The 94th Australian 16ft Skiff Championships start today

LEE Knapton is the man to beat when Maryborough Sailing Club hosts the 94th Australian 16ft Skiff Championships today.

The competition, which will also include the 13ft championships, will feature some of Australia's best sailors.

Knapton is part of the defending national champion Brydens Lawyers team, who also won the New South Wales state championships, and will start as favourites.

A fourth consecutive national title will not come easy, as several former champions and a number of young crews look to make their mark.

Among the chasers will be MSC members Jim Thorburn and Tom Richers.

Thorburn, the MSC president, will skipper Chillie Pepper with Bruce Taylor and Mark Bews as crew.

This is a very experienced crew combination however it is some time since they sailed together, and in close conditions their lack of race practice may tell.

The MSC has an active learn to sail program with expert tuition and now an active junior fleet.

One graduate of past training programs is Tom Richers.

Richers now sails at Darling Point in Brisbane, but will bring his MSC-registered Richers Transport to the regatta. He will be joined by Mat Cuneo, the grandson of Olympic gold medallist John Cuneo, and Zane Hawgood as crew.

They are raring to go for the competition, and are boosted by the additional confidence a new spinnaker has added.

Richers knows the Hervey Bay conditions well giving them few excuses to perform.



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