February 7, 2016

President’s Trophy

Today’s Australian 18 Footer League’s President’s Trophy race was the final hit out for all teams prior to the start next Saturday of the 2016 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour and it also solved a problem for the Lumix team which was in need of a skipper for the regatta.

With Lumix’s regular skipper sidelined for the season with injury, there have been a number of replacements used as fill ins but getting the right man for the job wasn’t going to be easy, but they have solved the problem after Daniel Phillips led the team to victory in a come-from-behind performance.

Lumix (Dan Phillips, Aron Everett, Greg Dixon) came from a long way back early in the race to score a 42s win over Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, John Winning Jr., Nick Catley), with Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, James Dorron, Charles Dorron) another 25s back in third place.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) was a close fourth, followed by Smeg (Lee Knapton) and Triple M (John Sweeny).

Phillips, a 2000 Olympian for Australia with Chris Nicholson in the 49er class, had planned on sailing with Howie Hamlin at the JJs. When Howie was forced out with an upcoming hospital procedure, Lumix were quick to grab him for today’s race and a possible JJ start.

The win secured the position and Daniel Phillips is now officially the skipper of Lumix for the championship.

The fleet sailed the Easterly course in a 7-11-knot breeze which freshened over the final lap of the course.

Shortly after the start, the fleet split into two groups with Asko Appliances and Gotta Love It 7 leading the group on the left in Athol Bay while Mojo Wine (James Ward), Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn,) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) prominent in the middle.

As the leaders approached Shark Island, Gotta Love It 7 had edged ahead of Noakes Youth, with Asko Appliances third, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Triple M and Mojo Wine.

When spinnakers were set after the fleet rounded the first set of windward marks, Gotta Love It 7 held a 10s lead over Asko Appliances and Noakes Youth, while Triple M and Mojo Wine lead the next group.

Asko Appliances grabbed the lead at the bottom mark and led the fleet over the next three legs of the course.

Both Marcus Ashley-Jones and Seve Jarvin elected to sail entirely different courses upwind but the pair were always close when they reached the rounding marks.

Gotta Love It 7 finally got the upper hand at the bottom mark on the second lap and it looked as though the team were going to score their first win for a couple of months.

After trailing well back in the fleet after a slow first lap, Lumix began to eat into the leading group’s margin and only took the lead just before the final rounding mark.

Race dates for the 2016 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by appliancesonline.com.au, are:

Race 1 Saturday 13 February
Race 2 Sunday 14 February
Race 3 Tuesday 16 February
Race 4 Wednesday 17 February
Race 5 Thursday 18 February
Race 6 Saturday 20 February
Race 7 Sunday 21 February
(all races start at 3pm, except Race 1 and Race 6, which will both start at 4pm)

Anyone planning to follow the racing on the spectator ferry should make sure that they don’t leave it too late to buy their ticket each day or they may run the risk of missing out.
The Australian 18 Footers League have arranged for two spectator ferries on both Sundays (14 and 21 February) but you will still need to be early buying your ticket

January 31, 2016

Australian Championship Race 5

The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge are the Australian 18ft Skiff champions following a consistently impressive regatta which concluded on Sydney Harbour today.

With two wins, one second placing and a fifth from the first four races the team finished the championship with a net total of nine points, five ahead of their nearest rival Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) on 14 points.

For Lee Knapton and Ricky Bridge, it is a double national championship-winning season as the pair combined with Peter Mackie in Brydens Compensation Lawyers to win the Australian 16 Footer Championship at Hervey Bay in December.

All final placings behind the first two teams are provisional as a protest by first race winner appliancesonline.com.au for average points, if upheld, would see that team move into third place overall.

At the moment, Triple M (John Sweeny, Rob Bell, Paul Montague) is third on 21 points, just ahead (on count-back) of Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn, Rhys Mara, Daniel Nixon), also on 21 points.

The top six overall placings are rounded out by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris, Joel Castle) on 23 points and Mojo Wine (James Ward, Phil Marshall, Rick Plain), also on 23 points.

While Smeg won the title, today’s race a triumph for the experienced Yandoo team of John Winning, Andrew Hay and Jim Beck.

Yandoo’s team were superb in very difficult conditions as they scored an impressive 3m36s win over Triple M, with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel a further 36s back in third place.

