Defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas sailed a near faultless race in a 20-knot Southerly wind to win a dramatic Race 3 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
With just one more race to be sailed in the championship (next Sunday), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers heads the net points table on two points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 on 3, Smeg on 5, Appliancesonline.com.au and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 8.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was always in the top two throughout the race but raced away for a comfortable 1m32s win after race leader Appliancesonline.com.au broke a bobstay fitting and lost her spinnaker pole.
Smeg (Brett Van Munster, Mike McKensey, Paul Montague) also sailed strongly in the testing conditions to finish in second position with Gotta Love It 7 a further 1m20s back in third place.
Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) was fourth, followed by Yandoo (John Winning) and the very unlucky Appliancesonline.com.au (Dave Witt) a gallant sixth, without a spinnaker pole.
Today’s race began dramatically when pre-race favourite Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, John Winning Jr., Nick Catley) was recalled for breaking the start and lost all real hope of victory.
Yandoo won the race to the windward mark off Clarke Island from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Smeg and Appliancesonline.com.au and the race was on at full speed as the fleet raced towards the Obelisk mark near Sydney Heads.
It was total spectacle as Appliancesonline.com.au grabbed the lead fro Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and the chargers following close behind which included Smeg, Yandoo, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish and Gotta Love It 7 which had moved up to be mid fleet.
The work back from Obelisk to Rose Bay was an entirely different race for the spectators as it developed into a traditional match race between Appliancesonline and Thurlow.
Only 15secs separated the two teams as they set off for the bottom mark in Athol Bay but each team elected to use a different tactic to the other.
Appliancesonline set a spinnaker while Thurlow Fisher preferred a two-sail reach to clear the Bradleys Head headland.
Despite the different ideas, the margin remained similar at the Athol Bay mark and a great race was looming as the pair battled back to Clarke Island.
With just 5secs now separating Appliancesonline and Thurlow Fisher the two team again began the long spinnaker run to Obelisk but just as the crowd were settling down to a great two-boat race, Appliancesonline’s day was ruined when a bobstay fitting broke and the team lost their spinnaker pole and any hope of victory.
From that point Thurlow was untroubled to maintain the lead and was never in any serious danger of defeat.
With just two legs of the course left, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers held a 1m25s advantage over Smeg while Gotta Love It 7 had moved up to be in third position, 3m10s behind the leader.
Next Sunday’s last race of the NSW Championship should be a thriller as it will probably come down to the race winner also becoming the championship winner.
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.
Don’t miss it.