Young Manly 16ft Skiff Club skipper Matt Stenta is dreaming large as the season’s big regattas loom. Stenta believes he and crewmates Gus Williams and Jackson Cranfield can guide Holmes Marine towards a podium finish at the upcoming NSW and Australian Championships. “We might be biting off more than we can chew but our goal for the nationals is top five and top five in the states would be great as well,” he said. “That won’t be easy but we’ll give it our best.”
Stenta’s confidence is well founded after an ultra-consistent start to the season. Holmes Marine racked up three thirds in the opening three pointscore races of the season before a breakthrough win in race six last Saturday. Gambling with a little rig in the hope conditions would freshen, Stenta got his boat off to a good start and then slugged it out with the experienced Fluid Building (Clint Bowen) for the rest of the journey.
Holmes Marine led at every top mark except for the last run home, unable to shrug off the persistent Bowen while contending with the fast-finishing Sutech (Daniel Turner) in a strong southerly. Fluid looked like it had done enough to win but Holmes Marine kept coming and eventually took the lead close to home to claim the race by a minute.
Bowen was second with Sutech third and Botany Access (Gerard Smith) fourth after Korman Marine Composites (Felix Grech) took a swim right on the line. “We went with the little rig and were a bit nervous to start, but as they day went on we went better and better,” Stenta said “It was never comfortable and we had to work all the way but we got there. “This is the biggest and toughest fleet in Australia so a win like that gives us a lot of confidence.”
Drift Mob 2 (Michael Koerner) took out handicap honours from Fluid and WDH Racing (Ryan Wilmot). Manly will host the Port Jackson regatta for the first time in five years on Saturday.