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18ft NSW Championship starts Sunday on Sydney Harbour

by Frank Quealey 19 Nov 21:20 PST 22 November 2020

The Australian 18 Footers League's fleet takes the first step towards the 2021 JJ Giltinan World Championship, in March, when it lines up for Race 1 of the NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour on Sunday.

Early weather predictions of a 14-knot NE/ENE breeze will likely re-enforce the favouritism of the current Australian champion tech2 team for the opening race.

Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt and Lewis Brake have been in great form during the season opening Spring Championship and have been outstanding in the NE conditions.

Unfortunately for tech2's opposition, the team has been just as impressive in most of the other conditions sailed so far this season.

Despite giving starts to every boat in the League's 18-boat fleet, tech2's form was so good that it enabled the team to finish runner-up, behind the series winner Yandoo.

Jack Macartney is naturally happy with the tech2 team's form. "We've had a strong start to the year and sailed well through a variety of conditions which is a result of our effort."

"Charlie and I only sailed half a season last year but we managed to perform very consistently to win the Australian Title and Club championships. But we didn't get the result in JJ's we wanted and felt that to beat the kiwis (in particular) would take further effort and really getting our boat handling to a strong level."

"Our combination has cemented now and the addition of Lewi in the bow has been very important. He and Charlie grew up sailing together and have an automatic fluidity onboard which helps our crew work to happen smoothly."

"They are both very analytical and keen to understand how to sail these great boats at a top level, so our focus is on continuing to improve each week with a view to winning the JJ's."

"Personally, I'm enjoying the sailing more than ever and looking forward to competing each week - we are pretty fortunate to be racing around Sydney Harbour during these times!"

The three biggest challenges to tech2 are likely to come from the defending NSW champion Winning Group, Smeg and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines.

Each of these three teams have had an unsettled start to the season due to several crew changes for a variety of reasons.

After missing most of the Spring Championship, John Winning Jr. was back in charge of Winning Group last Sunday and will be a major force with the multi JJ Giltinan-winning Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton in the team.

Three times JJ Giltinan champion Michael Coxon also missed most of the early races in Smeg, and will be missing again on Sunday, but once the full team of Coxon, Ricky Bridge and Trent Barnabas are all back together it will also be a force.

Last season's most consistent performer, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines got off to another good start before skipper Aron Everett was 'grounded' because of COVID-19 regulations.

Everett, a pilot with QANTAS, was scheduled for flights to Victoria and, as a result of interstate regulations, has been unable to skipper 'The Oak' for the past two weeks.

Spring champion Yandoo (John Winning), Finport Finance (Keagan York), Bird and Bear (Tom Clout), Noakesailing (Sean Langman) and Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones), along with The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Anthony Young) also have the ability to figure prominently in the overall standings at the end of the five-race series.

Aside from the other experienced teams, there are four rookie teams, Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley), Vintec (Tom Cunich), Birkenhead Point Marina (Tim Westwood) and Lazarus Capital Partners (Lachlan Steel), which will be contesting their first major 18 Footer series.

NSW Championship Race Dates:

  • Sunday November 22 - Race 1
  • Sunday November 29 - Race 2
  • Sunday December 6 - Race 3
  • Sunday December 13 - Race 4
  • Sunday January 10 - Race 5
Spectators can follow the racing on board the club's spectator ferry, however due to the COVID-19 policy, numbers are limited.

Booking online through the club's website www.18footers.com is essential. See www.18footers.com.au/18-footers-sailing/spectator-ferry

For those unable to make it out onto the water, AeroMedia Live Broadcast team will be on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action. Live streaming is available at www.18footers.com by clicking on the '18 Footers TV' link.

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