With a fluctuating WNW breeze, unusual sailing conditions for Sydney Harbour, today’s race was an important hit out for the JJ Giltinan Championship, which will be sailed from 13 to 21 February.

The newly crowned champion Smeg team elected to start at the pin end of the line and, along with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Lumix (Andy Budgen) and Triple M, were soon battling for the lead.

As the fleet settled down for the work from Rose Bay to Kurraba Point, Smeg grabbed the lead off Clarke Island but shortly after the jib block exploded and the champions day was over.

In typical Westerly fashion, the breeze at the western end of the course was much lighter and tested the closely bunched fleet for the lead.

Asko Appliances led by more than 20s as spinnakers were set for the run across the harbour to the wing mark off Clarke Island.

Yandoo was in second place, followed by Gotta Love It 7, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Peroni (Nick Daly) and Triple M.

This leg and the following spinnaker leg back to the bottom mark off Rose Bay took a heavy toll on the fleet as many skiffs capsized and two collided (Appliancesonline.com.au and Compassmarkets.com) near the wing mark.

Gotta Love It 7 had taken the lead after Asko Appliances capsized, but when Gotta Love It 7 capsized near the Rose Bay mark, Yandoo took the lead and was never headed from that point.

Triple M tried to match the boat speed of Yandoo but Winning and his crew were up to the challenge and continued the good form the team has shown over the first half of the season

The Australian 18 Footers League returns to regular club racing next Sunday when it stages the President’s Trophy race. This will be the final hit out for all teams before the 2016 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship begins on Sydney Harbour on Saturday, 13 February.

Anyone planning to follow the race on the spectator ferry should make sure that they don’t leave it too late to buy their ticket as the ferries have been packed for the past few weeks.

January 26, 2016

Australian Championship Race 4

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel showed her real potential leading into the JJ Giltinan Championship next month with a great return to form to win Race 4 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Joel Castle were back to their best form today as they steered Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel to a 1m28s victory over Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, John Winning Jr., Nick Catley).

Another good performer, and a team on the improve, Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn, Rhys Mara, Daniel Nixon), was a further 29s back in third place.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) finished in fourth place, followed by Smeg, skippered today by Hugh Stodart, and Mojo Wine (James Ward).

After each team discards her worst result to date, Smeg has a total of four points, and holds a six points lead from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 10 points.

Race 1 winner Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt) is just one point further back on 11 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 and Noakes Youth on 16, then Mojo Wine and Triple M (John Sweeny) on 19.

The race was sailed in a 10-12-knot East-North-East breeze over three laps of a windward and return course set between Taylor Bay and the Beashel Buoy.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel led for the entire course.

Race 5, the last race of the championship, will be sailed next Sunday, 31st January and the Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, to follow all the action.

Anyone planning to follow the race on the spectator ferry should make sure that they don’t leave it too late to buy their ticket. The ferries have been packed for the past few weeks and late-comers risk the chance of being left behind.

January 24, 2016

Australian Championship Race 3

The Smeg team, of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey, has strengthened its grip on the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship after coming from behind to win Race 3 in a nail-biting finish on Sydney Harbour today.

After a disappointing first windward leg from the start in Taylor Bay across the harbour to Rose Bay, the Smeg crew worked their way back to score a dramatic 4s win from the NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor).

The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman, Ewan Duckworth, Charlie Gundy) was an impressive third, a further 1m8s behind Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, with Yandoo (John Winning) fourth, ahead of Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) and Alcatel One Touch (Stephen Quigley).

The win gives Smeg a total of four points from the three races of the championship sailed to date, and a lead of six points over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 10 points.

In the very light South-East wind (1-8 knots), the heavy weather specialists Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt) struggled and could do no better than 16th today, but still holds third place on 20 points.

Triple M (John Sweeny) is fourth on 21, Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) fifth on 23 and Mojo Wine (James Ward) sixth on 25 points.

With each boat’s worst placing to be discarded for the final points tally, there is likely to be some big changes over the final two races of the championship.

In the extremely light conditions, Marcus Ashley-Jones (Asko Appliances) and his team elected to sail west of Shark Island on the windward leg into Rose Bay, and the move proved a winner as Asko Appliances led Yandoo by 20s as they set off on the long spinnaker run to Robertson Point.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) was in third place ahead of Thurlow Fisher with The Kitchen Maker fifth.

