18ft Skiffs AEG 3-Buoys Challenge Race 4 preview
by Frank Quealey on 2 Nov 2012
The 18ft Skiffs AEG 3-Buoys Challenge fourth race, which marks the series halfway point, gets underway on Sunday 4th November on Sydney Harbour.
Close racing last Sunday - AEG 3-Buoys Challenge 2012 Frank Quealey © /Australian 18 Footers League http://www.18footers.com.au
Concept of the series and the 3-Buoys system is to provide an equality of competition in individual races as well as the overall pointscore, and so far this concept has certainly been upheld.
While the individual race winners have been Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Rabbitohs-Kenwood (Brett Van Munster) and Mojo Wine (James Dorron), the overall leader at this stage is Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon).
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers has a total of 15 points, and is followed on 18 points by Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman) and Mojo Wine, Rabbitohs-Kenwood on 19, Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) 20 and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) on 21.
As a protest resulting from an incident in Race 2 is due to be held prior to Sunday’s race and every team is permitted to drop their worst performance after the eight races of the Challenge, most teams are still well in contention for a part of the $10,000 prizemoney.
The racing so far has been staged in light and fluctuating breezes and, as the winners and overall points indicate, there has been no dominating performer in the fleet.
Sail Registration last Sunday will mean the fleet is sporting their new sails and masts this week, which could further complicate form.
Two important changes will also take place. Five times Giltinan champion Trevor Barnabas will skipper Thurlow Fisher Lawyers as a one week replacement for Michael Coxon and Olympic Gold Medalist Malcolm Page will skipper his 2012-2013 Season skiff, The Kitchen Maker, for the first time.
Former Australian 16ft Skiff champion James Dorron is having only his fourth race as an 18ft Skiff skipper but will be out to prove last Sunday’s win in Mojo Wine was just the first of more to come.
Two newcomer teams have already shown they have the ‘toughness’ to be real 18ft Skiff competitors.
Ollie Hartas’ Team Southern Cross crew, Daniel Watson and Rob Polec, have already finished sixth in Race 2 of the Challenge and are soon to inherit some big rig sails from John Winning’s Yandoo.
‘Skiff Chicks’ Alexandra South, Fran Dargaville and Saskia Tidey have finished each of the three races so far while using some older equipment. Thanks to the support of their sponsor, Lomax Financial Group, the ‘Chicks’ will be sporting some brand new sails as well as the #1 rig and working sails off last season’s Giltinan Championship-winning Gotta Love It 7.