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Yandoo set to take 18ft Skiff Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour

by Frank Quealey 16 Nov 2022 03:52 PST 16 November 2022

The John 'Woody' Winning-led Yandoo team of sheet hand Fang Warren and bowman Josh Porebski has taken an almost unbeatable lead in the Australian 18 Footers League Spring Championship as the fleet prepares to line up in next Sunday's final race of the series on Sydney Harbour.

Following some very consistent performances, Yandoo went into last Sunday's two races with a narrow (three points) lead in the championship, before a win and a third placing in the two races 'catapulted' the team to a 14 points margin over its closest rival, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines team of Alex Marinelli, Darcy McCracken and Matt Doyle.

Yandoo has a total of 23 points, followed by The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines on 37, Smeg (Michael Coxon) on 38, Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley) 43, Birkenhead Point Marina (Kirk Mitchell) 45, Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 46 and Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price) which are tied for seventh place on 53 points.

With 17 boats expected to compete in Sunday's race, Yandoo only has to compete and complete the course to almost be assured of victory.

Even if Yandoo completes the course in 17th place, (in a NO DROP points series) her total could be no worse than 40 points and that means only The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines and Smeg have the potential to score a lower total by one, or possibly, two points.

Yandoo's results last Sunday has resulted in a time penalty which will see the team starting from the back mark (scratch) and giving starts of up to 10 minutes to other competing teams.

While this makes Yandoo team's task that much harder to record a victory, John 'Woody' Winning says "it's an honour to be sailing from scratch and we're looking forward to the challenge."

It was 'Woody' who introduced the unique 3-buoys handicapping system to the 18s several years ago and he also believes strongly in the re-handicapping of boats which won, or were placed, in the most recent race.

"It gives every team the potential to win a race so long as they perform to the level of their allocated handicap. It also provides closer racing for both the competitors and spectators."

Woody's claim is definitely on the mark as there have been six different winners from the six races sailed so far in the series.

The performance of the seventh-placed Rag & Famish Hotel team (Harry Price, Josh McKnight and Harry Hall, along with Angus Williams who has been a replacement for Josh for the past two weeks) has been outstanding as the team wasn't able to get its new hull on the water before Race 3 of the series.

Since joining the series in Race 3, Rag & Famish Hotel has recorded placings of first, third, fourth and fifth and has been in or near the lead in each of the four races before the 3-buoys handicapping buoys have been introduced into the race.

Spectators can follow Sunday's action on board the club's spectator ferry, as they have done for the past 87 years, which leaves Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse at 2pm.

Booking online through the club's website www.18footers.com is essential, 18footers.com/18-footer-racing/spectator-ferry

For anyone who can't make it out onto the water, the League's live broadcast team will be out 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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