For 10 years, Daniel Turner was used to being the hunter
For 10 years, Daniel Turner was used to being the hunter.
Now, after a breakthrough victory at last season’s Australian 16ft Championships on top of winning the Manly club championship, the Sutech Musto Racing skipper is preparing to be the hunted.
Manly’s 2020/21 16ft skiff season begins on Saturday with two shortcourse pointscore races to blow out the cobwebs – and Turner knows the heat will be on from the get-go.
“I’d target me if I was someone else,” he said with a laugh.
“That’s the way it is at Manly. Everyone wants to beat the blokes holding the titles.
“I know a few of the younger guys have put new boats on the water and have been out training over winter, so they will right into it from the start.”
In contrast, the Sutech Musto Racing team has enjoyed an off-season away from sailing while changes on and off the water were occurring.
Turner and his wife Candice welcomed baby Hamish into the world six weeks ago, with proud dad quickly signing his son up for Manly Skiff Club membership.
There’s been a new addition on the boat as well, with Kirk Mitchell replacing the decorated Matt Stenta.
Turner quipped: “Matt’s moved into the world of professional sailing and we can’t afford his daily rate.
“Kirk filled in last year quite a lot and is very similar to Matt – similar bloke, similar build, great personality who slots straight into the way Gus (Williams) and I do things.
“We went through a whole list of replacements for Matt and kept circling back around Kirk.
“The confidence in the boat and in the crew we’ve got is quite high and that gives me massive confidence coming into the first race of the season.
“The boat is perfected and polished and extremely fast.”
Turner’s challengers will come from all directions.
Leading the way will be IMEI, who denied Sutech the NSW 16ft title last season and a rare club-state-national trifecta of trophies.
Growthbuilt (Ryan Wilmot), Red Pumps (Bruce Savage) and Koreman Marine Composites (Felix Grech) also have designs on the major silverware and will push the top guns all summer.
The start to Manly’s 16ft season was delayed due to Covid restrictions, but officials are cautiously optimistic of seeing out a slightly reduced program of races at club, state and national level.