The Australian 18 Footers League’s 2011-2012 Season concluded today when the club staged Race 11 of the 18ft Skiff Club Championship on Sydney Harbour.
Although finishing only fourth today, Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas won the championship in Thurlow Fisher Lawyers with an overall score of 16 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) on 35, Smeg (Nick Press) 50, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) 55, Rag & Famish Hotel on 56 and Appliancesonline.com.au (Marcus Ashley-Jones, sub today for Micah Lane) on 63.
It was also the last race together for the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team as Aaron and Trent are both retiring (hopefully only for one season) from the 18s.
The Yandoo team of John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson took out the Season Point Score trophy, which is based on the handicap performance of each boat for all club races staged throughout the season.
Today’s winner was Rag & Famishj Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy), which took line honours by 19s from Gotta Love It 7, with Appliancesonline a further 2s back in third place.
While the wind today was light and variable (4-12 knots) from the South East, the race was one of the most exciting of the season due to the extremely close battle for the lead between Rag & Famish Hotel and Appliancesonline.com.au.
Rag & Famish won the race to the first windward mark and held a 30s break over Appliancesonline as spinnakers were set for the long run from Rose Bay to Robertson Point.
Gotta Love It 7 was a further 20s back, followed by Yandoo and De’longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn).
This group held a big break over the next group, which had predominantly sailed east of Shark Island to the windward mark.
At the bottom mark, little had changed in the leading group, but the battle behind was tight amongst the next five teams.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was sixth, ahead of Beko (Nick Daly), Smeg and Fisher & Paykel, which was skippered today by Australian Cherub champion Ali Chapman – sister of the regular skipper Andrew Chapman.
Rag & Famish Hotel continued to hols her 30s lead over the next three legs of the course but a change came over the race on the spinnaker run from Rose Bay to Taylor Bay when Appliancesonline elected to go west of Shark Island, while Rag & Famish went to the east.
The move was a winner as ‘The Rag’ and Appliancesonline came into the Taylor Bay mark together.
There was absolutely nothing between the pair while Gotta Love It 7 was hovering just behind them.
Gotta Love It 7 capsized on the windward leg back to Rose Bay leaving Appliancesonline and Rag & Famish (5s apart) to fight it out for victory.
Appliancesonline was just ahead as the pair turned the final mark.
Rag & Famish tacked immediately but Appliances didn’t follow. It was costly as The Rag led when they finally met midway up the final leg to the finish.
In the fading breeze Gotta Love It 7 also closed to grab second place just metres from the finish.