Every small wind directional change was critical and the positions within this group of five teams was changing regularly, and allowed the former JJ Giltinan champion Stephen Quigley to show his skills as he brought his young team on Alcatel One Touch into the picture.

Yandoo grabbed the lead from a bunched fleet at the bottom mark and shared the lead with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel at the following windward mark off Clarke Island.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish must have infringed as the team did a penalty turn shortly after rounding the mark and lost valuable time to both Yandoo and Thurlow Fisher.

Although trailing narrowly at the Chowder Bay mark, John Winning’s Yandoo team tacked early and sailed to the western side of Shark Island while most of the other leading group elected to stay of the starboard leg across the harbour on the east of Shark Island.

The move by Yandoo’s crew was a winner as the skiff held a 55s advantage over The Kitchen Maker at the Rose Bay mark.

Conditions being what they were, it was obvious that anything still might happen as the fleet still had four legs of the course (two windward and two spinnaker runs) to sail.

Championship leader Smeg had been totally out of contention for the lead up to this point but this time the Smeg crew elected to sail the spinnaker run back across the harbour to Taylor Bay on the west of Shark Island.

Again, the move was a winner as Smeg came from a seemingly hopeless position to grab a narrow lead from Yandoo, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and The Kitchen Maker.

Smeg extended the lead to 45s over Thurlow Fisher when they worked back to Rose Bay, but as the breeze became even lighter the race became impossible to predict.

In a bowsprit-to-bowsprit finish, the supporters of the first two boats cheered their favourites home to a great finish.

While the conditions were very taxing on the competitors, the large spectator fleet were thrilled by an eventful and exciting day’s racing.

Race 4 of the Australian Championship will be sailed on Tuesday at midday. NOTE: THERE IS NO FERRY AVAILABLE TO FOLLOW THIS RACE.

January 17, 2016

Australian Championship Race 2

The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey gave an outstanding performance in extremely tough conditions to dominate Race 2 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

After trailing in third place for the first two legs of the course, the Smeg tem gave no other team a chance as they powered away in the light, shifty ESE breeze which fully tested all crews as they searched for the best conditions.

Smeg crossed the finish line 6m3s ahead of Mojo Wine (James Ward, Phil Marshall, Rick Plain) with Ilve (Oliver Hartas, Mark Muirhead, Iain Wood) a further 23s back in third place.

The victory also gives Smeg the lead in the championship with three more races still to be sailed.

Smeg has a total of 3 points, ahead of Race 1 winner Appliancesonline.co.au (David Witt) on 5, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) on 9, Triple M (John Sweeny) 12, Mojo Wine 13, with Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) tied in sixth place on 14 points.

It was a long slow day for a number of the more fancied teams as they battled to pick the fluctuating breeze.

The race from the start in Taylor Bay, across the harbour, to the windward mark in Rose Bay was critical and played a big part in what was to follow.

The lightweight Ilve crew, along with the rookie Mojo Wine team and the young Noakes Youth boys elected to sail across to the windward side of the course near Steel Point.

Only Smeg, in the middle of the course, was able to separate the trio when Smeg was third behind Ilve and Mojo Wine as spinnakers were set for the long run down the harbour to Robertson Point.

The four skiffs had already established a break over the rest of the fleet while teams such as Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Appliancesonline.com.au and Yandoo (John Winning) were struggling back towards the tail of the fleet.

Racing became much closer behind the leaders at the Clarke Island windward mark where Smeg had grabbed a 25s lead from Mojo Wine and Ilve.

Triple M had made a move to be in fourth place, followed by Noakes Youth and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), which had made a great recovery after a slow first windward leg when the crew elected to sail west of Shark Island and paid a heavy penalty.

Lumix (Brett Van Munster) was seventh, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman) and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney).

As Smeg continually increased her lead, the race for the minor placings was heating up as some of the big guns began to challenge Ilve and Mojo Wines.

Despite the challenges, it was a great credit to the two less experienced crews as they repelled their more experienced rivals and showed the overall strength of the Sydney fleet as it prepares for the JJ Giltinan Championship next month.

