2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship - Local challengers
by Frank Quealey on 26 Feb 2014
2014 JJ Giltinan and Australian 18ft Skiff Nationals - While the Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage has been installed as favourite to win the 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, proudly presented by Sydney City Marine, the other top local challengers are certain to make life very difficult when the championship begins on Sydney Harbour next Saturday.
Lumix and fisher and paykel - 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship Frank Quealey © /Australian 18 Footers League http://www.18footers.com.au
Jarvin is attempting to equal the legendry Iain Murray as a six-times winning skipper of the 75 years old championship and is the defending champion.
The 2013 regatta came down to a dramatic last race to decide the winner between Gotta Love It 7 and Coopers-Rag and Famish Hotel, crewed by skipper Jack Macartney and his team of Mark Kennedy and David Witt.
Both Gotta Love It 7 and Coopers 62-Rag and Famish Hotel have new hulls in 2014 but there has been interesting crew movements in both teams.
Sam Newton returns to Gotta Love It 7 while Peter Harris goes to his former team with Jack Macartney and Mark Kennedy.
David Witt, who has been a great 18ft Skiff competitor over a long period has elected to go back to a skipper position with new boat sponsor, and 2014 JJ Giltinan Championship sponsor, Sydney City Marine. Still to win the JJ Giltinan Championship as a skipper David was for’ard hand in Tim Robinson’s 1999 champion Rockport – the first team from the northern hemisphere to win the title.
Two times winner of the championship, Michael Coxon has a strong team of Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas with him on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, while Chris Nicholson, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge make up another formidable challenger on Mojo Wine.
The racing this season has been particularly close with very little between many teams.
Last Sunday’s winner Rabbitohs-Kenwood, Brett Van Munster, Joel Castle and Kurt Fatouris, had to come back from trailing at the final mark to defeat Gotta Love It 7 by just four’s in a finish which produced a roaring crowd on the club’s spectator ferry.
Last season’s Gotta Love It 7 hull is now being sailed by Marcus Ashley-Jones, James Dorron and Jeronimo Harrison as Asko Appliances and is still showing the speed it possessed last year. This team won Race one of the Australian Championship and is sure to feature again in this tough competition.
Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings), Fisher and Paykel (Grant Rollerson, Pete Nicholson, Geoff Bauchop), Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, James Hozack, Aron Everett) and Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Paul Montague, Tom Anderson) are four tema that are just as strong in what has to be one of the strongest fleets in memory.
Another team to be considered is The Kitchen Maker, which will have its full team on board during the championship, after a few disruptions over the past month or so.
Olympic Gold Medalist Malcolm Page, Darren McKavanagh and Cameron McDonald, make yet another strong member of the local challengers.
Race Dates are:
Friday 28 February Invitation Race
Saturday 1 March Race One
Sunday 2 March Race Two
Tuesday 4 March RaceThree
Wednesday 5 March Race Four
Thursday 6 March Race Five
Saturday 8 March Race Six
Sunday 9 March Race Seven
The Australian 18 Footers League will also introduce live video coverage and continue tracking of all races.
Follow all the action on www.18footers.com.au and www.18footerstv.com, which will provide full information, race reports and progress point scores throughout the championship.