Please select your home edition
Edition
Vaikobi 2019AUG - Leaderboard 2

New team challenges for the 18ft Skiff Australian Championship

by Frank Quealey 14 Feb 2019 22:25 PST 17 February 2019

One of the highlights of the Australian 18 Footers League's 2018-2019 Season has been the emergence of a young The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone team as a leading contender for the top honours in the major championships on Sydney Harbour.

Skipper Jordan Girdis, sheet hand Lachlan Doyle and for'ard hand Tom Quigley were all rookies in the 18s just two years ago, now they are only one point from the lead heading into the final weekend of the 2019 Australian Championship.

Jordan and Lachlan are now having their third season together after joining the 18s in 2016-2017. Along with Nathan Edwards, they won the 2017-2018 Spring Championship in Panasonic Lumix and were rewarded by a move into their current skiff, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone.

Tom Quigley came into the 18s at the same time as part of a crew skippered by his father, Stephen Quigley.

Steve is not only a former JJ Giltinan (world) champion, in 1996 in AEI-Pace Express, but is one of Australia's most respected yachtsmen. He has been in a technical and performance advisory role, sailing with the incredibly successful Sydney-Hobart maxi, Wild Oats XI team for the past six years.

Tom was a member of the 2017-2018 NSW Championship-winning The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone team, which was led by former JJ Giltinan champion Scott Babbage, who is now sheet hand on another top contender, Bing Lee.

When Girdis and Doyle moved into The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone, they joined with Tom for the first time and the new team immediately showed its capabilities with some consistently impressive performances.

Now the team could become Australian 18ft Skiff champion by Sunday.

The final two races of the nine-race Australian Championship will be sailed on Sydney Harbour next Sunday (17 February) and the title is still very much up-for-grabs with only four points separating the top five teams.

After each team discards its worst race performance so far, Asko Appliances (James Dorron) leads the points table on 14 points, followed by The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone and Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) on 15, Bing Lee (Micah Lane) on 17, and defending champion Smeg (Michael Coxon) on 18 points.

With such a narrow spread of points over so many teams, the result must come down to the final race on Sunday probably even the final leg of the course in the last race.

Despite conceding experience to each of their main rivals, Jordan Girdis and his team are not over-awed by the challenge

"With all the top boats so close, everyone will have to be on top of their game, nothing is certain."

"The nationals have provided a range of breezes, from drifter to survival conditions."

"We have worked hard on our manoeuvres, which has opened up a lot more options over the racecourse."

Speculating about Sunday's final races, Jordan seems ready to go.

"It really could come down to some match racing in the final heat. Bring it on."

As for the team's future, Jordan says: "We are very happy with our improvement, but the good thing is that we still feel like there is a long way to go."

Although the lead is small, James Dorron and his recently-crowned NSW champion team on Asko Appliances must be confident of adding the national title to the state crown, but Dorron is not 'speaking up' the team's chances.

"It's good racing for all teams at the moment and the Australian Championship shows this with five boats in contention with two races to go."

"It could go either way for all five teams and we (Asko Appliances) know that, given that we came back from three points behind on the last day to take the state title."

"Looking forward to Sunday, it will be good for the spectators and, hopefully, things go our way."

The variety of wind conditions during the championship has been incredible.

On Day 1 there was very little wind, then on Day 2 the fleet was battered by a 25-30-knot Southerly. Day 3 produced the best conditions, a 17-20-knot North East breeze, before it was back to 5-12-knots last Sunday.

For the final two races, early predictions are for 18-20-knot North-East winds, and a fine sunny day, which should provide the spectator fleet with some tremendous 18ft Skiff action.

Whichever team eventually becomes the 2019 Australian champion will have really earned the victory and given it a great boost of confidence for the JJ Giltinan Championship, which will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from March 2-10.

For those who can't make it onto the water: Live streaming is available on 18FootersTV 18FootersTV.

Related Articles

18ft Skiff Australian Championship day 1
Finport Finance team totally dominate the racing The Finport Finance team of Keagan York, Matt Stenta and David Ewings totally dominated the racing in a 8-12 knots SSE wind to lead the fleet after the two-race opening day. Posted on 19 Jan
18ft Skiff NSW Championship overall
Tech2 showed that the Winning Group may have a tougher battle ahead The Winning Group team of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton didn't start in today's final race of the NSW Championship as the team had already won the title but today's winner Tech2 showed that the Winning Group may have a tougher battle ahead. Posted on 12 Jan
18ft Skiffs: 'The Ocean Challenge'
One of the most spectacular 18ft Skiff races in the sport's more than 125-year history When the Australian 18 Footers League's 2019-2020 Season resumes racing on Sunday, January 12, it will be 35 years since the club celebrated its 50th Anniversary in January 1985 by staging a unique event. Posted on 8 Jan
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Race 4
Smeg sailed beautifully in 12-16 knot NE wind to take the win The Smeg crew of Micah Lane, Ricky Bridge and Peter Mackie sailed beautifully in the 12-16 knot NE wind to take out Race 4 of the NSW Championship, but it was the second-placed Winning Group which has wrapped up the championship Posted on 15 Dec 2019
18ft Skiff Supercup on Sydney Harbour
Eight former JJ Giltinan champions and other top 'guest' skippers race The Australian 18 Footers League conducted the second 'Supercup' on Sydney harbour this evening when they invited eight former JJ Giltinan (world) champions as well as several other top names from the world of 18ft Skiff Racing to become guest skippers. Posted on 13 Dec 2019
Vaikobi and the 18 footers
Vaikobi have just launched new 18 foot skiff Vaikobi have just launched our new 18 foot skiff in partnership with our friends from Shaw and Partners Financial Services. The skiff has an awesome team of James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite and Tim Westwood, who are the current Champions. Posted on 11 Dec 2019
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Race 3
Winning Group went into today's race on Sydney Harbour as a hot favourite After two outstanding wins in the first two races of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship, Winning Group went into today's Race 3 on Sydney Harbour as a hot favourite to extend her lead in the championship Posted on 8 Dec 2019
Winning Group setting the standard
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Race 3 taking place this Sunday The Winning Group 18ft Skiff team has set the standard with its domination of the first two races of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship, presently being sailed on Sydney Harbour Posted on 6 Dec 2019
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Race 2
The Winning Group team of John Winning Jr. take the win The Winning Group team of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton gave a brilliant exhibition to dominate the fleet and take out Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today. Posted on 1 Dec 2019
18ft Skiff NSW Championship continues on Sunday
Jack Macartney returns to the class after a two-year break After a two-year break from sailing in the 18ft Skiffs, Jack Macartney returns to the class full time this season as skipper of a new skiff, sponsored by tech2, which will have its first race on Sunday in Race 2 of the NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 29 Nov 2019
SOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS728-X-90 BottomMelges 14 2019 FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 2