by Simon Brown
JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff International is the the Holy Grail of Skiff sailing. The Australian 18 Footers League Double Bay Sydney is all set to stage the event from Friday 4th to Sunday 13th March.
JJ Giltinan champs ‘Gotta Love It 7’ lead a North Sails sweep of the podium ahead of ‘Thurlow Fisher’ and ‘Project Racing
The iconic 18ft class was founded in 1891 by the sailing entrepreneur Mr Mark Foy. Mr Foy believed he could make sailing entertaining, much more so than yacht racing at that time.
He introduced radical changes to the sport with coloured patches sewn onto the mainsails to make them identifiable, conducted multiple short races for spectators viewing from islands and predominate foreshore vantage spots like Bradleys Head, sounds familiar. But his biggest inovation was the introduction of betting on the races, all pretty anti establishment stuff at that time.
The upside to all Mr. Foy's efforts, is that this year the 18 Footers League has introduced 'Pick the Podium', an exclusive online tipping competition which has been trialed by Bob Killick and Mark Heeley during their weekly www.18footerstv.com video race coverage. Bob said 'Foy would have done the same thing if he was still alive today, as he would have seized on the digital media technology, undoubtedly, given he did such a creative job with the few high tech opportunities around in those days like steam ferries and the telephone was sort of available along with the trusty horse driven buggy and wagons.'
Mr Foy was 70yrs of age when James J Giltinan, the tearaway sports entrepreneur of his era, established the breakaway 18ftr League in Double Bay and he immediately struck the current trophy and launched his international world championship for 18ft skiffs on Sydney harbour in 1938 - the rest is history.
And now, thanks to digital and www. technology, global sailing fans can interact online with this iconic event whereever thay are on planet earth and test how good their sail racing mojo is throughout the eight races starting this friday the 4th March. It's free to enter and fun to be involved with Can you Pick the Podium?
Prizes include sunglasses from www.barzoptics.com A Slam Cap and T, a Bar Fridge from www.appliancesonline.com.au with an AUD$60 beverage voucher, a Velocitek Speedpuck (Aud$395) from www.sailingbits.com.
Overseas winners will receive money orders to the value of the prizes to make the fun of winning easier. It's free to play so what are you waiting for? Get online at www.18footerstv.com and register to get all the news and information.
Good Luck for the JJ.
18 Footers website