Five times world champion Trevor Barnabas showed he had lost none of his winning skills when he stepped in as replacement skipper on Omega Smeg to take out Race 4 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
Barnabas, along with regular skipper Daniel Phillips and for’ard hand Jim Beck sailed brilliantly in the light breeze to record a very easy win from current Australian champion Micah Lane in Macquarie Real Estate.
Although Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Rob Bell could manage only third today in Gotta Love It 7, the placing was enough to give the young team the 2007-2008 NSW Championship.
Two wins, one second and today’s third placing gives Gotta Love It 7 an overall points total of 7 points and no other team in the fleet can match that score – even with victory in next Sunday’s final race of the championship.
Omega Smeg’s winning margin was a commanding 2mins 31secs while a further 29secs separated Macquarie Real Estate and Gotta Love It 7.
With the breeze light and somewhere between east and north-east, the starter chose to send the fleet over a four lap windward and return course.
Pure Blonde (James Francis), Gotta Love It 7, Macquarie and Club Marine (Adam Beashel) appeared to win the start at the pin end of the line but the varying wind conditions saw many changes come over the leading group on the beat to the windward mark.
Barnabas, who was always a great tactician in such conditions, outsailed his rivals and held a 30secs lead over Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) as spinnakers were set for the run back to end the first lap.
Kinder Caring Home Nursing (Brett Van Munster) was in third place at this stage, followed by Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy), Pure Blonde, Macquarie and Gotta Love It 7. which was more than one minute behind Smeg.
The red sails on Omega Smeg were dominant downwind as she trebled her lead to over Macquarie to 1min 25secs.
There were some great battles for the minor placings with Macquarie, Pure Blonde, Asko, Kinder Caring Fisher & Paykel and Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) all closely bunched as they approached the leeward buoy.
Omega Smeg was untroubled to retain the lead over the next lap of the course and led second-placed Kinder Caring by two minutes at the half way mark.
Macquarie was back in third place ahead of Asko, Pure Blonde and Gotta Love It 7 – now 3mins 30secs behind Smeg.
Over the final stages of the race all interest centred on the battle for second place.
Placings changed several times amongst a group of 5-6 skiffs.
The final placings today are provisional at this time.
Pending any protest or withdrawal from today’s race the leading net. pointscores are:
Gotta Love It 7 on 4 points, followed by Fiat on 8, Asko 10, Club Marine 13, Omega Smeg 14 and Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) on 15. www.18footers.com.au