ON FIRE: Brydens Lawyers, skippered by Lee Knapton from Manly, on its way to their fourth consecutive national title. Knapton has now won eight titles.
ON FIRE: Brydens Lawyers, skippered by Lee Knapton from Manly, on its way to their fourth consecutive national title. Knapton has now won eight titles. Alistair Brightman

Brydens Lawyers win fifth Australian 16ft Skiff Champs

SAME skipper, same crew, same skiff and same result.

Brydens Lawyers, consisting of skipper Lee Knapton, Peter Mackie and Ricky Bridge, were awarded their fourth consecutive Australian 16ft Skiff Championship yesterday.

The team claimed two wins, two seconds, a third and a 13th across the six races, with the seventh abandoned due to lack of wind.

Based purely on their finishes the team would have finished ninth, but the drop rule, which removes the worst finish, meant they beat Fire Stopping (skippered by Joe Turner) by just one point.

Bridge, a 37-year-old environmental sustainability officer for Downer EDI, said it was unfortunate they were unable to complete all seven races.

"We've been lucky in the last regattas we've done, the Australian titles, that we've managed to get seven, competitive races in and be able to take one drop and carry the best six," he said.

"Unfortunately it didn't happen this time due to weather conditions.

"We had to call a few off early as there was too much breeze (the first two days) then today it just wouldn't fill in from any direction.

"It was a waiting game. There was too much cloud, nothing was moving; it was the longest two hours of my life."

All skiffs launched from Maryborough Sailing Club at Scarness and waited on the water for two hours before it was abandoned.

Had they raced the heat would have been on as Fire Stopping needed only a fourth-placed finish to win.

Instead it remains with the Manly Sailing Club team who have now raced together for five national titles.

"Oh it's getting harder every year," Mackie, 50, said.

"Everyone's getting fitter. There's no difference in pace out there, the boats all go just as quick."

Bridge and Knapton, 38, will race together on in an 18ft skiff championship in February while Mackie will eye the Australian 16ft Skiff Sprints and Belmont Bay Championships in Belmont, near Newcastle.

Bridge, who has sailed for more than 30 years, said they would return to defend their title in 2017.

On a roll

National 16ft Skiff Championships Brydens Lawyers 2015-16: Hervey Bay, QLD2014-15: Belmont, NSW2013-14: Drummoyne, NSW2012-13: Manly, NSW2010-11: RQYS, Manly, NSWLee Knapton (other teams) 2006-07: Geelong, Vic2004-05: Shorncliffe, QLD1999-2000: Hervey Bay, QLD



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