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NSW 18ft skiff Championship starts Sunday

by Frank Quealey 22 Nov 22:37 PST 27 November 2022

Sunday's Race 1 of the NSW 18ft skiff Championship is the first step of a long campaign towards becoming the world's best team at the 2023 JJ Giltinan Championship next March on Sydney Harbour.

With the return of the triple Giltinan champion New Zealand team led by David McDiarmid, after Covid restrictions had interrupted its winning run in 2021 and 2022, plus an expected influx of contenders from Europe, the 2023 JJs is going to be far more competitive for the locals, despite the advantage of sailing on home waters.

The additional challenge at the 2023 championship will make it the best 18 footer regatta for several seasons but it will put more pressure on the top local teams.

Local reaction to the challenge starts on Sunday.

The Spring Championship series has given all Australian 18 Footers League teams the opportunity to tune up for the campaign ahead and Sunday is sure to bring out the best from the leading contenders.

The reigning 2022 JJ Giltinan champion Andoo team has a positional change with the return of skipper John 'Herman' Winning Jr to the fleet after missing the 2021-22 season.

Last season's skipper Seve Jarvin remains in the team and will sail on the sheet, alongside bowman Sam Newton.

The formidable, and highly experienced, team will start favourite on Sunday although there is likely to be a very strong challenge from the young, Harry Price-led Rag & Famish Hotel team, including Josh McKnight and Harry Hall.

'The Rag' team has shown great boat-speed over a variety of conditions since its new hull was launched less than one month ago.

Three other experienced teams with strong winning chances on Sunday include Smeg, skippered by four-times Giltinan champion Michael Coxon, Spring champion Yandoo, skippered by former Giltinan champion John 'Woody' Winning, and Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones), which won the international Mark Foy Trophy regatta just four months ago at Lake Garda, Italy.

Racing through the fleet is close and there will be plenty of exciting fleet action between a number of young and new teams as they challenge more experienced campaigners.

There is little between a group which includes The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Alex Martinelli), Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley), Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis), Birkenhead Point Marina (Kirk Mitchell), Noakes Youth (Tom Cunich), Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) and Ilve (Cam Gundy) and this should guarantee a great opening race of the new championship season.

Two other teams still to make their mark on the 2022-23 season are Finport Finance (Keagan York) and Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings), who are both waiting to take delivery of their new hulls.

Spectators can follow all the action from Sunday's big race, and all races throughout the full championship season, 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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