Australian 18 footer Championship skipper Trevor Barnabas won his second race from the three races sailed so far but he won’t be declared champion until after the series concludes next Sunday on Sydney Harbour.
First Spinnaker Run - Australian 18ft Skiffs Championship
The five times Giltinan champion retired a couple of years ago but is still in heavy demand to sail when many of the current skippers are unable on any day.
Barnabas won race one on Smeg when Nick Press was unavailable while successfully defending his Inter-dominion 12ft Skiff title, and today won race three on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers as replacement for the injured Michael Coxon.
Today’s win was even more remarkable as Barnabas and his crew of Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas (Trevor’s son) missed the start by 45secs.
Taming the 15-20 knot North-East wind and choppy waters, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers scored a 1m14s win over Yandoo, sailed by John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson.
Third place went to Red Claw, Matthew Searle, Archie Massey and Mike McKenzie, which finished a further 3m33s behind Yandoo.
Defending champion Seve Jarvin (Gotta Love It 7) will now have a difficult time successfully defending his title as the skiff’s spinnaker pole broke in half while holding a narrow lead.
The ‘7’ team of Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage struggled around the course without a spinnaker and limped home in 11th place.
Gotta Love It 7 had already had one bad result when the skiff collided with the starter boat in race one and was forced to retire with damaged gear.
Yandoo - Australian 18ft Skiffs Championship
With two races still to be sailed Thurlow Fisher Lawyers leads with 7 points lost, followed by Red Claw on 11, Yandoo 14, Smeg (Nick Press) 18, Western Australia’s SLAM (Grant Rollerson) 21 and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) on 23.
After two general recalls, the race began sensationally when many of the teams badly miscalculated the restart.
Searle and his Red Claw team easily won the jump with SLAM, TF Collect (James Dorron), Asko Appliances (Micah Lane) and The Kitchen Maker (Brett Van Munster) next best.
Gotta Love It 7 showed brilliant upwind speed to overhaul Red Claw and lead narrowly at the Beashel Buoy windward mark.
Yandoo was third, followed by the brand new CST Composites skiff, skippered by US champion Howie Hamlin, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Pure Blonde (James Francis) and Smeg.
As the two leaders raced towards the wing mark off Shark Island, Gotta Love It 7’s spinnaker pole broke, leaving Red Claw to fend off the charging Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.
The conditions saw a number of teams suffer gear failures and there were several capsizes.
At the bottom mark, Red Claw still held the lead but the margin was reduced to just 8s over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.
Thurlow Fisher grabbed the lead on the second windward leg to the Beashel Buoy but the margin was still a slender 15s.
Red Claw - Australian 18ft Skiffs Championship
The battle ended on the next spinnaker run down the centre of the course when Red Claw capsized after receiving some turbulent air from a harbor ferry.
From that point the result was never in doubt but the spectators on board the official ferry were treated to some exciting downwind action.
Race 4 of the championship will be sailed on Wednesday, 26 January, however there will be no spectator ferry available to follow this race.
The usual spectator ferry will be available for the last race of the championship next Sunday, 30 January.
Flying 18s website