Please select your home edition
Doyle Sails 2020 - Cruising Confidence 728x90 TOP

18ft Skiffs: Family Rivalry on the Race Track

by Frank Quealey 4 Feb 2021 23:13 PST
Vintec and Birkenhead Point Marina in last Sunday's Race 4 of the 18ft Skiff Australian Championship © Frank Quealey

For more than 100 years there has been a strong family influence over the generations in the 18 Footers.

Last Sunday, when Zac Barnabas sailed in the bow of Tom Cunich's Vintec, it created some very interesting competition within the Australian 18 Footers League's fleet at the 2020-2021 Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour.

For a number of seasons, John 'Woody' Winning and his son John 'Herman' Winning have been locking horns at the highest level as skippers of Yandoo and Winning Group respectively.

'Woody' is the 2000 JJ Giltinan, Australian and NSW champion when he skippered AMP Centrepoint to victory. 'Herman' won the 2019-2020 NSW Championship, when he skippered Winning Group to victory.

Zac Barnabas' entry into the 2020-2021 season fleet put him in direct competition with his father Trent, a multiple JJ Giltinan champion, who was in the bow of Michael Coxon's Smeg.

Unfortunately for young Zac, dad came out on top as Smeg took line honours in both races of the Australian Championship.

As well as the father and son competition, there was also family rivalry between two brothers, Cam and Charlie Gundy.

While they are each members of very talented teams, last Sunday was not a good day for either as Cam (Andoo) and Charlie (The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines) had to be satisfied with below normal results.

Another member of the Andoo team, Jeronimo Harrison is the son of a former top rating 18ft skiff sailor, who sailed in some of the leading 18s of the 1980s.

One of Jay's teams was when he sailed as sheet hand with John 'Woody' Winning (yes, the same one who is still skippering in today's fleet) and Grant Pollitt on Flora-Triple M in the late 1980s.

The Australian Championship continues this Sunday when Races 6 and 7 of the 9-race championship will be sailed on Sydney Harbour. If the racing is as good as it was last weekend, spectators, on the water, or watching through live stream video coverage, will be treated to a great contest.

There is little between the top teams. Just 13s separated the first five finishers in last Sunday's Race 5 of the championship and the winner wasn't known until the final few metres of the course.

Anyone who hasn't seen the video coverage should go to and click on the '18 Footers TV' link and check out the action.

The tech2 team lodged a protest against Smeg for a possible breach of the port-and-starboard rule in last Sunday's Race 5, however an independent protest committee hearing dismissed the protest.

Following that decision, Jack Macartney's tech2 presently holds the championship lead with a net total of five points, closely followed by Smeg (Michael Coxon) on six points.

The two teams are sure to continue their battle over the remaining four races of the championship, which is the final major event before the 2021 JJ Giltinan world Championship, which will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from March 6-14.

There is a tightly-packed group in a wonderful battle for overall third place. Finport Finance (Keagan York) is currently on 17 points, followed by Noakesailing (Sean Langman) on 18, Shaw & Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley) on 19 and Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) on 20 points.

Anyone who can't get onto Sydney Harbour to see the racing live, can catch the livestream video coverage from water level as well as the spectacular overhead drone images.

Related Articles

18ft Skiffs: John 'Woody' Winning, 70 years young
The legendary 18ft Skiff champion celebrates his birthday this week Australian 18 Footers League President and legendary 18ft Skiff champion John 'Woody' Winning celebrates his 70th birthday this week but you would never know it as the dynamic 'Woody' prepares for his 38th season of 18 footers racing on Sydney Harbour Posted on 19 Jun
18ft Skiff Mark Foy Trophy 2022 set for Lake Garda
Named after the 'father' of the class on Sydney Harbour back in 1892 When the 2022 Mark Foy Trophy international 18 footer skiff regatta is contested on Lake Garda, Italy from July 18-20, it will become the 14th regatta of the championship series to honour the name of the man who was the 'father' of the class. Posted on 15 Jun
Jamie Mears, 18 footers lose a champion
Following a tragic mountain bike accident in Italy last month The 18 footers class lost one of its champion sailors last month when UK and European champion Jamie Mears lost his life following a tragic mountain bike accident in Italy. Posted on 5 Jun
18ft Skiffs: David Witt 'ticks all the boxes'
There is a lot more to the David Witt story than many people know For 130 years 18 footer sailors have been regarded as talented larrikins who like to challenge the elements, go fast, win at all costs, have a drink and place a bet on the races. Posted on 25 May
18ft Skiffs: Gambling on the 18s
A unique part of the sport has been the gambling which has gone hand-in-hand with the sailing The nature of the boats and the men who have sailed them over the past 130 years always made 18-footer racing unique in the sailing/yachting world and one of the unique parts of the sport has been the gambling which has gone hand-in-hand with the sport. Posted on 11 May
Myra Too & Bill Barnett
Two great 18-footer champions Champion 18 footer skipper, designer and boat builder Bill Barnett won the 1948-49 Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour in a 6ft beam boat he designed and built himself, named Myra. Posted on 4 May
Christophe Favreau loves the 18ft Skiffs
French photographer made it down under to cover the world's biggest annual 18 footer event Christophe Favreau believed that he probably wasn't going to make it to Sydney for the JJ Giltinan 18 footer Championship in 2022 because of the Covid restrictions, which were being placed on international arrivals into Australia at that time. Posted on 27 Apr
18ft Skiffs: William 'Bill' Fisher
Master boat builder, champion skipper William 'Bill' Fisher was a foundation member of the League and sailed his boat Australia in the club's first. Posted on 17 Apr
The 2021-22 League 18 Footer Season review
A very successful racing season has come to an end When the Smeg team with Charmaine Hill on board won last Sunday-week's Queen of the Harbour race on Sydney Harbour, it brought a very successful Australian 18 Footers League 2021-22 racing season to an end. Posted on 30 Mar
1995 UK 18ft Skiff Grand Prix at Torquay
Watch this blast from the past with some legendary sailors Back when the 18ft Skiffs were new to the UK, the UK Grand Prix attracted sailors such as Lawrie Smith, Tim Robinson, Dave Ovington, Ian Southworth and Dave Hall. Gareth Evans presents with commentary by Malcolm McKeag. Posted on 25 Mar
Hyde Sails 2021 - Basic FOOTERLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px2 BOTTOMUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER