by Ben Faulkner
"Garde" Brett Hobson & Brad Phillips
The 12’ skiffs are competing in the NSW State titles last weekend and this coming weekend.
The series, sponsored by 'Lincoln Crowne & Co', was held at Woolahra Saliing Club last Saturday and Sunday; and Lane Cove and Abbotsford Sailing clubs the next weekend. The NSW State championships also act as the selection series for the Australian team to compete againsed New Zealand, in the 12’ Skiff Interdominion Championship which is to be held in Brisbane in January 2013
Garde (Brett Hobson and Brad Phillips) currently lead the 2012 Lincoln Crowne State Championships after winning all 3 heats at the weekend.
Heat 1 was sailed in a light Northly breeze. All skiffs electing the big rigs for the later afternoons long race.
Geotherm, Skiff.org.au and Variety all got great starts and looked to lead the fleet early on.
Garde and LCC hit the right side of the course and found some Northly pressure to get right in the mix, and round the top mark in that order.
Variety and Geotherm dropped off the pace nearer the top mark, allowing Gemmell Sails to round ahead.
Rounding Shark Island was a little tighter than expected, with a slight shift to the east, and caused the top 3 boats to bunch right up.
Up the next work, LCC picked a better shift to get ahead of Garde, however both skiffs rounded the top mark simultaneously. Gemmell Sails held third place though had lost some time to the leaders.
An outgoing ship split the two leaders, with Garde going west and LCC going east favouring Garde, to reach the bottom mark (and shortened course finish) first.
Geotherm recovered well to pick up fourth place, with Variety fifth and skiff.org.au sixth.
A mid to top end second rig southerly blessed the race course for heats 2 and 3.
Geotherm blitzed the start and the first work to lead the fleet early on, from Garde, Gemmell and LCC.
Garde hit the lead down the run, LCC rounded the bottom mark just inside Geotherm, before breaking their tiller and capsizing.
Geotherm caught Garde and threatened the lead before a Port Starboard altercation between the two saw them slip back to the clutches of Gemmell Sails.
On the final work into Rose Bay, Geotherm went to the south of Shark Island to put time on Gemmell who went to the north.
Garde maintained their lead to cross the line first, Geotherm second, Gemmell Sails third.
Just behind the leading pack a battle emerged with Vantage Real Estate leading a group of boats including Hey Charger, Madonna, Skiff.Org and Hood Sails. Shark Island split this group up the last work too but Vantage Real Estate had the speed to take a deserved fourth place.
Garde got a jump on the fleet off the start line in heat 3 despite Hood Sails crossing the fleet with a brave port tack start. Garde stretched their advantage down the first run to establish a commanding lead. It was a group of Lane Cove boats that lead the chase for Garde with Gemmell Sails leading from David Winning in Madonna and Jack Winning in Vantage Real Estate.
The breeze had eased a little but harbour traffic played a part as the skiffs criss-crossed the harbour. A few skiffs chose to risk the shallows around Shark Island on the run down to Taylor's Bay but no one would get close to Brett Hobson and Brad Phillips in Garde. Gemmell Sails would take second again in front of David Winning in Madonna.
Hood Sails blitzed the handicap series over the weekend with good sailing especially in the fresher breeze on day 2.