December 4, 2016

Yandoo Trophy

James Ward, Phil Marshall and Harry West won their first 18ft Skiff race today on Sydney Harbour when they brought Triple M home a clear winner of the Australian 18 Footer League’s Yandoo Trophy.

The young team had to withstand immense pressure from the fleet’s top crews before crossing the finish line with 40s. to spare.

Following last week’s brilliant performance with a brand new #1 rig, Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt, Tom Anderson, Tom Clout) again showed the skiff to be a major threat in the upcoming championships with a great second placing.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor, Peter Mackie) finished a further 48s behind Appliancesonline, in third place.

Yandoo (John Winning) came from well back in the early stages to finish a close fourth, ahead of Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Smeg (James Dorron).

The race was a return to the 3-buoys system, following the NSW Championship, and produced some close racing in the 12-knot NE-ENE breeze.

Appliancesonline won the start ahead of a closely bunched group of challengers.

Once the race settled down, many of the leaders chose different courses as they each searched for the best breeze.

Appliancesonline.com.au, led for almost the entire windward leg with Triple M always looking in good shape to lead when the 3-buoys system came into play.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Asko Appliances, Smeg and Peroni (Nick Daly) were in the lead group while Lumix (Bryce Edwards) was also close enough to be a threat at the windward marks.

With the advantage of a red buoy rounding, Triple M grabbed the lead off Appliancesonline.com.au (white buoy) and led the fleet down the tight spinnaker run to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island.

Appliancesonline grabbed the lead from Triple M close to the mark, while Lumix, Smeg, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Peroni led the challenging group.

On the run between the islands the big Appliancesonline.com.au rig was superb as the team opened up a 40s break over Smeg and Triple M as the fleet set out on the following windward beat,

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was fourth, followed by Asko Appliances, Lumix, The Kitchen Maker (Stephen Quigley), Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York), Yandoo, De’Longhi (Simon Nearn), Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty) and Haier Appliances Pedro Vozone).

Appliancesonline continued to dominate the lead and edged further away from Smeg and Triple M on the long work back to the 3-buoys near the Beahel Buoy.

Once again, Triple M’s crew held on strongly against the top championship contending teams and regained the lead as spinnakers were set for the run down the harbour back to Clark Island.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (blue buoy) and Appliancesonline (white) were together as they chased the leader but the Triple M crew were still 30s ahead of Appliancesonline with one more lap of the course still to be sailed.

The Appliancesonline team threw everything at Triple M but couldn’t narrow the margin enough and trailed clearly as the fleet headed back downwind to the wing mark for the final time.

Despite a few anxious moments at the Shark Island mark, Triple M’s team held their composure and took the honour by a well-deserved 40s.

Next Sunday’s race is for the Syd. Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available to follow all the action.
The Spectator Ferry is also available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm.

November 20, 2016

NSW Championship Race 4

After weeks of strong winds and near-survival conditions, today’s Race 4 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship was sailed in a typically moderate summer North East wind on Sydney Harbour.

The 2016 JJ Giltinan champion Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge proved they will again be the crew to beat this season with a brilliant 1m40s win over a strong fleet.

Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Seve Jarvin, Jeronimo Harrison) finished second, with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) just 4s further back in third place.

Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) finished strongly to take out fourth place, ahead of Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) and Peroni (Nick Daly).

Smeg’s win today has also set up a great finish to the championship next Sunday as Smeg and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel are equal points leaders on 5 points.

Asko Appliances is next on 9, with Yandoo (John Winning) on 16, defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) 19, and Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty) 21.

Uncertainty about the likely wind strength before the race split the fleet rig selection, although most teams elected to go for their smaller #2 rig.

An even start saw several boats vying for the lead as the fleet made its way across the harbour to Bradleys Head, but appliancesonline.com (Tom Clout) became the day’s first casualty when they lost their jib.

A quick capsize to fix the problem put the team out of contention and Smeg immediately began to show superior speed to lead the fleet into Taylor Bay as the race settled.

The battle in the leading group was close as the fleet made its way towards the Beashel Buoy windward mark.

