After a dramatic day of 40-knot Westerly winds, which forced the Australian 18 Footers League to abandon Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour last Sunday, the championship will resume with Race 3 next Sunday in far more favourable conditions for good racing.

The weather forecast shows that a moderate14-knot South East/East South East wind will be on hand for the 18-boat fleet, which will allow all teams to use their big #1 rigs.

While most of the fleet elected to stay ashore last Sunday, the effort made by four hardy teams to battle the elements was in the true 128-year-old tradition of 18ft Skiff racing.

Yandoo, skippered by John Winning, was the first to arrive at the start line in Rose Bay, followed by Winning Group, skippered by Seve Jarvin.

Smeg, skippered by Michael Coxon, made it to within about 300 metres of the start line before being unable to stay afloat.

The only other team to brave the conditions was the team, skippered by League club Commodore Simon Nearn, which was also battered by the fierce winds on the way to the start.

With racing likely to get back to normal racing conditions on Sunday, all teams will be out to test their teamwork as well as some of their new sails.

Jack Macartney’s Australian champion tech2 team has been a very strong performer in the Spring Championship races held earlier in the season, and won Race 1 of the NSW Championship, but will be put under pressure from the defending champion Winning Group team, skippered by John Winning Jr.

While the pair are likely to share favouritism for the race, there are a number of teams more than capable of causing an ‘upset’.

Probably strongest challenger at this stage of the season is the Smeg team, led by three-time JJ Giltinan world champion Michael Coxon. As well as Coxon, the Smeg team also has world 18ft skiff champion crew members Ricky Bridge on the sheet and Trent Barnabas in the bow to round out a strong, experienced combination.

There are also a number of other teams capable of race wins and a strong championship performance.

Heading that list are The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett), Finport Finance (Keagan York) and Yandoo (John Winning), who have all began the championship with solid placings behind Race 1 winner tech2, and cannot be discounted over the remaining races.

Another large group, including experienced Noakesailing (Sean Langman), Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Bird & Bear (Tom Clout), The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Anthony Young), as well as newcomers Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley) and Vintec (Tom Cunich) have also shown they are capable of an upset.

We should have a much clearer picture of form after next Sunday’s Race 3 of the NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour.

Spectators can follow the racing on board the club’s spectator ferry, however due to the COVID-19 policy, numbers are limited.

Booking online through the club’s website is essential.


For those unable to make it out onto the water, AeroMedia Live Broadcast team will be on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action. Live streaming is available at by clicking on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.

Follow all the club’s racing throughout the 2020-2021 Racing Season:

Club Website
Twitter @18skiff
Instagram @18skiff
Facebook International 18Ft Skiff

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.