The Smeg 18ft Skiff team of Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings grabbed a dramatic 26s win in the President’s Trophy race over a 3-buoys course on Sydney Harbour today.
After trailing De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (John Sweeny, Keagan York and Ross Finney) for the entire race, Smeg’s crew won a tactical battle over the concluding downwind leg of the course to take their narrow victory.
Third place went to Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Keiran Cowan and Stewart Wells), which finished a further 1m5s behind De’Longhi-Rabbitohs.
Another unsettled day saw the starter set a three lap windward-return course in an East/ENE breeze.
De’Longhi-Rabbitohs led the fleet to the first windward 3-buoys marks where her lead was 30s over Smeg, Asko Appliances, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) and Kenwood-Rabbitohs (Brett Van Munster).
The two leaders edged away from the bulk of the fleet downwind to the bottom mark where Smeg had reduced the margin to 15s.
Over the next lap of the course, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs sailed beautifully to open up what appeared to be a race winning lead of 2m15s over Smeg, Mojo Wine, Kenwood-Rabbitohs, Asko Appliances, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) and The Kitchen Maker (Cameron McDonald).
Smeg sailed closer to the southern shore on the work back to the final windward marks and picked up nearly two minutes on De’Longhi-Rabbitohs to trail by only 25s as the pair headed for home.
The Smeg team sailed a slightly higher course downwind and were first to drop their spinnaker. This was a winning move as Smeg passed De’Longhi-Rabbitohs only 400 metres from the finish line.
Asko Appliances was consistent throughout the race to finish third, ahead of Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Lumix and Kenwood-Rabbitohs.
Conditions made it difficult for the backmarkers Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) to get into the race and they all finished well back in the fleet.
US champion Howie Hamlin also contested the race in CST Composites as a warm up for the Giltinan Championship next week.