IMEI takes 10th Long-course
Sarah Lee is proving to be a skipper for all conditions and occasions after effortlessly jumping between two different clubs and boats while still managing to produce the goods. Lee has been involved in a friendly tug-of-war for her services between St George-based Noakes and Manly boat IMEI, with her dance card fully booked since the nationals.
On Saturday it was IMEI who got in first, securing the talent skipper and being rewarded with a win in the 10th long course race of the season.
Lee will now stay with the boat for the rest of the 2022/23 campaign. “I’ve been skippering every weekend since nationals, mostly on IMEI and sometimes on Noakes,” she explained. “The two crews are both extremely talented and very similar and a pleasure to sail with, so jumping between the boats is pretty seamless.”
The swapping didn’t end with Lee for Saturday’s race, with Noakes sheethand Peter Mackie joining bowman Rob Napper and Lee at the start line. Understandably, the cohesion wasn’t there from the gun but IMEI’s positioned improved with every lap. “Our start wasn’t ideal as we got stuck above the start boat and the boat end was very crowded,” Lee said. “We were playing catch-up from the start but kept our cool as it was a long race (five laps) and we knew we had time to get to the front of the fleet. “Flukey easterlies are a bit of a favourite of mine and we picked some great shifts as a team. “Each lap we hunted down a few more boats until we jumped out in front on the fourth lap and held the lead to the finish.”
IMEI crossed the line 20 seconds ahead of Employment Hero (Will Divola) from Botany Access (Chris Thomas) and Red Pumps Red (Bruce Savage). Divola capped a great day by taking out handicaps honours, with early race leader Bartley Construction (Daniel Bromelow) runner-up and Outback Marine (Georgia Clancy) third.
Lee confirmed after the race she would see the season out with IMEI, although the boat is not in line for trophy honours. And she is open to offers for 2023/24. Lee said: “The boys got a new boat halfway through the season so that means they can’t carry all their points and aren’t competing for any Manly titles. “I’m just hoping to get some good results and enjoy the end of the season. “I’m not sure what the plans are for next season but they’re an awesome team to sail with – lots of talent, very calm and harmonious.”
Words Adam Lucius