Manly 16s Club Championship Preview


One skipper is planning a party while another wants to gate crash it.

The fight for the prestigious Manly 16ft club championship gets underway on Saturday with the opening two heats of the 2023/24 campaign. Moonen Yachts (Daniel Turner) is shooting for five straight titles as it looks to join the ranks of skiff racing’s immortals.

Only three boats – Trevor Barnabas’s five-in-a-row on Chesty Bond-2UE/Baracuda-2UE (1991-95), Michael Polkinghorne’s six-on-the-trot aboard Bluefin (1967-72) and the Clint Bowen-skippered Fluid Building Services’ seven consecutive crowns from 2002-09 – have won more consecutive crowns in the club’s 100-year history.

This year’s series will be decided over eight heats throughout the season. “I have some great respect for all of those names and just to be on the board with them is an honour,” Turner said. “We’ve made no secret we are chasing what those guys achieved. “They are among the all-time greats of 16s racing and our aim is to one day join them.  “That might put a target on our chests but that’s okay. Everyone wants to knock off the title holders but we’ll be up for the challenge.”

Leading that challenge will be national champion Imagine Signage, skippered by Nathan Wilmot. Wilmot, aboard Typhoon, finished just one point behind Turner in last year’s club championship.  He doesn’t intend settling for second place this time around.

“Ruffy (Turner) and his guys did really well last year but we’re coming for them,” Wilmot said. “We were disappointed to miss out last year and would love to get our name on the trophy. “It’s one of our major goals this season.”

Of course, Imagine Signage and Moonen won’t have it all to themselves. A host of boats will be right on their tail.

Former State champions Red Pumps (Tyler Dransfield), Sail Racing (Felix Grech), Red Pumps Red (Bruce Savage), Cunninghams (Nick Connor), IMEI (Hugh Stodart) and Modern Concept Construction (Gerard Smith) are all expected to mount serious challenges.     

Words Adam Lucius

Photos Sail Media

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