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18ft Skiffs: 18 footer season starts next week

by Frank Quealey 9 Oct 2022 13:01 PDT 16 October 2022
Balmain Slake © Frank Quealey

The 2022-23 Sydney 18 footer racing season starts next Sunday (October 16) when the Australian 18 Footers League conducts Race 1 of the annual Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour.

A fleet of up to 18 boats will line up for the opening race which will be raced over a 3-buoys course with all teams having a maximum opportunity under the handicapping system being used in the seven-race series.

Racing in the Spring Championship will then continue each Sunday with points accumulating over each race to determine the winner after Race 7 on November 20.

New boats and new team combinations will join last season's established teams to provide the usual early season action for the spectator fleet and patrons on board the League' spectator ferry.

The 2021-22 Spring champion The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines team members have retired from the 18s this season and are replaced by a young crew of Alex Marinelli, Matt Doyle and Darcy McCracken

One of the pre-series favourites for the series is John 'Woody' Winning and his Yandoo team of Fang Warren and Mike Kennedy, who were narrowly beaten in last season's club point score. The experienced team will compete in the same skiff, which performed so consistently in the 2021-22 season.

Other established teams which are expected to produce good early season form include Smeg (Michael Coxon), Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn), Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis), Finport Finance (Keagan York), The Kitchen Maker (Lachlan Steel), Noakes Youth (Tom Cunich) and 18 Footers Bar & Restaurant (Pedro Vozone).

Two of last season's rookie teams, Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price) and Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings) will both have brand new Van Munster-built hulls and each is expected to feature in the NSW, Australian and Giltinan world championships later in the season.

John Winning Jr. returns to the 18s this season to skipper the 2022 JJ Giltinan World champion Andoo and will retain two of the championship winning crew, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton in the new campaign.

The young Lazarus Development team, led by Hugo Stoner, will be looking to build on their experience from 2021-22 while a totally rookie team, led by Nathan McNamara, are about to embark on their first 18 footer experience.

Once the 2022-23 season gets under way next Sunday, spectators can follow the action on board the club's spectator ferry, as they have done for the past 87 years. Booking online through the club's website is essential,

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