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JJ Giltinan: Top two Kiwi crews in protest room after Race 1

by Richard Gladwell, 2 Mar 2019 15:20 PST 3 March 2019
Honda Marine battle for the lead at the bottom mark on the first lap in race 1 of the 18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan Championship © Frank Quealey

The two top Kiwi crews will both be in the protest room on Sunday morning or Monday following incidents in Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan Championship.

The Defending Champion Honda Marine (David McDiarmid) turned in a superb sailing performance after getting a conservative start, and then worked her way into the lead in a sea breeze that was officially recorded at 14-15kts, but had significant shifts and holes in pressure.

The incident with Defending Champion Honda Marine came as the leaders rounded the leeward Mark 2 for the first time. The mark was laid very close to Shark Island with the commentary team expressing concern as to whether there was sufficient depth of water for the boats to pass between Mark and the island.

Asko, the first skiff to round the mark took the cautious route, passing as close to the mark as possible, and hitting it as the Sailing Instructions allow. The Mark passed under her wing touching only once and was clear after three or four seconds.

Honda Marine took a similar course to Asko and also made contact with the mark, however it bounced twice as it passed under the wing before floating clear, and returning to its original position.The third yacht Winning Group rounded the mark which was not moving and in its original position when she passed it just under 10 seconds after Honda Marine.

The rest of the fleet rounded without touching the mark, obviously now confident that there was sufficient depth of water.

Honda Marine has been protested for hitting and shifting Mark 2, with Winning Group claiming it was left out of position - which does not seem to be supported by the video evidence.

Honda Marine went on to win the race by a large margin, showing very good speed and excellent boat positioning on the tricky Sydney Harbour course - which was carrying heavy water traffic throughout the race.

In the instructions 12.4 allows The inadvertent touching of a mark (but not attaching to or shifting a mark) is permitted. In the event that a mark is engaged causing it to shift or becomes attached to a skiff, RRS 31 in its entirety shall apply. This amends RRS 31.

Premature start?

The second incident occurred at the start, where the Race Committee made the individual recall signal accompanied by a single blast of a horn, which is clearly audible on the video.

No boats returned, and the two boats adjudged to be premature starters were ASCC at the leeward end of the line, and Asko in the middle of the line, but alongside a yellow marker which was offset behind the start line.

During the race commentators swung variously between saying there was a clean start, repeating the call from the race committee that two boats were over, and then saying that all boats were clear.

At the end of the race both boats were given a sound signal to say they were recorded as finishers, however on the results they were shown as premature starters and ASCC has challenged that call by officials.

Video of the start shows that ASCC was well behind the start line at start time, and in fact crossed the start line 8 seconds after the sound signal.

ASCC (Josh Porebski) crossed the finish line in fifth place. She placed second in last years regatta - an outstanding achievement for a crew sailing in their first JJ Giltinan Championship.

The hearing may not take place until Monday - which is a rest day for the fleet.

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