16ft Skiffs – “It’s nice to be part of that Manly history.”

They’ve won Olympic gold medals, national 16ft titles and state championships.

Now Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page can add another honour to the list – Manly 16ft Skiff club champions.

The pair combined with Max Paul – filling in for regular crewman Brett Davis – to guide Imagine Signage into second spot in last Saturday’s seventh and penultimate heat. Imagine only had to finish inside the top eight to claim the club championship with a heat to spare and pushed race winner – and defending champ – Moonen Yachts (Daniel Turner) all the way in a thrilling finish.

Just 14 seconds separated Wilmot and Turner with Sail Racing (Felix Grech) close behind in third, but the gap on the overall pointscore is much greater, underlining Imagine’s dominance in an otherwise frustrating season. They’ve won three club championship heats, placed second twice and picked up a third and a fourth, but missed out on major silverware.

“We were second in the nationals, second in states, second in the (Australian) sprint series, so it’s nice to win the clubbie,” Wilmot said. “I think I’ve got second three times at Manly and they’ve all been really close, so it’s nice to end the hoodoo and get our name up on the (champions’) wall. “It’s really rough racing against the guys at Manly. It’s very competitive but also a lot of fun. “Ruffy (Turner) has been up there a while so it’s good to have a change at the top.”

Asked where a club championship ranks on his stellar sailing CV, Wilmot replied: “It’s a good achievement and especially nice to do it with Mal. “We’ve won gold medals and other things but we’ve now finally got a club championship. “It’s nice to be part of that Manly history.”

Turner was magnanimous in defeat. “You’ve got to win like a champion and lose like a champion,” he said. “To win three in a row is something special but it wasn’t to be for us this year due to a number of reasons. “Good luck to the Imagine boys. We’ve got a great rivalry with them, as we have with many in the fleet. “It’d be a pretty boring if that wasn’t the case. This will just make us even hungrier to try and win it back next year.”

Things are a little tighter in the 13s where just three points separates leader Harken (Heidi Bates) from closest rival Ebix (Jemma Hopkins). That’s after the pair missed out on the top two places in heat seven. Fluid Building (Don Rowlinson) took the race out from Modern Concept Construction (Tom Cameron) with Harken third and Ebix fourth.

The final heat will be staged on March 16.

16’Skiff results here

13’Skiff results here

Words Adam Lucius
Images SailMedia

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