February 12, 2012

President’s Trophy

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.

February 5, 2012

Australian Championship, Race 5

With the Australian Championship title already won by the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas, today’s last race of the event on Sydney Harbour became more a final hit out for the upcoming Giltinan Championship from 17 February.

And what a race it was as the Gotta Love It 7 team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage put on an awesome display to defeat Thurlow Fisher Lawyers by 1m43s in a north-east wind which ranged between 12-15 knots.

Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings) was a further 3m17s back in third place and took second place overall in the championship ahead of Gotta Love It 7.

Today’s win by ‘7’ has certainly stamped the team as favourites for the upcoming Giltinan Championship.

After trailing Thurlow Fisher Lawyers by 10s at the first windward mark, Gotta Love It 7 grabbed the lead on the spinnaker run back to the bottom mark where she led by 20s.

7’s upwind speed on the next windward leg back to the Beashel Buoy enabled her to extend this margin to 45s, which she increased further to 1m back at the bottom mark on the second lap.

Thurlow Fisher’s crew could do nothing to stop the margin going out even further to 1m15s at the final windward mark and ultimately the 1m43s winning margin.

The overall series result was Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 5 points, Smeg 9 points, Gotta Love It 7 11 points, then Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) 21, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) 22, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) 22, Yandoo (John Winning) 23 and Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) 25.

While a lot of interest went out of the race for victory, the battle for third-to-eighth placings kept the spectator fleet’s interest at a high.

De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn) was third at the Beashel Buoy windward mark the first time with Smeg, Rag & Famish Hotel, Lumix, Pure Blonde, Appliancesonline.com.au, and Yandoo all close behind.

The spinnaker run back to Clark Island took a toll as Pure Blonde and De’Longhi-Rabbitohs both capsized and failed to finish the race.

Although trailing the leader by 3m25s at the second windward, Lumix had moved into third place, ahead of Rag & Famish, Smeg and Yandoo but positions had been changing regularly.

The battle between Smeg, Lumix, Rag & Famish, Yandoo and Appliancesonline continued for the rest of the race while an unlucky Mojo Wine finished strongly to almost join this group after an early capsize.

Mojo Wine’s crew were forced to capsize their skiff near the rocks at Bradleys Head shortly after the start to avoid a yacht that had sailed into the fleet, leaving no room for the crew to take any other avoiding action.

January 29, 2012

Australian Championship, Race 4

The Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas retained their Australian 18ft Skiff Championship title after another great win in Race 4 of the 2012 event on Sydney Harbour today.

Despite a determined challenge from the Rag & Famish Hotel team of Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers scored their third victory from the four races sailed so far and have an unbeatable lead going into next Sunday’s last race of the championship.

Thurlow Fisher’s winning margin today was 1m10s over ‘The Rag’, with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage and Troy Tindall) another 11s back in third place.

With each team allowed to discard their worst performance, the net points scored so far are Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 3 points, Smeg (Nick Press) 6 points, Gotta Love It 7 10 points, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) 14, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) 15, Rag & Famish Hotel 17 and Yandoo (John Winning) 18 points.

Following a long run of poor racing conditions this season, the fleet were sent away in a brilliant #2 sail North-East wind.

The battle for the title between Thurlow Fisher and Smeg was soon over when Smeg retired after less than 10 minutes sailing.

Smeg team later explained that they retired following an incident when they were in the wrong and collided with Beko (Nick Daly), forcing that skiff out of the race.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers led the fleet up the first windward leg to the Beashel Buoy where their margin over Lumix was 25s.

Rag & Famish Hotel was third, followed by Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Yandoo, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn) and Gotta Love It 7, which was 1m10s behind the leader.

A massive change came over the fleet on the spinnaker run to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island as several skiffs came along the island with a terrific gust.

‘The Rag’ had moved into the lead with some excellent tactics, from Lumix and Thurlow Fisher, while Gotta Love It 7 had moved up into fourth place just behind Thurlow Fisher.

At the bottom mark Rag & Famish Hotel had edged out to a 45s break over Lumix and Thurlow Fisher, with Gotta Love It 7 1m10s from the lead.

Thurlow Fisher again showed her speed upwind to grab a narrow lead over Rag & Famish and from that point she was never headed.

The Rag & Famish team never gave up and kept the pressure on Thurlow Fisher but Thurlow’s superior upwind speed was too much to overcome.

Aside from the three leaders in the race, there were some good duels for the next five or six placings.

De’Longhi-Rabbitohs got the upper hand of this group to finish fourth, ahead of Yandoo, Mojo Wine, Lumix, Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) and The Kitchen Maker (Cameron McDonald).

January 22, 2012

Australian Championship, Race 2

The defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas took a tight grip on the 2012 Australian 18ft Skiff Championship after another easy victory in Race 2 of the series on Sydney Harbour today.

After trailing the early leader Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) for the first two legs of the course, Coxon and his team grabbed the lead near the Clarke Island windward mark and were untroubled over the rest of the course as they went on to win by 2m18s and lead the series with two wins and 2 points.

Second over the line today was Gotta Love It 7, which was sailed by Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and Scott Babbage. This was an excellent effort from the team with only Scott Babbage from the regular Gotta Love It 7 crew on board.

Third placing today went to Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings) which finished a further 1m3s behind Gotta Love It 7. The result was enough to place the team in second position overall on 5 points, following their second place in Race 1 last week.

Overall placings have tightened behind the two leaders.

Gotta Love It 7 is third on 10 points, followed by appliancesonline.com.au on 11, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty), Mojo Wine and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) all on 15 points.

Another group of three teams are just one point back on 16 points. Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Yandoo (John Winning).

Today’s race was sailed in an unpredictable south-east breeze which fluctuated in strength and direction throughout the race and made conditions tough for all teams.

