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Australian 18ft Skiff Championships 2013 - Light wind drama

by Frank Quealey on 27 Jan 2013
Gotta Love It 7 leads the fleet down the run Frank Quealey /Australian 18 Footers League http://www.18footers.com.au
The Australian 18ft Skiff Championship 2013 suddenly turned wide open and the outcome will likely come down to next Sunday’s final race of the series following an incredible Race Four on Sydney Harbour on Sunday.

After one hour, 15 minutes and 58 seconds of sailing, Race Officer Garry Linacre shortened the course when the fleet was practically becalmed after only one lap of the three-lap North East course.

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Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings) crossed the line 24 seconds ahead of Gotta Love It 7, John Stanley (replacing Seve Jarvin), Scott Babbage and Peter Harris.

Team Daly (Nick Daly, John Walton, Peter Nicholson) was a further one minute 15 seconds back in third place, ahead of Appliancesonline.com (Micah Lane), Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) and defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon).



Allowing for discards, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers leads the championship with a total of five points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 on six and Smeg on seven.

To complicate the situation, if teams finish on equal points after next Sunday’s race, Thurlow Fisher and Smeg both have two wins so far, while Gotta Love It 7’s points have been accumulated with three second places.

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After yesterday’s strong winds, and predicted 15-25 knots winds again this afternoon, all teams elected to go with their smaller no.2 rigs.

It was an interesting race to the windward mark at Beashel Buoy with the fleet split into two distinct groups by an outgoing container ship.

Those on the south side of the ship fare better and Gotta Love It 7 held a 25 seconds lead from Appliancesonline.com when spinnakers were set for the run back to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island.



Yandoo (John Winning) was a further 15 seconds back, then Lumix headed a group including Coopers-Rag and Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), Smeg and Team Daly.

Gotta Love It 7 was impressive downwind and opened up a big break over her challengers on the run into the wing mark.

But that’s where it all ended as the fleet ‘parked’ after the skiffs cleared the wing mark.



Smeg picked up some private air and took a narrow lead from Gotta Love It 7 and, although it took another 40 minutes or so, held the lead to win as the course was shortened.

The Australian 18 Footers League had changed the previous rule which did not permit the ‘shortening of course’ in its races, and so today created history as the first 18ft Skiff race where the course was officially shortened.

Race 4 of 18ft Skiff Nationals 2013 (Top-5 finishers)

1.) Smeg (15:55:58)
2.) Gotta Love It (7 15:56:22)
3.) Team Daly (15:57:37)
4.) Appliancesonline.com.au (15:59:02)
5.) Lumix (15:59:38) 18ft Skiff Nationals 2013

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