Sam Newton, Steve Jarvin, and Scott Babbage make up the Gotta Love It 7 team who took victory in the Giltinan, European, and NSW Championships to become the world’s greatest 18ft Skiff team, but the victory that they achieved in the Australian 18 Footers League’s Beko 3-Buoys Challenge was just as good as any of the major championship wins.
They began the Challenge Series as 'scratch' boat (along with appliancesonline.com.au and Smeg), giving starts up to two minutes to past Giltinan and Australian Championship-winning teams.
An immediate success in Race 1, despite their handicap, meant '7' had to suffer a further three minutes penalty which sent champion teams such as Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Yandoo (John Winning) out to five minutes and four minutes respectively.
A 13th placing in Race 2 (ahead of only four boats) was the result and most followers thought their handicap was going to prove far too much even for the talented Gotta Love It 7 trio during the rest of the series.
Giving all teams a minimum of three minutes in Race 3 and five minutes in Race 4, Gotta Love It 7 continued to show great upwind boat speed and 'height' to accumulate sufficient points through consistency to beat Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy) on a count back.
In the circumstances, the Gotta Love It 7 performances were outstanding and have established the team as a clear favourite to defend their N.S.W. Championship title when the 2011-2012 series begins on Sydney Harbour this Sunday.
The inaugural 3-Buoys series was a great success and produced five race winners from the five races.
Good crowds followed the event on the club's spectator ferry. Patrons were treated to an extra bonus last Sunday when two former Giltinan champions and a current Extreme Sailing team skipper were there to watch the harbour action.
Five times Giltinan champion Trevor Barnabas, first UK Giltinan champion Tim Robinson (1999) and Adam Beashel, skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand in the Extreme Sailing Series were interested supporters as the 18s contested the last race of the series in a North-East breeze.