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2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship Final Race Preview

by Frank Quealey 14 Jan 22:11 PST 17 January 2021

Next Sunday's final race to decide the 2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship should be a dramatic race as the defending champion Winning Group team goes head-to-head with the current Australian champion tech2 team on Sydney Harbour.

Unfortunately for the contest, Michael Coxon's Smeg team, which was in third place on points, retired from last Sunday's race following a collision with tech2 as the two skiffs approached the first windward mark.

As a result of the collision, tech2 was forced to retire from the race with broken rigging. A protest hearing on Wednesday scored tech2 "average points in accordance with RRS Appendix A10 (a)"

Going into Sunday's final race, the net points table shows, Winning Group on four points, tech2 on 4.3 points, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett) on ten points, Finport Finance (Keagan York) and Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones) on 12 points, and Yandoo (John Winning) on 13.

There has been little between the Winning Group and tech2 teams over the entire championship series and Sunday's race is sure to be the same.

The Winning Group team members John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton have the experience edge over their rivals but the tech2 skiff has been fast in all conditions so far this season.

Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt and Lewis Brake have produced excellent teamwork each week and will be more than a match for their opponents in Sunday's decider.

The early weather forecast suggests that a 12-knot ENE wind just before the race is due to start will become a 12-knot SE wind during the race, which will add a further dimension to the contest as crew work will be paramount.

The high-level consistency of the two teams, together with the retirement of Smeg from last Sunday's race, has allowed Winning Group and tech2 to establish a points break over the rest of the fleet, so whichever of the two teams finishes ahead of the other should become the 2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff champion.

It's sure to be a tactical match race well worth watching.

Winning Group appears to have had the edge on tech2 upwind, but the downwind speed of tech2 has seen the teams almost level at the finish of most races.

While the battle to decide the championship is the highlight, there will be plenty of great racing throughout the fleet to entertain the spectators.

If last Sunday's race can be used as a guide for Sunday, there will be little between the next eight teams, and continual positional changes all around the course.

Spectators can follow the racing each week on board the Australian 18 Footers League's spectator ferry, however due to the COVID-19 policy, numbers are limited. It is essential to book online through the club's website www.18footers.com / www.18footers.com.au/18-footers-sailing/spectator-ferry

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