Following the intensive campaign of the JJ Giltinan Championship last week, there were many skipper and crew changes for Race 14 of the Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship on Sydney Harbour today, Sunday, 2 March 2008.
by Frank Quealey
These changes, along with a totally unpredictable light SSE wind, produced a tough race and one where many positional changes occurred throughout.
In the end, Kinder Caring Home Nursing, skippered by Brett Van Munster, took line honours by1min 27secs from Fiat, skippered today by regular sheet hand Aaron Links.
Omega Smeg, also skippered by a replacement – Jim Kerrison, was a further 1min 20sesc back in third place.
Today's win was Van Munster's first across-the-line victory since joining the 18s with a rookie crew last season, and a turnaround from last Sunday's final race of the Giltinan when Fiat had a 1sec win over Kinder Caring.
Fiat had led for the entire course but Links was denied a win at his first attempt of skippering an 18ft skiff when Fiat capsized as she approached the final rounding mark.
Kinder Caring, which had chased Fiat throughout the race, pounced on the lead and held on easily over the final leg of the course for a comfortable win.
Giltinan champion and club championship points leader Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) was on the wrong side of many wind shifts and finished in ninth place – more than seven minutes from the winner.
With just one more race to be sailed in the championship (Sunday, 16 March) and no discards applying for the series, Gotta Love It 7 has a total of 57 points lost, ahead of Fiat on 64 points, Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) 67, Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) 89, Omega Smeg 95 and Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) on 97 points.
Gotta Love It 7 won the start today at the pin end of the line but Fiat held a 30secs lead over 7 at the windward mark after sailing to the RHS of the course and to the west of Shark Island.
Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) and Kinder Caring were together, followed by Omega Smeg and Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty), which had followed Fiat to the RHS.
A tight spinnaker run from Rose Bay to Robertson Point provided spectators with an exciting spectacle.
Fiat extended her lead to 45secs over Gotta Love It 7 , but the margin was down to just 15secs at Clarke Island.
The next spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Chowder Bay produced plenty of problems for all teams as they battled wind shifts and holes in the wind.
Fiat almost capsized twice but maintained her lead. Kinder Caring outsailed the rest and moved into second place ahead of Gotta Love It 7, Fisher & Paykel, Asko Appliances, Rag & Famish and Omega Smeg.
The two leaders dominated the fleet over the Rose Bay-Taylor Bay-Rose Bay 'loop' with Fiat holding a 10secs margin as they began the spinnaker run.
Fiat looked to have the race in her keeping before the capsize, but it was a rewarding win for the Kinder Caring crew who have made dramatic progress since their 18ft Skiff debut at the beginning of the 2006-2007 season. www.18footers.com.au
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7:46 AM Sun 2 Mar 2008 GMT
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