Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas won a sensational Race 3 of the N.S.W. 18ft Skiff Championship, after they were the only team to complete the course without capsizing in the strong southerly wind which prevailed on Sydney Harbour today.
They took full advantage of a spectacular capsize by Smeg (Trevor Barnabas, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings) on the final spinnaker run to defeat Smeg by 30s , with Race 1 winner Lumix (Jonathan Whitty, Greg Dixin and James Hozack) a further 6m28s back in third place.
The win by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers also gives the team a one point lead in the championship (3 points) from Lumix (4 points).
It was another day to forget for the defending champions Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage on Gotta Love It 7, which had two capsizes before coming home in fourth place for a championship total of 13 points.
The race was delayed for 30 minutes due to the strong winds and when the fleet finally lined up for the start the action came thick and fast.
Smeg, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 won the start while at least three skiffs were capsized on the start line.
Yandoo (John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson) were recalled but the day got worse later for this top team when they capsized near the Shark Island mark and ‘Woody’ Winning was knocked unconscious.
He was later taken to hospital for precaution.
Gotta Love It 7 and Smeg led the fleet to the first windward mark where 7 held a 2s break over Smeg, with Asko Appliances in third place and Thurlow Fisher close behind.
As the two leaders raced across the harbor under spinnakers, the race took a new turn when Smeg managed to cross a passing Many Ferry and raced away while 7 was forced to flag the spinnaker to get past the ferry.
The incident was costly as it allowed Smeg to open up a 30s break at the following mark.
Smeg retained a similar margin after the next windward beat but Gotta Love It 7 capsized on the bear-away as the crew went for the spinnaker set, which allowed Thurlow Fisher Lawyers to grab second place.
Smeg continued to lead around the next three legs of the course with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers a clear second ahead of Gotta Love It 7.
On the final spinnaker run Smeg looked to be in control but a loss of wind momentarily threw skipper Trevor Barnabas overboard and the crew had to watch as Thurlow Fisher Lawyers went past under spinnaker.
Eight images from today’s race are attached, along with the official result sheet.
More images will appear on www.18footers.com.au and www.flying18s.com.
Full video coverage of the race can also be seen on http://www.18footerstv.com.
Supporters are also reminded about the PICK THE PODIUM contest.
It’s free to enter and there are prizes which go off in every race at the Australian 18 Footers League.
To enter, simply log onto www.18footerstv.com and make your selections from the next race.
Race 4 of the N.S.W. Championship will be sailed next Sunday 11 December with the last race of the championship on 18 December.
The usual spectator ferry will follow all races, leaving Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse and rigging area, at 2.15pm.