Mojo Wine and The Kitchen Maker (Cameron McDonald) sailed a great first windward leg to lead the fleet in Rose Bay, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Gotta Love It 7 and appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane).

Mojo Wine continued to hold a narrow lead over Thurlow Fisher at the bottom mark but once Thurlow Fisher got to the lead after a long tactical battle with Mojo and ‘7’ the race was basically over.

The Thurlow Fisher crew sailed a great leg to Chowder Bay when they had to battle both the ‘tight’ wind and an incoming container ship.

Lumix was a strong finisher to grab fourth place after some early gear problems saw the team well back in the fleet.

January 15, 2012

Australian Championship, Race 1

The defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas got off to the best possible start in the 2012 Australian 18ft Skiff Championship when they won Race 1 of the series on Sydney Harbour today.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers defeated Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings) by 1m8s with Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Paul Montague, Tom Anderson) a further 1m3s back in third place.

Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Yandoo (John Winning) filled the remaining places of the top six.

A light Easterly breeze prevailed at the start and the race to the first windward mark in Rose Bay was a close contest as the fleet spread across the harbor.

Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) staged a close battle for the lead throughout the entire leg before Gotta Love It 7 finally won out.

There was little between ‘7’, Rag & Famish Hotel and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on the short spinnaker run to the wing mark off Double Bay but ‘7’ edged away to hold a 40s advantage at the bottom mark to end the first lap of the course.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had moved into second position, ahead of appliancesonline, Smeg, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn), Rag & Famish Hotel, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey), Pure Blonde, Yandoo and Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman).

Seve Jarvin and his Gotta Love It 7 team elected to sail a long port tack towards Garden Island while his challengers decided to take a more central course.

When the leaders met, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and appliancesonline crossed Gotta Love It 7 and from there the defending champions were in total control as they increased their lead to more than one minutes at the following windward mark.

Appliancesonline tried to put a challenge on the leader over the second lap of the course but was unable to reduce the margin while Smeg showed more pace to move up into third place after the long spinnaker run back to the bottom mark.

The breeze freshened a little over the final lap of the course which suited Smeg as they edged out appliancesonline at the final windward mark.

A capsize for Gotta Love It 7 on the second spinnaker run added to a disappointing day for the red flyer.

January 8, 2012

Cordukes Clubhouse Trophy

18ft Skiff Racing resumed on Sydney Harbour today when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted the Cordukes Clubhouse Trophy race over a 3-buoys North-East wind course.

With the wind up around 18-20 knots the fleet was split on the decision whether to go with the bigger #1 rig or the #2.

The Rag & Famish Hotel team of Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy elected to go with the #2 rig and the decision proved a winner as they scored an easy win after leading for most of the race.

The NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas finished 3m47s behind Rag & Famish with Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, James Hozack and Greg Dixon) a further 3m8s back in third place.

Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Rag & Famish Hotel won the start but Rag & Famish was soon in the lead on the first windward beat to the 3-buoys marks at Beashel Buoy.

‘The Rag’ held a 35s advantage over Archie Massey’s Mojo Wines with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers third ahead of Lumix, Smeg (Nick Press), Yandoo (John Winning Jr.), Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) and Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman).

After a spectacular first spinnaker run, Rag’s leading was extended to 1½m over Mojo Wine, which was just ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Lumix, Smeg and Yandoo.

There was no competitor able to match the speed of Rag & Famish Hotel which went to a 2m lead at the second set of windward marks.

From there her victory was never in doubt as the team sailed brilliantly in the testing wind to go further ahead at each rounding mark.

The Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team also did a great job under the pressure of carrying their bigger #1 rig as well as giving ‘starts’ to most of the fleet.

Strong winds between Shark and Clarke islands on the run to the finish saw a number of ‘hairy’ moments for the crews as they battled under spinnakers to make the finish line.

A special mention must also go to Nick Press (skipper of Smeg), who returned to Australia just before the race after winning his third successive 12ft Skiff Interdominion Championship in New Zealand yesterday.

December 18, 2011

N.S.W. Championship, Race 5

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas became the 2011-2012 NSW 18ft Skiff champions when they finished with a total of five points after coming home second in today’s last race of the series on Sydney Harbour.

While Thurlow Fisher took out the championship, today’s race was a one-boat affair as Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage) gave an awesome performance throughout the North-East course to score a brilliant 4m4s win over Thurlow Fisher.

Two earlier disappointing placings for the ‘7’ team saw them finish third overall on 15 points, behind Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, Greg Dixon and James Hozack), which was runner-up to Thurlow Fisher on 10 points.

Third placing today went to Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Paul Montague and Tom Anderson), which finished 55s behind Thurlow Fisher.

Fourth place overall in the championship went to Smeg (Nick Press) on 15 points, followed by Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) on 25 and

Appliancesonline.com.au on 26 points.

Most of the fleet elected to use their smaller #2 rigs today with only Smeg and Mojo Wines (Archie Massey) deciding to go with the bigger #1 rigs.

Right from the start, Gotta Love It 7 dominated the race with only Appliancesonline.com.au able to go anywhere near the red flyer.

At the windward (Beashel Buoy) mark, ‘7’ had already established a lead of more than one minute over Appliancesonline, with Rag & Famish Hotel third and Thurlow Fisher L:awyers fourth.

The lead was extended to 1½ minutes at the bottom mark to complete the first lap.

While the lead may not have been contested, the race for the next six placings was intense with little between Appliancesonline.com.au, Rag & Famish Hotel, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Lumix, Smeg and Yandoo, which was again being sailed by John Winning Jr., who was replacing his injured father.

7’s lead was out to 2½ minutes at the following windward mark and from that point the race for victory was all but over, and it was left to the race for the following six places to keep the spectator fleet’s interest alive.