Smeg was first to reach the mark and established a 20s break over Asko Appliances as spinnakers were set for the run to the wing mark off Shark Island.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was in third place, followed by Noakes Youth and Triple M (James Ward), which had been declared as OCS at the start.

Positions remained unchanged after the run to the wing mark but Asko seemed to take a few secs out of Smeg’s lead as the pair began a battle for the following run between the islands.

With more East in the breeze the run became more square and Smeg had little trouble maintaining her advantage over Asko and Thurlow Fisher.

Smeg increased the lead on the windward leg back to the Beashel Buoy and the main interest began to settle on the placings behind her.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers gained on the spinnaker run down the middle of the harbour and moved into second place when Asko Appliances selected a more northerly course.

Over the final lap of the course, the breeze eased a touch and the bigger rigs on Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Compassmarkets.com and Peroni began to come to the fore as these three skiffs made big inroads towards the leaders.

Smeg headed for home with a 1m15s lead over Asko but The Rag began to apply the blow torch to the smaller rigged Asko as the pair raced with only a few secs between them to the finish.

The crew work by both teams was classy and Asko used every trick in the book to hang on by a mere 4s.

Asko’s ability to hang on and deny Coopers 62-Rag & Famish helped set up what should be a great finish to the championship next Sunday.

Race 5, the last race, of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available to follow all the action.
The Spectator Ferry is also available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm.

November 17, 2016

NSW Championship Race 5

The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge are the 2016-2017 NSW 18ft Skiff champions after finishing in second place in today’s final race of the series on Sydney Harbour.

Going into the last race of the championship tied with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), the winner was going to be the one which finished ahead of the other and for most of the race it was obvious that the Smeg team would come out on top.

A jib problem on the final windward leg caused a minor drama for the Smeg crewmen who had to make a quick ‘repair’ so they could retain their position to the Rose Bay mark.

Once they had turned for home the problem was solved as the big red spinnaker pulled them through to finish second behind the brilliant Appliancesonline.com.au skiff.

It was a brilliant win for the Appliances crew who were sailing their first race together since the JJ Giltinan Championship earlier this year.

Skipper Dave Witt returned from Hong Kong just in time for today’s race, and with the professional crew work of Tom Clout and Tom Anderson, the team was outstanding as they powered away to win by 2m28s from Smeg.

Defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Çonnor and Dave Slennet) was a further 12s back in third place, ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Yandoo (John Winning) and Noakesailing (Sean Langman).

Smeg finished the championship on 7 points, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 9, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 15, Yandoo 21, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 22 and Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) 29 points.

A big sail Easterly was a welcome change from the many strong winds the fleet have had to battle over the first few weeks of the season.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers won the start and led the fleet from Smeg and Appliancesonline on the long windward leg from Robertson Point to Rose Bay.

As the fleet approached the Rose Bay mark, Witt and his team outsailed the opposition and grabbed a 30s lead from Smeg, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Noakesailing as spinnakers were set for the spinnaker run to the wing mark off Clark Island and the bottom mark at Kurraba Point.

The run was uneventful but Appliancesonline showed good speed with the large sail area to extend the leading margin to 45s.

The race for second place behind the leader was close as Smeg retained her second placing just ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Asko Appliances, Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) and Noakesailing.

Witt and his team applied a loose cover on the challengers up the second work and continued to show great speed off the breeze to gain another one minute over the fleet on the second lap of the course.

With the winner well ahead over the final lap of the course, the race behind her was extremely close with up to six skiffs battling for the minor placings.

Today’s win by Appliancesonline was even more impressive as the team only put the new mast and sails on the boat for the first time today.

Dave Witt is one of the most experienced sailors on the planet, but he was even impressed by the way the boat performed.

“It was very encouraging, particularly as we only put it all together just before the race.”

“Sailing with the two Toms again and winning was especially pleasing and I can’t remember ever having a win on the day we put a brand new rig in the boat.”

“We felt our performances at the 2016 JJ Giltinan Championship were really good but we had a problem in those conditions. So we bought the new rig and its looking good after the way it went today.”

