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

Balmain 18ft Skiff Racing Team - Ambitious young champions aim for the podium

by Frank Quealey 23 Sep 22:53 PDT

As we approach the start of the Australian 18 Footer League's 2023-24 season, with Race 1 of the Spring Championship to be sailed on Sunday, October 8, the Balmain team is looking to build on its spectacular finish to 2022-23.

Balmain's team finished 8th overall in the 2023 JJ Giltinan world Championship but it was the team's Race 8, 2nd placing in a 12-knot Nor'Easter, behind the John Winning Jr-led champion Andoo team which was the highlight of their regatta.

The young team was having only its second season in the 18s and the first in a brand new Van Munster-built skiff.

Like many new teams before them in a new boat, Larkings and his crew took time to adjust to the problems associated with setting up the new boat, but their talent enabled them to produce the season-ending highlight.

The previous Balmain skiff, in the team's initial season, was the former Yandoo, which had been perfectly set up by her experienced skipper John 'Woody' Winning and handed to the newcomers ready to race.

They took full advantage of that opportunity by winning the first race they contested in the 18s - Race 1 of the 2021-22 Spring Championship.

Balmain's skipper Henry Larkings won two Australian 29er Championships (2017 and 2018) and was the bronze medalist at the 2018 Youth World Championship in the USA on his way to joining the 18s in 2021-22.

Henry is full of praise for the League and its youth policy, which has assisted his team over the past two seasons. "The club made it incredibly easy and welcoming, and provided us with a functioning boat and all the gear; even with new sails for the season. It made it enjoyable coming into the class."

"It also supported us by having experienced 18 footer sailors help us to rig up for the first time and take us out on our first sails, and we were thrilled when we got a new 18 from the club."

"We look forward to sailing every Sunday and thank both the club and our sponsor Balmain Private, who have given us the opportunity to sail such great boats in a very competitive fleet."

Bowman Flynn Twomey, who is having his fourth season in the 18s, will be with Larkings again this season and they've been joined for the first time this season by Fynn Sprott, on the sheet.

Like Larkings, Twomey is also a product of the 29er and 49er classes where he was highly placed in Australian national / youth championships in 2016 through to 2018, ending his time in the 29er at the 2017 World Championship at Long Beach, California, finishing 16th.

More recently, Flynn contested the 2022 49er Kiel Week and European Championship at Aarhus, Denmark, and is now recognised as a leading bowman in the 18s.

Newcomer to the team, Fynn Sprott was placed 3rd in the 2018 Youth nationals and second in the 2019 29er nationals, and has previous 18 footer experience in both the 2022 and 2023 JJ Giltinan World championships.

According to Flynn Twomey, "the team have all come through the 29er and 49er classes, competing at numerous world and national championships against each other, and it's super nice to finally work together for once."

"We're satisfied with our progress in the 18s to date, now our aim for the 2023-24 season is to excel consistently at the top, we are pushing to achieve a podium at the 2024 JJ Giltinan World Championship."

The team's Balmain Private sponsor also joined the 18s in the 2021-22 season and has sponsored Larkings' team throughout their entire campaign.

Balmain Private are also confident of success for the team in 2023-24 and are looking forward to having the name on Sydney Harbour.

"Balmain, as a sponsor, enjoys supporting the local community and the historic 18 footer club and also increases the opportunity to increase public awareness of Balmain's popular monthly income investments."

"A great tournament that is fun and competitive."

Balmain Private, one of the largest non-banks in Australia, is a broad based, privately owned and operated, financial services organisation whose activities span commercial mortgage finance and investment funds management.

"It provides investors looking for regular monthly income and higher yield, the opportunity to invest in stand-alone, credit approved, registered first mortgages."

The first race of the Australian 18 Footers League's 2023-24 season is Race 1 of the Spring Championship on Sunday October 8. The event is also Race 1 of the League's Season Point Score series.

The 'Alternative' Ferry in October 2023 (Notice from the Australian 18 Footers League)

Due to public works, which is prohibiting access to Double Bay Wharf, it is a difficult exercise to run our regular Spectator Ferry for the first few weeks of the coming season. Conducting a bus service to an alternative location would not be a practical solution therefore, we have decided not to run a Spectator Ferry for the first few races.

