Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Nathan Ellis showed they are back to their best form when they steered Fiat home a comfortable winner of Race 5 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour Sunday.
The trio took the lead from the start and were never headed at any of the buoys before going on to their 24secs win over the championship winner, Gotta Love It 7, crewed by the new NSW champions Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Rob Bell.
Third home today was the fast finishing Club Marine, skippered by Adam Beashel, which was a further 24secs behind Gotta Love It 7. Fourth placing went to defending champion John Winning in Ssangyong Yandoo, followed by Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane), which finished fifth and Active Air-2UE (Matthew Searle) sixth.
There were protests lodged after the race covering two incidents, but subject to the results of these protests the final points for the top six placegetters in the championship are:
Gotta Love It 7 (6 points), Fiat (8), Asko Appliances - Hugh Stodart (13), Club Marine (16), Ssangyong Yandoo (21) and Rag & Famish Hotel – John Harris (22).
The race was sailed in a patchy 12-18 knot north east breeze and most of the fleet was underpowered with their No. 2 rigs. Fiat led narrowly at the windward mark from Asko Appliances and the pair raced with little between them to the wing mark before Asko was forced out with a broken spinnaker pole.
From that point the Fiat team was never really troubled to record their win.
Active Air-2UE was well in contention over the first lap of the course and was in second place ahead of Gotta Love It 7 as the fleet headed up the second windward leg. A group of skiffs approached the leeward mark together as the fleet completed the first lap of the course and this is where the protests were lodged involving four skiffs.
Fiat continued to lead clearly over the second lap of the course and held a 40secs advantage over Gotta Love It 7 as they went to windward for the third time. Ssangyong Yandoo had moved into third place but was under pressure from Club Marine which was reveling in the conditions with her bigger #1 rig. Active Air-2UE was back in fifth place, followed by Macquarie Real Estate, Fisher & Paykel, Rag & Famish and Pure Blonde.