A 22-knot SSE wind provided fantastic conditions for the flying 18ft Skiffs today when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted Races 5 and 6 of the Auustralian Championship on Sydney Harbour.
Once again, the two races produced two different winners and the overall scores suggest that we are in for a great finish in the final four races.
Race 5 produced a wonderful win for the Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge, as they powered away from the opposition over the final lap of the course.
Ilve (Ollie Hartas, Pedro Vozone, Charlie Gundy) were strong challengers over the first two legs of the course but could.t match the pace of the Smeg team in the closing stages.
Smeg's final margin was 1m13s from Ilve, with Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Dan Phillips) a further 1m7s back in third place.
Appliancesonline (Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Nick Hord) finished fourth, followed by Yandoo (John Winning, Bameron McDonald, Mike Kennedy) and Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Paul Montague, Harry Bethwaite).
The conditions tested the entire fleet and there were a number of capsizes as the skiffs raced around the course.
It was a great spectacle for the crowds on the ferries.
The wind eased just a little for Race 6 and this time it was the Appliancesonline team which sailed brilliantly to quickly establish a big early lead.
As was the case in Race 5, the Ilve team was the main challenger over the first lap of the course, with Finport Trade Finance in third place.
Finport's consistency managed to get the team into second place over the final stages of the race, and Finport came hom 32s behind the winner Appliancesonline.
Race 5 winner Smeg, after a poor first lap (by that team's standards) finished strongly to grab third place ahead of Ilve, Yandoo and NSW champion The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage, Tom Quigley, Sam Ellis).
Racing continues with the final four races being held over the next two weeks.
The present points in the championship are: Smeg 18 points, Finport Trade Finance 21 points, Appliancesonline 22 points, Yandoo 23 points, with Asko Appliances and Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards,, Rory Cox, Jacob Broom) equal on 39 points.
Races 7 & 8 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday, 18 February
The Australian 18 Footers League's Spectator Ferry will follow the races.