Next Sunday’s race is for the Yandoo Trophy
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available to follow all the action.
The Spectator Ferry is also available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm.

November 13, 2016

NSW Championship Race 3

The experienced crew of Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy and Dave Ewings gave a brilliant performance of heavy weather sailing when they combined to bring Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel home as winner of Race 3 of the NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

A 25 to 30-knot Westerly wind pounded the fleet but the Coopers-Rag team were faultless, but for one very brief capsize during the hour long race.

With tired crews battling to complete the course behind them, The Rag team took the honours by a mammoth 19m33s from Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Steve Thomas, Jeronimo Harrison).

The early race leader Smeg (Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey, Ricky Bridge) was a further 9m48s back in third place.

The only other boats able to complete the course were Yandoo (John Winning, Cam McDonald, Mike Kennedy) and defending NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Carter Jackson)

Smeg won the start and led to the windward mark off Kurraba Point.

The current JJ Giltinan (world) champion Smeg team then produced a brilliant downwind exhibition as they raced to the wing mark off Clark Island ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel.

An unlikely capsize by Smeg near the mouth of Double Bay on the following windward leg allowed Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel to grab the lead and leave Smeg to battle with Asko Appliances for the minor placings.

The race was more a battle of survival than tactics as several skiffs capsized many times in the tough conditions.

Race 4 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available to follow all the action.
The Spectator Ferry is also available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm.

The teams for the 2016-2017 Season are located on the Australian 18 Footers League website at:
https://www.18footers.com.au/sailing/racing-season/teams.html

November 6, 2016

NSW Championship Race 2

A reunited crew of Chris Nicholson, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey scored a convincing win with Smeg in today’s Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.

When the team’s regular skipper Lee Knapton was unable to sail in the race, former 18ft Skiff champion Chris Nicholson was eager to link up again with his long-time friends and former crew mates of two years ago.

In a race of fluctuating fortunes which produced several different leaders throughout the race, the Smeg team showed great speed over the latter part of the long South-East course to win by 2m59s.

The young Noakes Youth team of Ash Rooklyn, Rhys Mara and Justin Mulkearns again showed theie potential with a strong second placing.

Third today went to Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty, Aron Everett, Greg Dixon), which was a further 49s behind Noakes Youth.

After battling in the top group all throughout the race, John Winning’s Yandoo finished fourth, followed by early leader Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Asko Appliances (Micah Lane).

Following three weeks of strong winds, which has affected the racing, today’s ESE wind allowed most teams to carry their bigger #1 rigs and produced some very close racing in the leading group.

Smeg led the fleet to the first windward mark but had to be content to follow Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and Yandoo around the bottom mark, off Robertson Point, after a spinnaker run which saw positions vary wildly through the fleet.

Line 7, Noakes Youth and Haier Appliances (Pedro Vozone) were not far behind the three leaders as the group went back across the harbour to the windward mark near Clark Island.

The Rag established a 40s lead at Clark Island, and led the fleet on the following two-sail reach into Chowder Bay.

This leg of the course produced a change in the leading group when Smeg capsized.

Noakes Youth made a move and reduced Coopers 62-Rag & Famish’s lead to 20s, just ahead of Yandoo.

A quick recovery by the Smeg team allowed them to still hold fourth place at Chowder Bay, ahead of Line 7 and Asko Appliances, which was struggling under a smaller #2 rig.

The whole race was turned on its head on the next spinnaker run, from Rose Bay to Taylor Bay, when Smeg grabbed the lead from Noakes Youth, Yandoo and The Rag.

Over the final three legs of the course there was little change in the leaders positions, although Line 7 stormed home to grab third place from Yandoo by 30s.

The race was another bad day for the defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team.

Following last week’s costly capsize, which robbed them of a win, the team were forced out of the race just a few minutes after the start with gear failure.

Race 3 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available to follow all the action.
The Spectator Ferry is also available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm.

October 30, 2016

NSW Championship Race 1

Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel won a dramatic Race 1 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today after a brilliant performance by her crew in the fresh North East wind conditions.