Race 3 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday and the Australian 18 Footers League will have a Spectator Ferry, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, following all the action.

Anyone planning to follow the race on the spectator ferry should make sure that they don’t leave it too late to buy their ticket. The ferries have been packed for the past few weeks and some followers missed out last Sunday when the ferry was completely sold out.

January 10, 2016

Australian Championship Race 1

David Witt, Tom Anderson and Tom Clout continued their outstanding form in the 18ft Skiffs this season when they brought Appliancesonline.com.au home a comfortable winner in Race 1 of the Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

Appliancesonline.com.au led for almost the entire race before crossing the finish line 1m16s ahead of second placed Smeg (Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey), with Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn, Josh McKnight, Daniel Nixon) a further 44s back in third place.

For Witt and Clout on the winner, it was a continuation of a demanding race program for the pair over the holiday break.

The two champion yachtsmen finished second, on Ragamuffin, in the Sydney-Hobart race and now look towards taking out a national title in the 18s.

For the runner-up crew, it was also a busy period of racing in another class.

Knapton and Bridge teamed to take out another Australian 16 Footer Championship and are top contenders to make it a 16-18 Footer double.

NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) sailed well to finish in fourth position, ahead of Triple M (John Sweeny) and De’Longhi (Micah Lane).

Only one skiff (Asko Appliances) of the 19 starters failed to complete the course but showed enough form over the first lap of the course to make this team one to watch over the coming month of championship racing.

While Appliancesonline.com.au took the lead immediately after the start, Asko Appliances showed plenty of upwind speed to cross Appliancesonline midway up the first beat to windward.

When Smeg was slow with a spinnaker set after rounding the Beashel Buoy, Asko Appliances was left the chase the leader down the run back to Clarke Island.

Asko Appliances actually grabbed a narrow lead as the two leaders approached the bottom mark, but Asko hit a ferry wave and the resulting capsize forced the team to retire from the race.

Left with a clear lead over Smeg, the David Witt-led Appliancesonline was never seriously challenged over the following two legs of the course in the 16-18 knot North-East wind.

The Smeg team had to keep a watchful eye on the challenges of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers but was always in control of second place.

A big performance also came from the talented young team on Noakes Youth.

This team has shown glimpses of form during the earlier half of the season, but seemed to be lacking in luck on a few occasions.

Today they were well up early, but lost a few positions during the race.

Showing championship qualities, the young team fought back to re-pass some top competitors and finish on the 18s podium for the first time as a team.

Race 2 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday and the Australian 18 Footers League will have a Spectator Ferry, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, following all the action.

Anyone planning to follow the race on the ferry should make sure that they don’t leave it too late to buy their ticket as some followers missed out today when today’s ferry was completely sold out.

December 13, 2015

Three Buoys Challenge Race 3

The Appliancesonline.com.au 18ft Skiff crew gave an outstanding performance in the 20-knot North East wind to score an all the way win in the Syd. Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.

David Witt (skipper), Tom Clout (sheet) and Tom Anderson (for’ard) quickly established a lead on the first windward leg and dominated the fleet for the entire course.

Appliancesonline.com.au crossed the finish line 1m19s ahead of Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, James Dorron, Darren McKavanagh), with Coiopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Stu Wells, Joel Castle) a further 1m4s back in third place.

Pure blonde (Nick Daly) was well placed all through the race and finished fourth, ahead of Smeg (Lee Knapton), Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn).

Today’s winning skipper David Witt will now exchange the tiller of an 18ft Skiff for the wheel of the 100ft Maxi Ragamuffin in the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race, which starts in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day.

Fellow Appliancesonline.com.au crewman Tom Clout will join Dave Witt on Ragamuffin as will Jack Macartney, who skippered Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel into third place today.

Appliancesonline.com.au’s domination began soon after the start and her lead was more than 30secs at the first set of 3-Buoys windward marks.

Nick Daly had Pure Blonde in second position ahead of Asko Appliances and Smeg, Compassmarkets.com, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and De’Longhi all bunched just a few secs. back.

Conditions were perfect for an action-packed spinnaker run into Rose Bay and the teams didn’t disappoint spectators as they raced past the spectator ferry with centreboards clearly visible.

With Appliancesonline holding a big lead for nearly the entire course, most spectator interest centred on the battle for the minor placings.

