"that's it for now."

Veteran Manly skiff sailor James Bury will bow out a winner after helping guide Fire Stopping to the prestigious club championship last weekend.

Chronic injury brought about by contorting his body on a tiny skiff for almost 20 years convinced the Fire Stopping sheethand that this season would be his last, and he was desperate to sign off by grabbing the summer's last piece of silverware.

"I have been struggling with some back issues and losing feeling in my arm for a few days after sailing in the skiffs, "Bury explained.

"Winning the club champs after missing the Australian title by one point for the second year running is a nice way for the team to end.

"I'm sure we will look back at some point and get the itch to put the team back together, but that's it for now."

Fire Stopping already had the title under lock and key before last Saturday's final heat, but were determined to finish on a high.

It didn't quite go to plan, with the ever-improving Korman Marine Composites (Felix Grech) stealing the limelight with a comfortable victory from Fire Stopping and CHPS (Evan Darmanin)

Grech is fast emerging as a skipper to watch and will be up to his neck challenging for titles next season.

Bury, meanwhile, signs off with two Australian titles, two state crowns and two club championship wins.

He said: "The timing is right to retire but I will still be strongly involved in the class and club and hopefully helping out the younger guys and girls in a mentor role.

"And you never know, you might see me back out there from time to time."

"It was a great way to finish what has been a really successful time."

It's also the end for decorated Sutech crewman Steve Bowen.

Bowen started out in the 16s in the late 1980s, self-teaching himself for the first few years before going onto win a multitude of titles.

He was part of the dominant Fluid team of the 2000s, winning club, state and national crowns alongside brother Clint and Anthony King.

Making a comeback in 2009 following a short break, Bowen teamed with Daniel Turner aboard Sutech to bring an end to Fluid's eight-year run of club championships.

"That and winning the nationals are my greatest sailing memories," he said.

"The back is starting to play havoc when racing at a higher level, but I'm still looking forward to doing some more relaxed club sailing on a range of different skiffs."

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Michael Chittenden
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