Back In Form Bowen
There were times over the past two years when Fluid Building skipper Clint Bowen wondered if the 16ft skiff scene had left him behind.
After being a dominant force for more than a decade, winning multiple club, state and national titles, Bowen had to watch others take to the podium.
Heading towards his mid-40s and with a young family and booming business to keep him occupied, he could have been forgiven for packing it up.
But those who know Bowen know that giving up or simply making up the numbers is not part of his DNA.
He gathered crew members Brent Dennis and Matt Wark at the end of last season and mapped out a plan to return to the top.
Six months later, a new boat, a new fitness program and a renewed attitude has Fluid threatening to break back in to the top echelon.
“It’s difficult after being top-end for so long to suddenly play second fiddle,” Bowen admitted.
“You don’t know quite where you’re positioned. Mentally you’re in state of shock and you start to accept that maybe you’re over the hill.
“But this year we decided to give it a really good crack. We’ve done a lot of work on and off the water to get it right.
“Some of these blokes we’re up against are built like Roman gods so we’ve had to work hard on our fitness and we’ve worked hard on the boat.
“Three years in (as a crew) and it’s starting to gel. We’re definitely chasing silverware this season.”
It certainly gelled for Bowen, Wark and Dennis in the first heat of Manly’s club championship on Saturday.
Fluid led from start to finish in the 10-16 knot sou’ easter, holding off Manly Surf n Slide (Joe Turner) to win by 28 seconds.
Sutech (Daniel Turner) came in third with Korman Marine Composites (Felix Grech) back in fourth.
“We took control early but we had to work hard all race,” Bowen said.
“We kept an eye on all the other guys and kept working on speed and never let up the talk.
“The boat is coming together well and we’re starting to get a lot of things right.”
Gill (Damon Zemanek) took out handicap honours from Fluid and Botany Access (Chris Thomas).