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 In 16ft Skiff News

Fire Stopping handed out back-to-back tactical lessons in storming to a comfortable lead after two heats of the NSW 16ft Championships on Middle Harbour.

On Saturday skipper Joe Turner and crew Rob Napper and James Bury negotiated a tricky nor’ easter to pilot their boat to a 17-second win from defending champions Brydens (Lee Knapton).

The next day the fleet was hit by a strong sou’ wester but Fire Stopping was able to adjust and adapt, keeping cool heads when others were losing theirs to claim their second win of the weekend.

The double triumphs have Fire Stopping a clear leader at the top of the overall pointscore tally heading into the final two heats at Belmont later this month.

While Turner put Saturday’s win down to a smart and slick tactical race, Sunday’s victory was all about staying upright and using your nous at the end.

“Sunday was all about survival and getting around the track,” he said.

“I went the fastest I’ve ever been in a 16ft skiff. There were 30-40 knot gusts…it was full on.

“We probably didn’t deserve to win but we got there.”

The fact Fire Stopping did win was down to staying composed and being aware of the circumstances and race situation.

While the race was slated for five laps, the majority of the fleet headed for the beach thinking they only needed to complete four.

Turner and his crew stayed out on the water, completing a fifth lap to take out the race as their confused rivals scrambled to get back on the course after realising their mistake.

“We knew it was five laps but thought we might have missed a shortened course hooter while we were recovering from a massive wipeout,” Turner said.

“We had nothing to lose so we said ‘ let’s go around all marks and cover all bases’.”

The 2min:23s victory margin said it all

It’s now a case of catch us if you can as Fire Stopping move in on their first state title since 09/10.

Turner said: “You can’t be in a better position than we are.

“You can’t win the regatta on the first weekend but you can lose it.

Manly clubmate Korman Marine Composites (Felix Grech) sit second with Sutech (Daniel Turner) third.

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