The first three race days have produced a wide variety of conditions. Race 1 was sailed in a 7-15-knot NE wind, Race 2 was abandoned when 40-knot (plus) winds swept over the course, then last Sunday a 20-knot Westerly wind tested the fleet.

Despite the vastly different conditions of the two races completed so far in the championship, the two main contenders for the title (if Race 2 is re-sailed) have provided spectators with extremely close racing during both races.

In Race 1, the Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) was ruled out of the race for being over the start line within one minute of the start, but continued to sail the course and finished just ahead of tech2 (Jack Macartney), which was declared the official winner.

In last Sunday’s Race 3, the two talented teams were at it again with Winning Group leading narrowly for almost the entire race before being run down by tech2 over the final stages of the race.

It was a brilliant race in the 20-knot Westerly wind and provided spectators with one of the best 18ft Skiff races seen on Sydney Harbour in recent seasons.

Incredibly, as the two flying machines raced downwind over the 1.8 nautical mile spinnaker run from Kurraba Point to the bottom mark in Rose Bay, they completed the run in exactly the same time as each other.

Winning Group led by 12s at the windward mark at Kurraba Point and still maintained a 12s lead at the Rose Bay mark.

With another 20-knot wind forecast for next Sunday’s Race 4, this time from the ESE direction, we can hope for more high-speed, close racing throughout the 18-boat fleet.

While a lot of attention has centred on tech2 and Winning Group so far, a number of other teams have been competing without some of their usual crew members, and stronger challenges are guaranteed as those teams return to full strength.

Most notable are Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones) which finished an impressive third, just 13s behind Winning Group, last Sunday, and Smeg (Michael Coxon) which finished fourth without two of her regular crew members.

Three more teams expected to show out on Sunday are Yandoo (John Winning) which recently won the seven-race Spring Championship, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett), which broke gear just before the start, and Finport Finance (Keagan York) which also failed to make it to the start.

The strong winds over the past 5-6 weeks have made life difficult for the new teams as they try to settle into the class.

Sunday’s race is the final one before the Christmas-New Year break. Racing will resume on Sunday, January 10 with Race 5 of the NSW Championship.

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 www.18footers.com 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 www.18footers.com by clicking on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.

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

Club Website www.18footers.com
Twitter @18skiff
Instagram @18skiff
Facebook International 18Ft Skiff

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.