Race Report – CC H2 & 3
They’ve got a revolving door of skippers but Noakes is not missing a beat as it zeroes in on a fifth St George Sailing Club Championship.
Missing regular skipper Lee Knapton, who is recovering from back surgery, Noakes has used Sarah Lee and Tom Dawson as fill-ins and recorded two wins and a second to open up a clear lead on the overall pointscore table.
Last Saturday, Dawson traveled down from Belmont to partner with experienced duo Pete Mackie and Ricky Bridge, finishing runner-up behind winning TTR Civil (Phil Bower) in the day’s first race before securing top spot in the second race.
Considering Knapton is considered one of the all-time great 16s skippers, it’s been a remarkable start to the season.
“Knappo’s had sciatic nerve problems with his back and had an operation about a month ago,” Mackie revealed.
“He’s got relief from the nerve pain and now he’s got to start with the rehab.
“He’s hoping to be back in a couple of weeks but more realistically it’ll probably be around the States, so we’ve registered Sarah and we had Tom come down to help us on the weekend.
“It seems to be working out well. I think as long as we’ve got the nucleus of Bridgey and myself, then bringing one new person is not going to impact things too much.
“We’ve sailed together for so many years and have a lot of input into how the boat is run, but we always leave the final decision to whoever is steering and they’ve been doing a great job.”
Dawson made all the right moves but couldn’t quite reel in TTR Civil (Phil Bower) in the first race, finishing 44 seconds behind in second with Toogara (Tom Clout) third.
TTR Civil is a former Lake Illawarra boat now embarking on a two-hour round trip each weekend to compete at St George.
Skipper Bower and crew Richard Nardone and Ryan Lindsay are making an immediate impact.
“We were very happy to get a win up,” Bower said.
“It was a tricky day with the breeze building quite substantially but also huge shifts into the east.
“Once we were out with the first couple of boats we were able to not make too many mistakes and keep extending our lead.
“This has been a good move for us (to St George). We’ve had a fantastic welcome from both the St George and Manly clubs.
“It’s a strong fleet and while Noakes is the boat to beat, there’s probably another five of six of us with an equal chance of getting up on the day.”
Race two proved a different story, with Noakes leading the fleet home from Tribeca (Ben Bradley) and Toogara.
“It was real close racing all day but I think having that early race under our belt helped in the second race,” Mackie said.
“It was tight there for a while but we managed to pull away at the end.”