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18ft Skiff NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour - Races 3 & 4

by Frank Quealey 3 Dec 2023 01:40 PST 3 December 2023

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 and a double victory for the oldest competitor in the fleet.

It was an incredible performance by the 71-year-old John 'Woody' Winning and his Yandoo team mates, Fang Warren and Lewis Brake, who led all the way to win the first of two windward-leeward races then backed up to come from behind on the final leg and grab a late win in the second race.

In the first race, after starting at Taylors Bay on the northern side of the harbour, Yandoo's team elected to sail a course to the RHS of Shark Island on the beat to the weather mark in Rose Bay, on the south.

The team grabbed a narrow 8s lead at the mark and were never headed as they increased its lead over the three laps of the course to score a 1m39s win over Balmain (Henry Larkings, Fynn Sprott, Miles Davey), with Your Name Here (Kirk Mitchell, Andrew Stephenson, Daniel Barnett) a further 14s back in third place.

Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis) finished in fourth place ahead of Smeg (Nathan McNamara) and Shaw & Partners Financial Services (Emma Rankin) in sixth place.

The strong winds became even stronger in the following race, and race officials took the decision to reduce the race to a two-lap event rather than the originally planned three laps.

The unsponsored Your Name Here, which continues to improve with every race, shared the lead with Finport Finance at the weather mark in Rose Bay and sailed extremely well to only go down to the more experienced Yandoo team on the final run to the finish by 1m9s.

Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn, Cam Walker, Brandon Buyink) finished another 1m9s further back in third place, ahead of Rag & Famish Hotel (Tom Needham), Finport Finance (Micah Lane) and Andoo (Seve Jarvin).

An incident involving one of the teams is subject to protest and will affect the provisional result of Race 4 as well as the progress points within the top third of the fleet.

Provisionally, with her two wins, Yandoo leads the progress point scores at the end of today's racing with a total of 6 points, followed by Your Name Here on 13, Andoo on 16, Rag & Famish Hotel 22, Finport Finance 24 and Smeg on 30 points.

The performance of the Balmain team in Race 4 was impressive, and certainly spectacular, but unfortunately for the team, ended badly, when it capsized in a wild bear-away after rounding the final weather mark in the lead.

A handicap section was sailed in conjunction with each of today's races and resulted in wins for Yandoo and Your Name Here.

These are part of the League's Season Point Score (SPS) series, which is presently being led by Yandoo from Fisher & Paykel and Shaw and Partners Financial Services.

Races 5 and 6 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday, December 10. Races 9 and 10 of the Season Point Score will be held in conjunction with the NSW Championship races.

The club's regular spectator ferry is now back in action and leaves Rose Bay Public Wharf (old wharf) at 2pm each Sunday.

For those unable to get the spectator ferry, you can still join the Australian 18 Footers League's 'Alternative Ferry in the League's clubhouse and enjoy all the racing action LIVE 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 Club's website and clicking on the TV link.

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