The win was completely unusual as the skiff used a borrowed mainsail from the Appliancesonline.com.au skiff and two of the appliances crew sailed on The Rag.

Tom Clout skippered the winner with Mark Kennedy and Tom Anderson in the team.

Clout and Anderson are usually the crew with David Witt on Appliancesonline.

Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York, Matt Stenta and Angus Williams) finished in second place, 44s behind the winner, with Noakesailing (Ash Rooklyn, Ben Robinson and Rhys Mara) a further 1m51s back in third place.

The brand new Line 7 skiff, skippered by Jonathan Whitty, was christened only minutes before the race and did remarkably well to come home in fourth place.

Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) finished fifth, ahead of De’Longhi (Simon Nearn), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Smeg (Lee Knapton).

The leaders took a variety of courses on the first windward beat from Clark Island to the Beashel Buoy and little separated the leaders all the way up the course.

Asko Appliances won out to lead narrowly from Coopers 62-Rag & Famish, followed by Smeg, Yandoo (John Winning), Line 7, defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and De’Longhi.

Smeg had a little trouble setting the extra and it allowed Asko and The Rag to edge away slightly on the run into the wing mark in Rose Bay.

Asko Appliances retained the lead at the Rose Bay mark but this was reversed when Coopers-Rag grabbed the lead at the bottom mark off Clark Island.

The two leaders held their positions on the following windward leg back to Beashel Buoy, though Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was starting to make a move and was close up in third place.

Keagan York’s Compassmarkets.com had come from well back in the early stages of the race and was putting pressure on the leading group.

A few capsizes and some gear breakage had also quickly reduced the fleet numbers.

The second spinnaker run from the Beashel Buoy gave spectators on the club’s ferry a great view of some fantastic action and speed sailing as the crews drove their skiffs hard.

The Rag’s crew held their lead while many others behind them capsized on the approach to the Clark Island mark

Over the final lap of the course, the wind was strong and the racing tight as Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel was under enormous pressure from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.

The Rag set her spinnaker for home 20s ahead of Thurlow Fisher and the race was on to the Rose Bay mark.

It seemed as though there may have been a little more north in the wind direction as the two leaders battled their spinnakers on the run between the islands to the finish line.

The Rag’s crew were first to drop and it seemed as though Thurlow Fisher was going to grab a last minute win when her crew elected to hold onto their spinnaker for the tight run to the finish.

Thurlow’s crew looked reasonably comfortable in the tough conditions but could do nothing about saving their chances when the boat nose-dived just 300 metres from the finish line.

If the rest of the NSW Championship races and the other major championships later in the season live up to the action we saw today there will be plenty of excitement for the large spectator fleets on the harbour.

Race 2 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available to follow all the action.
The Spectator Ferry is also available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm.

October 23, 2016

Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy

Strong Southerly winds, gusting to more than 30-knots, made 18ft Skiff officials think long and hard before making a decision on whether to conduct the Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.

Following the abandonment of last Sunday’s race, officials were keen for a start, and strict instructions were issued to avoid the skiffs being forced to wait around too long on the harbour prior to the race start.

The logistical problem to set three windward marks (for the scheduled 3-Buoys race) saw race officials decide on a format change.

Only one windward mark was set, and handicaps, to determine the trophy winner, would be adjusted at the club after the race.

A few of the newer teams decided that discretion was required and decided not to sail, while a couple of other teams were forced out with some gear problems during rigging.

John Winning and his team were the first to leave the rigging area but a gear breakage forced them back before the scheduled start.

Finally, with only two boats making it to the start line, the race got under way when Nick Daly’s Peroni crossed the line in Athol Bay, west of Bradleys Head.

The only other boat to make the start within the time limit was Pedro Vozone’s Haier Appliances, which started a few minutes behind Peroni.

When the wind eased back a few knots, Peroni’s team of Nick Daly, John Walton and Tom Clout had little trouble handling the conditions and gave spectators a close look at speed sailing under their big white kite.

