Saturday’s club championship heat win against a class fleet will only add to that that fast-growing reputation for a crew in its debut year in the 16s.
“It was still a bit of a surprise. We have been improving slowly but this result was unexpected,” Connor insisted.
“We had some shockers early in the season when we still learning and just finishing races was our biggest challenge.
“We’ve started to have the good occasional race and it shows we can do it if we get the little things right.
“Saturday’s race was a tough one but a lot of fun.”
The start wasn’t much fun for Cunninghams, with most of the fleet getting the jump on them on the first leg.
By the top mark Connor had guided the boat to mid-fleet position but there still appeared to be a lot of work to do to reel in the front-runners in the light conditions.
“We then got a random gust downwind to find themselves in third and kept chipping away and played the gusts,” Connor explained.
It quickly developed into a race in two – Cunninghams v Manly Surf n Slide (James Dorron).
A calm and composed Connor held off Dorron to win by a split second, with Fluid Building (Clint Bowen) more than two minutes behind in third.
The win has come too late for Cunninghams to challenge for the overall title, with the top three placed Manly Surf n Slide, Sutech (Daniel Turner) and Fluid set to fight it out over the final three heats.
Cunninghams is placed 10th on the overall pointscore after some disastrous early results, but Connor sees a bright future for the fleet’s youngest – and lightest – team.
“It’s only our first year together in the 16s and we’ve got a lot to learn and a long way to go,” he said.
“But at the nationals we were hoping to land a top 25 finish so to come eighth was really pleasing.
“It’s given us some confidence and we want to give it a real crack next year. “