Belmont Season 2017-18 is almost upon us. It looks like the fleet might grow by a couple of boats and we should have another great season of racing. A few new faces in the crew lists with some youngsters joining the fleet which is fantastic to see. Here are the boats we are expecting for the coming season in last year’s Club Championship order.
TJS  – The Australian Champions and defending Club Champions look to be the favourites for this coming season at Belmont. Henry, Grant and Izzy had a superb 2016-17 and the worrying signs for the rest of the fleet are that they look to be still improving! The TJS will be sporting some new sails and with the talented “Young Guns” on-board will be the boat to beat.
OAS now named Minder  – Ben, Dobo & Dave are consistently Club Championship contenders. Apart from a name change it will be business as usual for this crew that has stuck together for several seasons, this continued combination will see them as one of the main title threats.
Redicrete  – The defending Pointscore winners will be back. Ando, Bretto and Nigel will be hoping to make some small improvements from last season and be in the mix again.
Wandiyali  – Wandiyali showed glimpses of brilliance last season. They had some great speed particularly with the small rig in. Crew still to be announced. Greg will be hoping to improve their consistency. If he does they’ll be a huge chance!
Southern Beaches Rugby  – The Beaches had some terrific results in the interclub racing with a third in the Nationals the highlight. They’ll be hoping to transfer that form to the Club Racing on a regular basis and certainly have the pace to be right at the front. With Milko and Nick moving on, Skipper, Rod, has a new crew with Stoney and Luke joining the team.
Insight Building Services  – Another team that showed brilliance at times, equal for the most fastest times trophy with the Young Guns, TJS. They will hit season 17-18 with improving consistency at the front of their mind. Adam has bought the ATB Morton and will have Scott and Pete back to have a crack at the title.
Compass Global Markets  – Kieran, AKA “Special K” has decided it’s time to follow in the footsteps of his father “Doc” and become a sheethand. If he becomes half as good as his Dad was, he will be one of the top sheethands in the Club. Kieran has also hired Belmont’s most promising young talent to steer, World 29er Champion, Tom Crockett. With Tom’s extraordinary talent and Kieran’s experience they are certain to go very well. For’hand TBA.
Empty Jets.com.au  – Flano, Big D and Nath will be back looking to improve on last season’s result. The depth of the fleet at Belmont these days means cracking a top 10 result can be tough. They have some new gear coming and will be trying to improve to a top 5 position and challenge for the win. Empty Jets had a few scratch wins last season and over the years has been consistently one of Belmont’s top boats.
Andrews Meat  – Action has his old mate Thommo on the sheet for this season and he’s also decided to go for one of the super-talented youngsters from the Belmont Junior Fleets. Young Kurt Sullivan will be in the bow and has filled in plenty on the skiffs in the past few seasons. Kurt is keen, young, strong, fit and has the skills to become one of Belmont’s all-time great for’hands.
Newcastle Herald  – The evergreen Graeme McKellar is continuing a skiff career that must surely go down as one of the best ever. A two time Australian Champion back in his younger days at Drummoyne, Graeme is still going strong and the cunning veteran is still very capable of collecting race wins. Paul “Skin” Harrison has sailed with Graeme for a long time and his retirement has brought on a crew change. Jimmy continues on as Sheethand and Graeme’s son Ashley will be in the bow. I have a feeling the new bowman will do a bit less huffing and puffing than the old one!
KOFM  – Corkey’s “B” grade boat will have a new skipper in Young Gun, Jordan Makin. The rest of the crew TBA.
PEPSI MAX  – Despite having one of the older boats in the fleet Stucho, Ben & Burkey continue to do very well. They’ll be looking forward to another season of good sailing and will be one to watch in the race for Point-Score honours.
Blacksmiths Family Meats  – Sheldo, Gaz and Craig were unlucky not to take out last season’s Point-Score and will be looking to go one better this season and take the title. The Veterans that grew up sailing at Teralba are especially skilful in the light shifty breeze and should be in for a good season.