The strong Asko Appliances team won out in a fierce battle to take second placing ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and Pure Blonde.

David Witt is renowned for his fearless racing in heavy winds and his performance today brought back memories of his outstanding first day performance in the 18s as a 17-year-old in 1988.

While conditions were near perfect for the AOL team today, the racing for the major championships in the new year should be sensational with little separating many teams.

The JJ Giltinan Championship in February should be one of the best for many years.

Today’s race was the last one before the break over Christmas and the New Year. Racing will resume on Sunday, 10 January 2016 when the The Australian 18 Footers League will host Race 1 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship. The Club’s usual Spectator Ferry will follow all the action, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm.

December 6, 2015

Three Buoys Race 2

A near faultless performance by the De’Longhi 18ft Skiff crew in the 12-15knot North East wind gave the team a narrow win in the 3-Buoys Yandoo Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.

Simon Nearn, Grant Rollerson and Kieran Cowan started at the boat end of the line and were quickly in a strong leading position and lost the lead only temporarily before scoring their first win of the season.

De’Longhi took the honours by 23secs from Stephen Quigley, Thomas Quigley and Sam Ellis on Alcatel One Touch.

Rookie 18 Footer crew of James Ward, Phil Marshall and Rick Plain sailed their best race so far to finish just 10secs further back in Mojo Wine.

With the breeze hovering on the brink of the range between the #1 and #2 rigs, the selection was evenly spread between the fleet.

When the breeze favoured the East it didn’t freshen at any time and the boats with the bigger #1`rig had made the right choice.

De’Longhi and Alcatel One Touch were the first two teams to benefit from the Easterly slant just after the start and were ahead of Smeg (Adam Beashel) and Yandoo (John Winning) as the fleet began their work to the first set of windward marks.

Despite sailing against the tide the lifts were all on the right hand side of the course and the fleet were spread completely across the harbour as each team searched for the best breeze.

De’Longhi gained a comfortable lead after rounding the windward mark but the race behind the leader was intense with nine or ten skiffs separated by just a few secs.

At the end of the first lap of the course, De’Longhi was ahead of Smeg and Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) with Mojo Wine and Alcatel One Touch close behind.

De’Longhi continued to maintain the lead on the following windward leg but Mojo Wine began to put pressure on the leader with opposing tactics down the second spinnaker run.

As the fleet headed back for the final triangular lap, the De’Longhi team had a race on its hands as the rookie Mojo Wine team began to put even more pressure on their more experienced rivals.

The handicapping system was well in play as the three leading teams approached the final set of windward buoys.

While De’Longhi and Mojo Wine were required to go to the ‘blue’ marker, Alcatel One Touch only had to go to the nearer ‘red’ mark.

This allowed Alcatel One Touch to grab the lead from De’Longhi and it then became a drag race home down the final spinnaker leg.

Alcatel One Touch led to the wing mark off Rose Bay but couldn’t hold off the final dash by De’Longhi which went on to win a really entertaining race in front of a good spectator fleet.

Next Sunday’s club race will be for the Syd. Barnett Memorial Trophy, and is the final race before Christmas.. The Australian 18 Footers League will have a Spectator Ferry, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, to follow all the action.

November 29, 2015

Three Buoys Challenge Race 1

The Appliancesonline.com.au team sailed a brilliant race in the 20-knot North-Easertly wind to take out the W.C. (Trappy) Duncan Memorial 18ft Skiff Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.

David Witt (skipper), Tom Clout (sheet) and Tom Anderson trailed by 40s at the end of the first lap of the course but revelled in the testing conditions to go on to a comfortable victory.

Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York, Craig Ferris, Darren McKavanagh) finished 1m22s behind the winner to take second position, with the NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers a further 1m7s back in third place.

It was a great effort by the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers crew of Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas, as the trio had to recover from an early capsize while sailing to the long mark on each of the three laps of the course.

De Longhi (Simon Nearn) sailed consistently to finish fourth, ahead of Smeg (Micah Lane) and Yandoo (John Winning).

These conditions usually take a toll on the number of finishers in the race but today all 18 starters completed the course.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (James Dorron) won the start at the boat end of the line while Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) were best served at the pin end.

