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JJ Giltinan Trophy- Wild day gives Gotta Love It 7 fifth JJ 18fter win

by Frank Quealey and Sail-World on 24 Feb 2013
Gotta Love It 7 - Race 7, JJ Giltinan Trophy, 2013, Sydney Harbour Frank Quealey /Australian 18 Footers League

Gotta Love It 7’s Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage and Peter Harris became the 2013 champions when the took out Race 7 of the Winning Group JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, the defacto World titles on Sydney Harbour today.

Following yesterday’s wipe out in Race 6 of the championship, because of high winds, it all came down to today’s final race in a strong North-East wind, gusting to 30kts with Gotta Love It 7 and Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel level on a net 8 points.

Allowing for discards being introduced, Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, David Witt and Mark Kennedy) had to finish within the first three placings today and ahead of Gotta Love It 7 to win the title.

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed] A great start by the ‘7’ crew saw the red flying machine quickly take the lead from The Rag as the fleet sped off towards Bradleys Head.

Gotta Love It 7 maintained her advantage over Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel, and when the latter team capsized near the Beashel Buoy the title was as good as won by ‘7’.

With their main challenger out of contention, the ‘7’ crew appeared to sail more conservatively (if you can sail an 18 conservatively in a 25-knot North East wind) as Thurlow Fisher Lawyers led the fleet down the spinnaker legs back to Clarke Island.

The final race was sailed on the back of a front which hit Sydney, yesterday and overnight, bring heavy rain and strong winds, causing at least two deaths. The same front forced officials to call off racing yesterday, with even stronger winds experienced. Today eight boats elected not to race, because of the conditions.

In a note to the race results for Heat 7, Principal Race Officer, Garry Linacre commented: ' Today's wind average around 22kts. The strongest wind we saw was 28kts. Yesterday we had an average windspeed of 27kts and we saw many puffs above 30kts. The strongest on Rippleside was 40kts. I fully stand by the the decision not to race yesterday, Garry L'

In the build up to the regatta, regarded as the unofficial World Championship of 18fter sailing, Gotta Love It 7 suffered severe damage in a high speed capsize, and had an urgent rebuild at van Munster Boats in the week leading up to the regatta.

Spectators aboard the two club controlled ferries and others in a variety of vessels following the race were treated to some of the most spectacular action the 18s can provide.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) led until the final rounding mark at Rose Bay but put on a performance to be remembered.

They had capsized on the second windward leg but came back to lead the fleet home, before a spectacular capsize on the gybe as the crew ‘gunned’ it hard.

7’s crew saw the swim and quickly pulled their kite down for the run between the islands to the finish.

New Zealand’s C-Tech (Alex Vallings, Josh McCormack and Peter Burling) finished 34s behind Gotta Love It 7, with Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel coming home another 3m15s back in third place.

The final placings in the championship gave Gotta Love It 7 (9 points) a two points victory over Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel, with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers third on 19 points.

C-Tech also finished the series on 9 points but lost to Thurlow Fisher on a countback.

Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings) was fifth on 21 points and (Micah Lane, Paul Montague, Tom Anderson) sixth on 34 points.

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