Weathertex  – Swampy, Scott and Nigel had an interesting year last season. The Highlight (or lowlight?) was a spectacular capsize that clinched them the prized swimmers trophy. Some improvements to the boat and abiding by the old saying “Fins Down Wins the Crown” could see them turn the swimmers trophy into a Point-Score victory.
Tooheys Extra Dry  – Caitlin and Jason have a new For’hand from the junior ranks in Dante. Dante has shown promise in the Cherub fleet and is definitely ready to take the step into the skiff, he’ll be a valuable addition to the team.
East Coast Marine & Sail  – Matt, Scott & Corey had to sit out the 2nd half of last season after their boat was damaged. They have a new boat coming from Van Munster’s and will be looking to recapture the form and potential they were showing in the first half of the season. The Highlight for them was a Nationals heat win which shows how capable they will be when they get the new boat firing.
Newcastle Psychiatry  – Young Bethany moved to the helm half way through last season. With the experience of that under her belt and the guidance of experienced sheethand Mick, the Newcastle Psychiatry will be hoping to continue their improvement from last season and challenge for the Point-Score. Brad joins the team in the bow.
Hahn Super Dry  – Trevor will be back in Hahn Super Dry. Trev is one of the most successful Cherub sailors of all time and has shown this ability on several occasions in the skiff with a state title heat win the highlight. This year he’s recruited Showy to join the team.
Schweppes  – Belmont’s next Young Guns? Thomas, Marcus and James have shown enough that I think this team could follow in the footsteps of TJS and become Belmont’s next team of young champions. One race in particular stands out in my mind when they really showed what they are capable of, grabbing a handicap win on a tough gusty day. They also put in an awesome Sprint Series performance. They’ll need patience to get through the ups and downs they’ll inevitably have with no “old heads” on-board, but I’m sure we’ll see the improvement continue. It won’t be long and they’ll be mixing it with the Top-Fuellers on a regular basis at the front.
XXXX Gold  – Neale, Dave & Will are back for season 17-18. Neale’s son Murray sails quite often as well and it’s great to see so many younger sailors in the fleet. XXXX Gold grabbed 2 race wins on handicap last season. With some improved consistency they could rocket up the Point-Score leader board.
Belmont Bay Construction  – Belmont Bay Construction had a revolving door of sailors last season, but still managed to put together some very good results. Owner and former Champion Sheethand, Morgo, has had a knee operation so could possibly make a comeback? Stay tuned to see the makeup of the crew.
Aristocrat  – Dave, Vardon & Lindsay have upgraded their boat, buying the Thurlo Fisher from Drummoyne. The talented youngsters from Gosford will improve with a faster boat and be a big chance to do well in the Point-Score this season.
Lion  – Talbo missed much of the season through injury and illness last season but should be right to resume duties on the helm of Lion. Young Jackson is in the bow with sheethand TBA. Lion won three handicap races last season, more than any other boat. If they can nail the consistency they’ll be Point-Score contenders.
Enigma now named Konami  – Roger, Wayne & Marc will be back for season 17-18. Their boat is to be re-named Konami and they are getting some equipment upgrades.
Y B Flat – Former Champion Steve Newell has been sailing at Port Hunter in recent seasons but returns to Belmont for season 17-18. He’ll have various “all star” sailors joining him with Adam Piper and Gary Bruniges to share the steering duties. Amongst others, the crew roster includes former State Champ Muzza Atkins and former Australian Champs Dave “Willy” Williams and Dave “Dimps Johnson.
IGT – Don Cross is a VJ sailor that is joining the Skiff ranks at Belmont. He’s bought Bigfoot from Manly. Don has put together a crew of youngsters from Teralba, Joe and Mitch, to have a taste in the 16s.
Fire Stopping – Will, Richard and Rohan had a solid debut year in KOFM last season. It seems they’ve caught the 16s bug and they’ve bought the Australian Title runner up boat Fire Stopping. This boat is obviously very fast and with three extremely talented sailors on-board they are expected to be right at the front of the fleet challenging for the top spot.
Sounds like a exciting season coming up Ando,good luck to everybody and my mate Action.
But what Milko up too?