 23, RW Retail (Victoria Price) 27.
Handicap: Esprit (Adam Lavis) 22 points, Ebix (Daniel Bromelow) 24, Bridgestone (Daniel Heyworth) 26 points, Holmes Marine (Chris Stenta) 27, Mighty Mite (Carlton Smith) 30.