Keeping up the Intensity

 In 16ft Skiff News, Manly 16ft Skiff Sailing Club

Blissful ignorance helped Belsah keep up the intensity over four races to snatch a historic victory in last Saturday’s Manly16ft skiff series.

Winless at 16ft level before the weekend, skipper Peter Warner and crew Alex Chittenden and Tim Westwood knew they were building towards something special when they racked up top three placings in the first three races.

But not knowing all the finishing places of rivals kept them on their toes heading into the final heat.

“It was hard to keep track of the points, and they weren’t broadcasting them, so we have to live in the moment and sail each race fresh,” Warner said.

“It really was about taking it each race at a time, but we knew heading into that last race that a top five finish would put us right up there.”

Belsah finished fourth in the last race to go with a first, a second and a third.

It was enough to give them the title and a break-through16s victory.

Botany Access (Chris Thomas) and Cunninghams (Nick Connor) placed second and third without really threatening to rope in Belsah.

“Last year was a rookie season as I’d been out of the 16s for a few seasons while (regular crew) Alex (Chittenden) has come from the 13s and James (Warner) , out of the dinghies (class) and hadn’t sailed skiffs at all,” Warner explained.

“We had to work out how we’d go as a team and work out a few bugs on the boat.

“We did that and they (Alex and replacement Bowman, Tim Westwood) were as stoked to win (the sprint series) as I was,” Warner said.

But the skipper acknowledges there are bigger tests to come.

Next Saturday Manly host the first heat of the club championship, the third leg of the silverware trifecta after the state and national titles.

There have been five different winners in the five races leading up to the club championship opener, underlining the depth of the Manly fleet.

“We know everyone has been building up to the club champs and they’ll be ready,” Warner said.

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