Although Haier was unable to make up the time lost at the start, Pedro Vozone, Tim Westwood and Lorenzo Cerretelli managed to complete the course, which had been shortened by the race committee.

Everyone is hoping for a break from the terrible conditions of the past two weeks when the 19-boat fleet lines up for Race 1 of the NSW Championship next Sunday

The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry following the race, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm, to get all the action.

October 16, 2016

Major A. Frizelle Trophy

In an attempt to get today’s 18ft Skiff Major A. Frizelle Trophy race started, race officials trialled a new scheme when they directed all teams to use their ‘Storm’ (#3) jib and reef their mainsail by 800mm.

Race officer Doug Cameron said it was an ideal opportunity to trial the new scheme.

“The time was right for the trial. We have a few new recruits to the fleet, and there are more critical races to be sailed later in the season.”

Despite their efforts, the conditions were so strong that many teams either didn’t leave the rigging area or were in trouble before the race was due to start.

The forced delay resulted in more problems as those on the harbour were battered by the wind.

While at least two teams suffered broken masts, the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team put on a spectacular show for the spectator ferry patrons.

After the race was finally abandoned, Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas decided to sail towards Sydney Heads then drive their skiff downwind back towards the Opera House.

Patrons thrilled as the crew drove the skiff at full speed down the near deserted harbour.

It was quite an exhibition of power sailing.

The Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy race will be sailed next Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm, to follow all the action.

October 9, 2016

R. Watt Memorial Trophy

The Australian 18 Footers League’s 82nd season of continuous 18ft Skiff Racing got away to a flying start today when the club staged the R. Watt Memorial Trophy 3-Buoys race on Sydney Harbour in a 20-knot, plus, North East wind.

First up conditions were testing for all teams but the experienced Thurlow Fisher Lawyers were faultless as the skiff powered around the course for an all the way victory.

Skipper Michael Coxon and his team of Dave O’Connor and Peter Mackie finally took the honours by 53s from the Giltinan champion Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey.

In a spectacular run between Shark Island and Clark Island to the finish line, Nick Daly. John Walton and Troy Botting grabbed third place in Peroni, just 1s ahead of Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones).

Mike Coxon was naturally happy to get the win and satisfied with the boat’s speed.

He said the crew also had an added incentive to defeat Smeg.

“For’ard hand Peter Mackie is a regular member of Lee Knapton’s 16 Footer champion crew and the pair are very competitive when they are opponents in a race.”

“When we crossed Smeg going up the first beat, Lee called out ‘Jugs are on it’ so we had to make sure we got the prize.”

“Pete’s performance over the weekend has been sensational. He sailed a 16 Footer in a 30-knot Southerly yesterday then backed up with us today.”

Ït was a very satisfying day all around.”

Asko Appliances and Smeg were prominent at the start and soon led the fleet up the windward leg from Clark Island to the set of windward marks near the Beashel Buoy.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was also close up and grabbed the lead when Coxon elected to sail to the right hand side of the course and picked up an Easterly slant

Asko Appliances had a brief, but costly, ‘swim’ on approach to the windward mark

Sean Langman’s Noakesailing was also with this group and just ahead of a hard charging bunch as the fleet approached the 3-Buoys marks.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was the first team to set a spinnaker for the run to the Shark Island wing mark.

Langman took Noakesailing into second place, closely followed by John Winning’s Yandoo and Triple M (James Ward).

Asko Appliances and Smeg went to the furthest of the three buoys and fifth and sixth respectively on the spinnaker run.

Triple M capsized on the run into the Shark Island mark in Rose Bay.

By the end of the first lap Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had established a commanding lead.

Yandoo had moved up into second place, followed by Smeg, Asko Appliances, Noakesailing, Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn), The Kitchen Maker (Stephen Quigley) and Peroni.

It was a tough initiation for the rookie teams and deserve congratulations as all three managed to complete the course in very testing conditions.

The Major A. Frizelle Trophy race will be sailed next Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League will have its usual Spectator Ferry available throughout the entire 2016-2017 Season, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.15pm, to follow all the action.

