A rig choice in the park at Double Bay was critical to the Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel’s victory in Race 5 of the Winning Group 2013 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour on Wednesday afternoon.
With the ESE breeze on the edge of the 1 and 2 rigs, the teams electing to go for the bigger rigs won the day as they filled four of the top five placings.
Jack Macartney, David Witt and Mark Kennedy took the honours in Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel by just 18s from Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings).
Top NZ pointscorer, C-Tech (Alex Vallings) was forced to withdraw after a collision with The Kitchen Maker, helmed by 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Malcolm Page. C-Tech withdrew immediately after the incident, while Page attempted to sail further in the race before also withdrawing. The incodent was the subject of a protest being held on Wednesday evening.
On overall points the collision has not had that significant effect on C-Tech, she is probably and outside chance only to win the series, but she does have an excellent chance of placing in the top three overall.
John Winning, Andrew Hay and Jim Beck had their best result of the championship when they brought Yandoo home in third place, 1m16s behind Smeg.
Allowing for each skiff discarding her worst performance in the regatta, Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel joins Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), which was placed fourth today using the smaller 2 rig.
Top visitor in today’s race was New Zealand’s Yamaha (David McDiarmid) in fifth place, followed by Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane).
Gotta Love It 7 and Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel each have a total of 8 points after discard, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) on 14, Smeg 17 and New Zealand’s C-Tech (Alex Vallings), also on 17.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers got a ‘flyer’ at the start and was 22s ahead of Coopers-Rag & Famish at the windward mark.
Brisbane 18 Footers (Daniel Jack) was in third spot, ahead of Lumix (Jonathan Whitty), ASCC (Murray England, New Zealand) and Appliancesonline.com.au.
After a bad start Gotta Love It 7 was well back in the fleet.
Thurlow Fisher and ‘The Rag’ had a great battle downwind, then on the work back to Clarke Island, where Thurlow Fisher had increased her lead to 30s.
Appliancesonline was now third but Smeg was beginning to move up ahead of Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Gotta Love It 7, Yandoo and Pica (James Mears, UK).
The Rag’s bigger sail again came to the fore on the reach into Chowder Bay where the two boats rounded together for the beat across the harbour into Rose Bay.
With Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel holding a narrow lead over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers as the pair set spinnakers for the run back across the harbour to Taylor Bay, Thurlow’s race fell apart when skipper Michael Coxon fell overboard.
The incident is a massive setback to the team, which was previously only two points from the lead going into today’s race.
Over the final legs of the course, Smeg put out a strong challenge to The Rag but the experience on board the Rag covered Smeg’s every move in a great finish.
The Rag’s for’ard hand David Witt, who is one of the sport’s great characters, wasn’t short of a comment after the race.
'Did you notice how the top three teams were all the older guys in the fleet'.
'The younger generation will have to toughen up', he quipped tongue in cheek.
Race 6 on Saturday starts at 4pm and Race 7 on Sunday at 3pm.
The spectator ferry leaves Double Bay Wharf 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of each race. There will also be two ferries for Race 7 on Sunday.
Live Tracking: click here
Video Coverage and ‘Pick-the-Podium’: click here
For the official leaderboard: click here
Coverage is also available at www.18skiff.com
Today’s race sponsored by Smeg
by Frank Quealey
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12:40 PM Thu 21 Feb 2013GMT
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