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel produced excellent boat speed to the windward Beashel Buoy to lead from Gotta Love It 7 and Lumix (Brett Van Munster).

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had to tack quickly to avoid a collision with Gotta Love It 7 and capsized as the skiff approached the mark.

Holding a handy lead as the fleet raced in to the wing mark off Shark Island, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel also capsized, leaving Gotta Love It 7 with the lead over a charging fleet.

The 7 team increased the lead to 40s at the bottom mark off Clarke Island with Appliancesonline.com.au moving into second position ahead of Compassmarkets.com, Lumix and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, which had made an amazing recovery.

Witt and his Appliancesonline.com.au team were applying the pressure to Gotta Love It 7 and grabbed the lead at the following windward mark, which set the scene for a great spinnaker battle down the middle run back to Clarke Island.

The two skiffs raced at top speed with just a few metres between them but the 7 team were unable to catch Appliancesonline.com.au as the pair turned the corner for the final windward beat back to the Beashel Buoy.

Appliancesonline.com.au held the advantage upwind, before a capsize and broken pole forced Gotta Love It 7 to limp home in 17th position 17 minutes behind the winner.

Next Sunday’ club race will be for the Yandoo Trophy. The Australian 18 Footers League will have a Spectator Ferry, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, to follow all the action.

November 22, 2015

NSW Championship Race 4 & Club Championship Race 4

The Yandoo crew of John Winning, Jim Beck and Cameron McDonald won a dramatic Race 4 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

Winning, who has been sailing 18ft Skiffs for 40 years on the harbour, and his team grabbed the lead shortly after the start and sailed faultlessly to score a narrow victory over Smeg.

Yandoo crossed the finish line 15s ahead of Smeg (Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey) with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, John Winning Jr., Nick Catley) another 18s back in third place.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O�۪Connor, Trent Barnabas) finished fourth today, but the placing was good enough to give the defending champion team overall victory.

Appliancesonline.com.au (Tom Anderson) was fifth and winner of the Cordukes Clubhouse Trophy. Sixth place went to Lumix, with Brett Van Munster on the helm.

The race produced a near disaster when the highly talented Noakes Youth team (Ash Rooklyn, Josh McKnight, Daniel Nixon) collided with a Manly Ferry.

After the race, a shaken Ash Rooklyn realised how lucky his team were and said they simply didn�۪t see the ferry or hear a warning sound.

A nearby rescue craft quickly grabbed the boys from the water but another rescue boat following soon after hadn�۪t noticed the move and there was panic as its crew thought the sailors were under water.

Fortunately all ended well for the three crewmembers.

The race began in a 12-knot North East breeze with Yandoo and Smeg soon staging a battle for the lead.

Gotta Love It 7, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Appliancesonline, The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman), Mojo Wine (James Ward)and De�۪Longhi (Simon Nearn) were in the next group, but spread across the harbour.

At the Beashel Buoy windward mark, Yandoo held a 20s lead over Smeg with Gotta Love It 7 just 5s further back.

With a strong East influence in the breeze the fleet made a spectacular sight as all teams had to gybe at least twice before running in to the Rose Bay wing mark.

There was little change at the head of the fleet over the next two legs of the course but Winning and his team had extended Yandoo�۪s lead to 45s at the bottom mark off Clarke Island.

Gotta Love It 7 was just ahead of Smeg, with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers fourth, followed by Appliancesonline and Lumix.

The next windward leg back to the Beashel Buoy saw Gotta Love It 7 reduce Yandoo�۪s lead from 45s to 5s and it looked as though the red machine was going to reproduce the all too familiar sight of victory in a North East wind.

Winning�۪s team weren�۪t about to let that happen and matched 7s boat speed and tactics all the way in a most impressive exhibition of precision sailing.

The Smeg team also produced a great final lap of the course and raced alongside Gotta Love It 7 down the final two spinnaker legs.

Gotta Love It 7 needed to finish second or better to take the overall championship but couldn�۪t get past the Australian 16 Footer champions on the Smeg skiff, and lost the championship on countback to Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.

Next Sunday�۪s club race will be for the W.C. ���Trappy�۪ Duncan Memorial Trophy. The Australian 18 Footers League will have a Spectator Ferry, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, to follow all the action.