It’s no surprise the Rag & Famish Hotel 18ft Skiff team is continuing to grow into one of the top competitors for the 2012 Giltinan Championship.
The three members of the team are not only experienced 18ft Skiff sailors, but each has family members who are part of 18 Footers history.
Skipper Jack Macartney was part of the 2007 Australian Championship-winning Macquarie Real Estate team and is presently having his second season as skipper in the class. His father Bill Macartney was the driving force behind Grand Prix Sailing in the 1990s and is the man responsible for the most spectacular 18ft Skiff videos ever seen.
Sheet hand Mark Kennedy won the 2000 World 29er Championship and, since coming to Australia three years ago from New Zealand, has been skippering his own skiff before joining ‘The Rag’ team this season. Mark’s brother Scott has been a top New Zealand 18ft Skiff skipper for several seasons (although he is not sailing an 18 this season). His father Lindsay was also a top 18ft Skiff skipper in the late 1970s and represented New Zealand at Giltinan Championship regattas.
Third member of the team is for’ard hand Peter Harris, who has crewed with top teams for nine seasons and won the NSW Championship in 2009. Peter’s brother is John Harris who has won Giltinan and Australian championships in the 18s and was 2008 World Moth champion.
The combination came together only in October but have already won two of the eleven races sailed so far, and figured prominently to finish sixth in the NSW Championship. In the inaugural 3-Buoys Challenge Series, they finished second behind the 2011 Giltinan Champion Gotta Love It 7 team – losing only to ‘7’ on a count back.
Their three year old Rag & Famish Hotel boat was brought up to current specification only six months ago when class builder Van Munster Boats added a new deck to the existing hull. They recently added a revolutionary new #1 rig, in conjunction with Bruce Hollis from Ullman Sails.
'We assessed the current developments at length with reference to everything getting stiffer and bigger', Macartney said. 'We opted to go with a ‘round’ head mainsail as we felt it has potential for better end-plating (or air flow) than the typical bat wing. Like all things in the skiffs the development requires time on the water to fine tune the rig and find the sweet spots. We are starting to get there.
'Working with Bruce is excellent, he is not about quantity but rather quality. His input this season has been great and we have a huge amount of confidence in his knowledge and ideas.
'We are improving each week. The 18s are very much about time-on-the-water, building your team and learning to tune the boat properly, which is where our minds are now. We have a great boat and platform to work off and we’re looking forward to the rest of the Aussies and, of course, the JJs', Macartney added.
The Rag & Famish Hotel sponsorship also has a strong family association with the 18s. Peter Calligeros has continued the sponsorship started by his late father George in the 1990s and which produced the 2001 Giltinan Championship winner.
It would be a great result if the Rag & Famish Hotel team could win Race One of the upcoming Giltinan Championship as the winner also has the name added to the George Calligeros Trophy.
The 2012 Giltinan Championship will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from 17-26 February. www.18footers.com.au www.flying18s.com