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18ft Skiff 2023-24 Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour Race 5 preview

by Frank Quealey 31 Oct 22:56 PDT 5 November 2023

The 2023-24 Australian 18 Footers League's Spring Championship has produced some close, exciting racing in each of the four races sailed so far and the outcome is far from definite as only five points separate the top four boats with two more races still to be sailed on the 3-buoys Sydney Harbour courses.

Race 5 will be sailed next Sunday (November 5) and the final race on November 19.

There is no discard allowed in the series and podium finishers are penalised for the following race, so teams presently just outside the top group are also well poised to take the championship title.

Following a top class performance against some of the more experienced teams in the fleet, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines crew of Jacob Marks, Alex Marinelli and Matt Doyle have edged away, by just one point, from the defending champion Yandoo team of John 'Woody' Winning, Fang Warren and Josh Porebski.

The young Oak Double Bay crew's third placing in last Sunday's race has come with a penalty of one minutes for next Sunday's race which adds more pressure on the up-until-now unflappable form.

Mansheet hand Alex Marinelli was skipper last year when runner-up to Yandoo, but handed over the helm to 16-year-old Jacob Marks, who he has previously coached.

According to Alex, "Jacob is very level headed and shows no emotion under pressure on the race track, and along with Matt Doyle, we all work well together."

Without being over-confident, the young team is looking forward to the challenge.

The introduction and success of new, young skippers and crews since the departure from the 2023-24 fleet of long-time 18 footers stars such as Michael Coxon, Jack Macartney, Marcus Ashley-Jones and Sean Langman has been eye-opening.

As League Commodore says, "We have been working hard at this. Constant work in progress and we are already talking to the guys bound to the worlds - most of whom have already been guest sailors in our fleet."

"The results are already starting to come through with the squad of young sailors competing in our fleet, such as Henry Larkings and Jacob Marks, etc."

The leading teams on points, after the first four races of the Spring Championship, are:

19 The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines, Jacob Marks, Alex Marinelli, Matt Doyle
20 Yandoo, John Winning, Fang Warren, Josh Porebski
21 Balmain, Henry Larkings, Fynn Sprott, Flynn Twomey
24 Fisher & Paykel, Jordan Girdis, Josh Feldmann, Jacob Broome
29 Shaw and Partners Financial Services, Emma Rankin, Cam McDonald, Tom Quigley
30 Smeg, Nathan McNamara, Jed Cruikshank, Jack Taylor

Don't forget, you can join the Australian 18 Footers League's 'Alternative Ferry in the League's clubhouse and enjoy all the racing action LIVE next Sunday on the massive screen broadcasting the SailMedia Livestream camera cat coverage of the racing, and there will be special drinks and food offers for those attending who wish to support their favourite team.

It's a really unique way to celebrate the great racing we have seen at the start of the 2023-24 season and all 18 footer supporters are welcome to come down to the clubhouse 'Alternative' Ferry.

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 direct link here.

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