Please select your home edition
SW newsletters (top)

Gladwell's Line: Three-peat in the JJ's - a first for a non-Australian crew

by Richard Gladwell, 22 Mar 2020 18:33 PDT 22 March 2020
Brad Collins, Matt Steven and Dave McDiarmid - Honda Marine - JJ Giltinan 18ft Championships - March 2020 - Sydney Harbour © Michael Chittenden

Highlight of the week just past has been the win by Honda Marine in the JJ Giltinan 18ft Championship in Sydney.

It is the third successive win for Dave McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins, and arguably it should have been their fourth after their Appeal was upheld on the 2017 event, but only went to a re-hearing a few weeks before their first win in the JJ's in 2018.

That 2018 win was the first for a New Zealand crew since 1974 when the McDell brothers and Peter Brooke sailing Travelodge won on the Waitemata.

Honda Marine is just the third boat in 18ft skiff history to win the JJ Giltinan Trophy on three successive years, and the first non-Australian boat to achieve that feat. In addition, all the wins were on Sydney harbour - which has long been a graveyard for New Zealand hopes of winning the trophy since it was first sailed in 1938.

Honda Marine won four races, in the nine-race series, finishing out of the top three in only one race.

Before he left for Australia, Dave McDiarmid told Sail-World that their preparation was a little late this year, due to the birth of a daughter, and really only got into the boat after New Year. He also hadn't watched a single race of the Sydney 18ft season on Youtube. They had a couple of new jibs from North Sails NZ, and that was it.

They had been pushed in New Zealand by C-Tech (Alex Vallings), and Maersk sailed by a young crew, in their first season together. Four boats contested a very windy New Zealand nationals, while the Sydney-siders enjoyed lighter breezes. In the JJ's there was a good mix of breeze - often all within one race. Their ability to change gears, get good starts (in the front row), and always keep the race leader under pressure gave Honda Marine their winning edge.

Dave McDiarmid and his crew made some very astute calls around marks. They were usually able to make a better call than the locals, often picking up a better wind angle and more pressure, which paid huge dividends on occasions.

If you'd not known any different and had to pick the boat with the best local knowledge, it would have been Honda Marine. Theirs was a remarkable performance in many respects.

Many thanks to NZ photographer and videographer, Michael Chittenden for the images used in this story. Michael is one of the Camera Cat crew - who bring you the live coverage - and always has a camera handy. Michael has been shooting all skiff classes in Sydney for many years including the Hystericals (Classic 18s), 18fter, 16fters and smaller.

Related Articles

Letter from the Antipodes: New York pops surprise
Kiwis win 470's; Solid start in Finns ; New York YC delivers Mother's Day surprise Comment on the Kiwi win in the 470 Europeans in Vilamoura. Two Emirates Team New Zealand sailors are topping the Finn Gold Cup, and reaction to the New York YC America's Cup Challenge and draft Protocol. Posted today at 9:11 am
Sail-World NZ: May 11 - Latest NZ and World News
Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for May 11, 2021 Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for May 11, 2021, as with last week this edition comes to you from Melbourne, we return tomorrow. Posted on 11 May
Hello, my old friend…
So I put the word out... it got heard… and how! So I put the word out back in 52 pick up. At any rate, it got heard… And how! Posted on 9 May
Gladwell's Line: Pressing ignition on pro-sailing
The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage by COVID The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage to the COVID pandemic - here's a look at how SailGP and the America's Cup coped, plus the 2024 Olympic event quandary. Posted on 6 May
More Grit!
Our good friend, inspirational sailor, champion human being: Jeanne Socrates Sounds like the title to a new Western movie. Perhaps even the sequel to True Grit. Alas, it is not. It is a reference to our good friend, inspirational sailor, and champion human being, Jeanne Socrates. Posted on 4 May
Sail-World NZ: May 4 - Latest NZ and World News
Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for May 4, 2021 Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for May 4, 2021 Posted on 4 May
52 pick up
Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Where the playing cards are held between the thumb and index finger, flexed down, and then sprayed out to a jumbled mess on the floor. Posted on 25 Apr
Can You Feel It?
Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Some of the names that went into included the exceptionally talented, and most sought after Greg Phillinganes on ivories, and then one Venetta Fields. Posted on 11 Apr
America's Cup: Two feet
A unit of measurement, avatar and a couple more often helpful in sailboat racing It can be a unit of measurement. Also the very extremities you use for balance when standing up. Then on March 5 this year, we saw that they can even belong to an avatar assisting you and your cause via reinforcement learning. Posted on 28 Mar
Sail-World NZ: March 24 - Kiwis defend Cup
Few commentators, this one included, would have picked that the 36th America's Cup would have sat on Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for March 24, 2021 Posted on 23 Mar
MBW newsletters (top)