Manly 16ft skiff sailor Peter Mackie shudders each time his mobile phone bill lobs in the mail. “I’m doing my bit to ensure Telstra shares go up. Every week I seem to be ringing around trying to find a skipper,” he said.
Mackie isn’t joking.
At last count, the Brydens Lawyers skiff had employed seven skippers across a series of club, state and national regattas. With work commitments and the arrival of baby twins keeping regular skipper Lee Knapton landlocked for much of the summer, Gerard Smith, Bryce Edwards, Kurt Hansen, Chris Nicholson, Dave O’Connor and Nathan Wilmot have all taken turns on steering duties.
“It’s been great all those guys have been able to help us out but it does make things difficult when you are constantly swapping skippers,” Mackie said. “It’s probably no surprise our season has been pretty up and down.”
It was Wilmot’s turn to play the role of stand-in skipper last Saturday and it proved a seamless handover. A dominant win in Manly’s fifth club championship heat of the summer was a reminder of what Brydens – a multiple state and national champion – is capable of when all is in tune.
Wilmot opened up a good lead up on the initial windward run and was first around the mark, leaving club championships aspirants Fire Stopping (Joe Turner) and Fluid Building (Clint Bowen) to play catch up. Brydens’ lead was never really threatened as they pulled away for a comfortable 2min:15sec victory.
Fire Stopping was second with Fluid close behind in third. “I think our cause was helped by the fact Fluid and Fire Stopping were racing each other and we were able to sneak away,” Mackie said.
“Nathan did a great job steering as did young (for’ard) Harry Moreton. “We can’t win the club championship title but we want to finish the season on a strong note.”
With two heats to race, Fluid appears the only threat to Fire Stopping winning the silverware.