However, we have a plan! We will run the Northern part of the 18 Footers clubhouse in Double Bay as an Alternative Ferry and have organised a massive screen to broadcast the SailMedia Livestream camera cat coverage of the racing. There will be special drinks and food offers, and our bookie will be on hand should you wish to support your favourite team.

This will provide a really unique way to celebrate the start of the 2023-24 season and all our 18 footer supporters are welcome to come down to our clubhouse 'Alternative' Ferry, starting with Race 1 of the Spring Championships on October 8.

If you can't get out onto Sydney Harbour to see the action-packed racing, or come to the club's 'Alternative' Ferry, you can catch it LIVE by going to the website and clicking on the 'live TV' button.

Related Articles

An unsponsored team challenges for the title
Put Your Name Here second on the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship leaderboard The present leaderboard at the 2023-24 NSW 18ft skiff Championship is unclear because of a complicated protest, relating to last Sunday's Race 4, which is due to be held prior to next Sunday's two races in the series on Sydney Harbour. Posted today at 6:36 am
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Races 3 and 4
25-knot southerly wind on Sydney Harbour In contrast to the light, variable conditions of last Sunday's opening day of the 2023-24 NSW 18ft skiff Championship, today's racing on Sydney Harbour was conducted in a 25-knot southerly wind which produced an action-packed day of speed racing Posted on 3 Dec
Will the feeling of déjà vu continue?
In the 2023-24 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship Fluctuating winds and a number of start and racing incidents affected Day One of the 2023-24 NSW 18ft skiff Championship, which was conducted by the Australian 18 Footers League on Sydney Harbour last Sunday. Posted on 29 Nov
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Races 1 and 2
Defending champions hold a narrow lead The defending champion Andoo team of John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton hold a narrow lead after the first two races sailed on the opening day of the 2023-24 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship. Posted on 26 Nov
18ft Skiff NSW Championship preview
The race towards the 2024 JJs begins this weekend The recently completed Australian 18 Footers League Spring Championship produced some exciting fleet racing over the past six weeks and a magnificent spectacle of unbelievable spinnaker action in a 28-knot 'black nor'easter' last Sunday Posted on 22 Nov
18ft Skiff 2023-24 Spring Championship overall
The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines became the 2023-24 Australian 18 Footer League's Spring champions The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines team of Jacob Marks, Alex Marinelli and Marc Chapon became the 2023-24 Australian 18 Footer League's Spring champions following a sensational final race of the six-race Spring Championship series Posted on 19 Nov
18ft Skiffs: Sunday's big final Spring showdown
Can the young team beat the defending champions? Next Sunday's final race of the Australian 18 Footers League's 2023-24 Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour is expected to go right down to the final leg of the course with just four points separating the leading three teams on the point score table Posted on 15 Nov
18ft Skiffs: Sponsor's Race
The Australian 18 Footers League took a step back into history The Australian 18 Footers League took a step back into history on Sydney Harbour today when it staged a non-point score Sponsors' Race, with each competing skiff carrying a fourth hand representative of the boat's sponsor Posted on 12 Nov
18ft Skiffs: The League's Youth Policy
Looking for a future world champion in Sydney The current success of the young talent in the Australian 18 Footers League's 2023-24 season fleet has the club excited about the future of the sport on Sydney Harbour and the prospects of producing more world champion sailors Posted on 8 Nov
18ft Skiff 2023-24 Spring Championship Race 5
Superior downwind speed of the Smeg team proves decisive The Smeg 18ft skiff team of Nathan McNamara, Jed Ctuikshank and Jack Taylor used its superior downwind speed over the concluding leg of the course to grab a last minute victory in Race 5 of the 2023-24 Spring Championship today. Posted on 5 Nov
Vaikobi 2023 Gloves - FOOTERPredictWind - GO! exec 728x90 BOTTOMFestival of Sails 2024 FOOTER