A NSW 16ft Skiff champion one day, back to school the next

 In 16ft Skiff News, Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club

That was the whirlwind 24 hours for Red Pumps Red skipper Tyler Dransfield after he combined with Chris Williams and Jackson Cranfield to claim a maiden state title in dramatic circumstances at Gosford. The Manly boat feared it was just one minute away from seeing the crown go to clubmate Moonen Yachts (Daniel Turner) after several general re-starts in Sunday’s final heat threatened an abandonment. Red Pumps Red (RPR) believed that would have left them in second place on the overall standings after a disappointing sixth in heat five left them vulnerable.

Had the last race been called off due to time constraints, it would have needed a countback to determine the state championship winner. The starter eventually got the fleet off a minute before the plug was to be pulled and RPR held its nerve to finish second behind fellow Manly entrant IMEI (Sarah Lee) with Moonen third. Dransfield, who at 17 is the youngest skipper to win a NSW title, allowed himself a celebratory soft drink or two before returning to Sydney to prepare for a maths exam at Balgowlah Boys on Monday morning.

“Yep, it’s straight back to school for me…not much time to party,” the winning skipper said “It’s quite surreal knowing we’ve done it against such a good fleet.

“We’re glad they got the last race underway and we changed a few settings and realised we had really good boat speed. “We didn’t really even talk that much because we were so locked in. It was a pretty special feeling.”

Turner was disappointed but philosophical after coming so close to snaring the silverware. “We really lost it at the St George regatta and we’re playing catch-up from there,” he said. “I’m really pleased with how we went at the Gosford regatta but they (RPR) deserved their win.”

Remarkably, Dransfield had only sailed a 16ft twice before this season and spent no time in the boat with Williams and Cranfield. But their chemistry has been evident from the start and now RPR is daring to dream even bigger. Dransfield said: “Everyone was saying it takes five years to get really good in the 16s so there is a long way to go for us, but this has given us so much confidence. “We’re really looking forward to the nationals at Manly (January 7-14). It would be very special to do well there in the club’s 100th year.”

Three Manly boats – Fire Stopping (Alex Hart), Capital Brewing (Jessica Iles) and Sail Racing (Felix Grech) – finished second, third and fourth respectively on the handicap pointscore.

Fireball (James Downey) was second and Bartley Construction (Nathan Lilley) third in the Youth division, while Sarah Lee took out the Ladies’ crown with Iles third.

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Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club