Local knowledge and a little assistance from the Manly ferry helped Fire Stopping hold on to the Port Jackson 16ft Championship six years after last winning it. The Manly boat got off to a sluggish start but soon recovered to hit the top mark in fifth spot. Skipper Joe Turner and crew Rob Napper and James Bury continued to work their way through the fleet before eyeing leader Southern Beaches Rugby (Rod Carter).
That’s when the Manly ferry came into play, ploughing a path down the middle of the course. Turner knew the right way to go but Belmont’s Carter didn’t tack in time and lost valuable ground.
Fire Stopping stole the lead, surrendered it again later in the race before hitting the front on the final lap to win by 36 seconds. Southern was second, ahead of four Manly boats Fluid Building (Clint Bowen), Botany Access, Korman Marine Composites (Felix Grech) and Holmes Marine (Matt Stenta).
“We came off the (start) line really badly so we said let’s do what we know best and just chip away,” Turner said. “Five laps of that course is more like an enduro so we got in into a groove and stayed patient. “When the ferry came through it allowed us to catch up to them (SBR) and we took the lead. “The boys sailed well and the boat’s going well, so all is good.”
Fire Stopping’s win came six years after it won the 2010 Port Jackson. The regatta was shelved until Manly 16ft board member Anthony King mounted a campaign to revive the event and get it back on the calendar. It now looks set to stay after 49 boats faced the starter’s gun for what was a highly competitive race “It was great to see so many boats out there. The fleet at Manly is healthy and the 16ft class is healthy,” Turner said. “It was good to see how boats from other clubs are going and catch up for a beer after the race. “It’s a good warm-up for the state champs.”
Manly’s Toro (Brad Leicester) won handicap honours from clubmate Skiff_Ropes.com (Cameron McDonald) and Middle Harbour’s Oliver Hire (Jake Slone).