Winning Appliances JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship is being sailed on Sydney Harbour from March 4th to 13th.
by Frank Quealey
29 teams, representing USA, UK and New Zealand, as well as Australian crews from NSW, Western Australia and Queensland are competing in the world's top 18ft Skiff regatta.
Today was the Invitation Race of the Winning Appliances JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship and Western Australia’s SLAM, skippered by Grant Rollerson with crew Anthony (Jack) Young and Peter Nicholson gave a superb all round performance to easily take out the race.
Slam took the lead soon after the start in a NE 10-knot breeze over the Australian 18 Footers League’s four-laps windward-return course.
The Slam team led for practically the entire race and once they shook off an early challenge from American champions Howie Hamlin, Fritz Lanzinger and Paul Allen in CST Composites, they were in complete control before scoring a 1m15s win over CST Composites.
Australian champions Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas, in Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, finished a further 34s back in third place.
Former Giltinan champion John Harris skippered Red Claw Wines into fourth place, ahead of UK’s Jarrod Simpson in Peters & May and local NSW team on Smeg, skippered by Nick Press.
Slam and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) led the fleet on the right hand side of the course while David Witt (Queenslander 1) was amongst the leaders on the northern shore.
The southern shore proved the better with Slam and CST Composites vying for the lead as they approached the windward mark.
CST Composites crossed Slam, but Slam came back to round the mark inside CST.
Asko Appliances, Red Claw Wines, Peters & May, De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) and Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty).
The leading pair staged a good spinnaker battle downwind, back to the bottom twin rounding buoys, but SLAM proved to have the superior speed.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers stayed close to the southern shore on the spinnaker run and moved up into third place ahead of Asko Appliances and a large bunch of skiffs all coming into the marks from a variety of angles.
It was great sailing skill by all teams to avoid a collision.
Slam increased her lead over the following windward leg with CST Composites still holding second place ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Peters & May, Asko Appliances, Red Claw, Yandoo (John Winning) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney).
At the bottom mark the second time, Slam’s lead had stretched out to 50s over CST Composites with Red Claw Wines, Peters & May and Andy Budgen’s Hyde Sails all together.
While Slam held a big lead over the remainder of the course and CST Composites was always comfortable in second place, the race for the next four placings was gripping.
Defending champion Seve Jarvin and championship favourite Gotta Love It 7 team of Sam Newton and Scott Babbage did not compete in the race as Jarvin was suffering a stomach complaint.
Race 1 of the championship will be sailed tomorrow and the second on Sunday.
Tomorrow’s race will start at 4pm with a spectator ferry leaving Double Bay wharf at 3.30pm. www.flying18s.com
Video coverage can be seen also on www.18footers.com.au
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9:18 AM Fri 4 Mar 2011 GMT
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