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18ft Skiffs: Supercup Series preview

by Frank Quealey 23 Feb 23:23 PST 26 February 2021

Some of the world's best 18ft Skiff Racing champions will be among the guests on display on Friday (February 26) when they skipper boats in the Australian 18 Footers League's annual 'Supercup' series on Sydney Harbour.

Former JJ Giltinan World champions, an Olympic two times Gold Medalist, international speed record holder, along with Round-the-World and America's Cup competitors as well as other international champions, will skipper boats from the League's 18-boat fleet in an attempt to become the 2020-2021 'Supercup' champion.

The event will be conducted over three races on specially-designed courses to maximise the skills of the teams and provide spectators with non-stop action.

A cumulative pointscore over the three races will determine the winner.

JJ Giltinan World 18ft Skiff champions likely to compete in the 'Supercup' include six-times champion Trevor Barnabas and three-times winner (two as skipper and one as crew) Euan McNicol. Other Australian champions include 1996 winner Stephen Quigley and 2000 winner John 'Woody' Winning.

Two other JJ Giltinan World champions in the fleet are UK winners, Tim Robinson (the first winner from the northern hemisphere) in 1999, and Rob Greenhalgh in 2004.

The list also includes:

Adrienne Cahalan was not only a highly talented competitor in both the 18ft Skiff and 12ft Skiff classes, she was a member of the crew which broke the Round-the-World speed record in 2004. In 2019, Adrienne was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and was inducted to the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame.

Sean Langman has been a successful skipper, and sponsor, in the League's fleet for many years, but his sailing credentials are breathtaking. Two highlights are the speed records set by his 60ft trimaran Team Australia in 2013. First was a new fastest elapsed time for the passage from Sydney to Hobart in February, then a record for the Trans-Tasman Ocean crossing in October.

Kevin Wadham was a champion Windsurfer before moving into the 12ft Skiffs and winning the 1978-1979 Inter-dominion championship. He joined the 18ft Skiffs in 1981-1982 season and was runner-up to the legendary Iain Murray-Color 7 team at the 1982 World Championship. He was runner-up again in 1983.

Several past 18ft Skiff sailors with impressive records in both the 18s as well as other classes will also be competingj. They include 1985 Sydney-Hobart Race winner Warwick Rooklyn, who also won the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship in the mid-1990s, 12ft Skiff Inter-dominion champions Nick Press and Andrew Cuddihy, and America's Cup competitor Adam Beashel.

Another former 18s champion is Chris Nicholson, who won three world 505 class championships then did the same in the 49er class before going on to represent Australia in the 49ers at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Chris later competed on the Grand Prix Sailing 18ft circuit before sailing in the League's fleet in 2013.

Regular club racing will continue next Sunday with Race 15 of the League's Club Championship. The race is also the final race of the championship and is the last race before the 2021 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship begins on Sydney Harbour, from March 6-14.

Spectators can follow all 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, the club's 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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