The Australian 18ft Skiff Championship for 2012 got underway on Sydney Harbour today.
Defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas) got off to the best possible start by defeating Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings) by 1m8s with Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Paul Montague, Tom Anderson) a further 1m3s back in third place.
Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Yandoo (John Winning) filled the remaining places of the top six.
A light Easterly breeze prevailed at the start and the race to the first windward mark in Rose Bay was a close contest as the fleet spread across the harbor. Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) staged a close battle for the lead throughout the entire leg before Gotta Love It 7 finally won out.
There was little between ‘7’, Rag & Famish Hotel and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on the short spinnaker run to the wing mark off Double Bay but ‘7’ edged away to hold a 40s advantage at the bottom mark to end the first lap of the course.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had moved into second position, ahead of appliancesonline, Smeg, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn), Rag & Famish Hotel, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey), Pure Blonde, Yandoo and Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman). Seve Jarvin and his Gotta Love It 7 team elected to sail a long port tack towards Garden Island while his challengers decided to take a more central course.
When the leaders met, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and appliancesonline crossed Gotta Love It 7 and from there the defending champions were in total control as they increased their lead to more than one minutes at the following windward mark. Appliancesonline tried to put a challenge on the leader over the second lap of the course but was unable to reduce the margin while Smeg showed more pace to move up into third place after the long spinnaker run back to the bottom mark.
The breeze freshened a little over the final lap of the course which suited Smeg as they edged out appliancesonline at the final windward mark. A capsize for Gotta Love It 7 on the second spinnaker run added to a disappointing day for the red flyer.
Next Sunday is Race 2 of the Australian Championship.
The usual spectator ferry will follow that race, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse and rigging area at 2.15pm.
Video coverage of the race on httpwww.18footerstv.com