Phillip Cooke has a simple answer when asked what keeps him going after so many years skippering a 16ft skiff.
“Any day out on the water is a good day. Your worst day sailing is still better that your best day working,” the Manly veteran declared with a smile.
Forty-six-year-old Cooke has enjoyed plenty of good days on the water during his 25 years as part of the Manly fleet.
But the wins dried up in recent times, which made last Saturday’s victory in the sixth heat of Manly’s club championship so sweet.
Piloting Altis Consulting, Cooke and crew members Dave Greuter and Jim Levy got off to a great start and never looked back.
They led by two minutes at the second mark and held that advantage all the way to the finish, holding off Sutech (Daniel Turner) and Brydens Lawyers (Zac Barnabas) to claim both scratch and handicap honours.
Barnabas is just 14 and Sutech bowman Will Divola only 14, again showcasing the young talent coming through at Manly.
Not that the likes of Cooke are ready to let the kids steal all the glory just yet.
“I haven’t been able to put in the sort of time I’d like to over the past few years, but we’ve always been competitive,” he said.
“When it all comes together like it did on Saturday, it makes you want to go on forever.
“It really was the perfect race and perfect conditions for us and we were able to sneak away from the rest of them.”
While Altis Consulting was streaking away, there was a race within a race further back in the fleet.
Holding a handy lead over closest rival Fluid Building (Clint Bowen) on the overall club championship pointscore, Fire Stopping (Joe Turner) just had to stay upright and ensure it kept Fluid at arm’s length.
Bury, skipper Joe Turner and for’and Rob Napper did just that, finishing four places ahead of Fluid in seventh and pocketing the crown with a heat to spare.
“We knew what needed to be done but it didn’t happen the way we had planned,” Bury said.
“I think we got a bit caught up focusing on Clint and the boys on Fluid, knowing what they can do to you in a moment’s notice, and we forgot about the bigger picture.
“But we were lucky enough that the cards fell our way with other results.
“Winning the club championship is such a big deal given the quality of the Manly fleet, and it goes some way towards making up for missing the national title by a point for the second year running.”