Australian 18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Race 12 on Sydney Harbour.
by Frank Quealey
Two great 18ft Skiff crews provided spectators with a wonderful race as they battled the 20-knot southerly winds in Race 12 of the Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
After racing alongside each other for most of the long south course, the Smeg team of Nick Press, Daniel Phillips and Dave Ewings took the honours by just 13s from the Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage.
Third place went to Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Tom Clout and Drewe Waller), which finished a further 2m44s back.
Western Australia’s Slam, Grant Rollerson, finished fourth, followed by Yandoo (John Winning) ND De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn).
Yandoo leads the championship from Red Claw (Matt Searle), with Gotta Love It 7 in third place, ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon), Smeg and Rag & Famish Hotel.
All teams chose their smaller #2 rigs and it was a tight battle to the windward mark off Clarke Island where Smeg held a 5s advantage over Rag & Famish Hotel, The Kitchen Maker (Brett Van Munster), Gotta Love It 7, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, TF Collect (Mark Kennedy), Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman), De’Longhi-Rabbitohs and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley Jones)
Smeg held an 8s lead after the long spinnaker run to Obelisk Bay, then revelled in the tough conditions on the following work back to Rose Bay.
Gotta Love It 7 had good boat speed to move ahead of Rag & Famish Hotel at Rose Bay while Slam moved into fourth place ahead of The Kitchen Maker, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs, Yandoo and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.
All teams elected to two-sail reach back to bottom mark at Athol Bay where Gotta Love It 7 managed to narrowly head Smeg.
From that point the two leaders staged a match race for the remainder of the course and the crews were superb in an exhibition which produced one of the best races for some time.
With Smeg 12s ahead at the final rounding mark, the windward leg back to the finish had spectators cheering for their favourite team.
Gotta Love It 7 was ahead but Smeg’s windward position proved the deciding factor when the ‘7’ tem had to put in one last tack to make the line.
If that’s the type of racing we can expect next month at the Giltinan then we are in for one great championship.
Today’s results and more images will be published on the newly upgraded Flying 18s website
as well as on the 18 Footers website
Next Sunday will be a 3-buoys race with the usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay wharf at 2pm.
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10:13 AM Sun 13 Feb 2011 GMT
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