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Vaikobi 2020 - LEADERBOARD 1

18ft Skiff NSW Championship Update: Decison still pending on abandoned race 2

by Frank Quealey 9 Dec 2020 21:46 PST 13 December 2020

With a decision still pending about the outcome of the abandoned Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship, the series is in an unusually unclear position as it goes into Race 4 on Sydney Harbour next Sunday.

As a five-race championship, each team can discard its worst performance, but as a four-race series there is no provision for a discard so the decision will have an impact on the points table as many teams, including the defending champion Winning Group, currently have large discards.

That aside, the first three race days have produced a wide variety of conditions. Race 1 was sailed in a 7-15-knot NE wind, Race 2 was abandoned when 40-knot (plus) winds swept over the course, then last Sunday a 20-knot Westerly wind tested the fleet.

Despite the vastly different conditions of the two races completed so far in the championship, the two main contenders for the title (if Race 2 is re-sailed) have provided spectators with extremely close racing during both races.

In Race 1, the Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) was ruled out of the race for being over the start line within one minute of the start, but continued to sail the course and finished just ahead of tech2 (Jack Macartney), which was declared the official winner.

In last Sunday's Race 3, the two talented teams were at it again with Winning Group leading narrowly for almost the entire race before being run down by tech2 over the final stages of the race.

It was a brilliant race in the 20-knot Westerly wind and provided spectators with one of the best 18ft Skiff races seen on Sydney Harbour in recent seasons.

Incredibly, as the two flying machines raced downwind over the 1.8 nautical mile spinnaker run from Kurraba Point to the bottom mark in Rose Bay, they completed the run in exactly the same time as each other.

Winning Group led by 12s at the windward mark at Kurraba Point and still maintained a 12s lead at the Rose Bay mark.

With another 20-knot wind forecast for next Sunday's Race 4, this time from the ESE direction, we can hope for more high-speed, close racing throughout the 18-boat fleet.

While a lot of attention has centred on tech2 and Winning Group so far, a number of other teams have been competing without some of their usual crew members, and stronger challenges are guaranteed as those teams return to full strength.

Most notable are Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones) which finished an impressive third, just 13s behind Winning Group, last Sunday, and Smeg (Michael Coxon) which finished fourth without two of her regular crew members.

Three more teams expected to show out on Sunday are Yandoo (John Winning) which recently won the seven-race Spring Championship, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett), which broke gear just before the start, and Finport Finance (Keagan York) which also failed to make it to the start.

The strong winds over the past 5-6 weeks have made life difficult for the new teams as they try to settle into the class.

Sunday's race is the final one before the Christmas-New Year break. Racing will resume on Sunday, January 10 with Race 5 of the NSW Championship.

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. 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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