October 2, 2016

2016/17 Season Preview

The Australian 18 Footers League’s 82nd consecutive season of 18ft Skiff Racing will begin on Sunday 9 October when the club will conduct the R. Watt Memorial Trophy 3-buoys race on Sydney Harbour.

A fleet of 20 teams are registered to compete with the club during the 2016-2017 Season, including three rookie 18 Footer crews, who will mix it with 17 of the hottest 18ft Skiff crews in the world.

The 2016 JJ Giltinan and Australian champions Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey will again campaign their flying red Smeg-sponsored machine in defence of their championship crows.

Smeg’s sheet hand Ricky Bridge is optimistic, but cautious, about the team’s chances of retaining last season’s major titles victories.

“We are in a much better place this season than last year as we were madly trying to finish off the new boat in time for SRD (Sail Registration Day).”

“Having the same boat and the same crew is a positive and we are just looking forward to competing every week and we’ll see what happens.”

“I think this will be another year of close racing with anyone of the top teams capable of winning races in their favourable conditions.“

“There are also plenty of new teams with young talent coming through, which is encouraging for the League.”

“Come February and March for the JJs, the Kiwis, particularly Yamaha, will be tough to beat, and will give it everything to beat us Aussies on our home track.”

One of the biggest changes in the new season’s fleet is the absence of the Gotta Love It 7 sponsorship, which was so successful for many years up until the 2015-2016 Season.

Good news, however, is that the 8-times JJ Giltinan champion and former skipper of Gotta Love It 7, is not lost to the fleet.

Seve has joined the Asko Appliances team and will sail as sheet hand. Marcus Ashley-Jones will skipper the Asko team and Jeronimo Harrison is for’ard hand. The new team will compete in the skiff which raced as Gotta Love It 7 last season.

Marcus is looking forward to the new season: “I’m very excited to go sailing with Jeronimo again, and Seve this season.”

“Jezza is making a comeback after undergoing a few rounds of knee surgery last season.”

“The big fella is rated as one of the best bowman in the business and it won’t take him long to find his feet.”

“He’ll be going off like a raw prawn up there”

“Seve steps in for the retiring Dozza (James Dorron) who has hung up the wetty boots to focus on his real estate business and dating apps.”

“This has been talked about as one of the biggest moves since Buddy Franklin left the Hawks for the Swans.

“Phil and Crt (from ASKO) are super excited about the new team. Last year we were all sizzle and no sausage.”

“With the big Seve on the main sheet, we will surely be able to keep the mighty Asko bucking like a bull in the front bunch”

Michael Coxon, the 2006 and 2007 JJ Giltinan champion and current NSW champion will again skipper Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and has the same team of Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas with him for the major championships in the new year.

National 16 Footer champion Peter Mackie will replace Trent during the first half of the season while Trent follows the fortunes of his young sons as the progress through the junior sailing ranks.

As Ricky Bridge said, there are many other strong teams who will again line up to challenge last season’s championship winners.

Yandoo (John Winning), Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt), a brand new skiff for De’Longhi (Simon Nearn), Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) will again be amongst the leaders while big improvers last year like Peroni (Nick Daly) and Noakesailing (Sean Langman) should continue to move towards the top of the fleet.

1996 JJ Giltinan champion Stephen Quigley spent several years coaching junior sailors in the southern suburbs of Sydney before returning to the 18s last season with his son Tom and another youngster, Sam Ellis.

The success of Stephen and his young crew was spectacular and they have been rewarded with a move into The Kitchen Maker skiff. The experience they gained from last year’s campaign will see the team also move closer to the head of the fleet in the major championships.

Last year’s two rookie skippers Ash Rooklyn and James Ward had great first up campaigns and look set to go to the next level in 2016-2017.

Rooklyn will again sail the Noakes Youth skiff and looks likely to better the sensational 7thplacing in the 2016 JJ Giltinan Championship.

James Ward and his totally rookie team were a huge surprise. They finished 9th in the Australian Championship with an older Mojo Wine skiff, and have been rewarded for their effort by securing the one season old Triple M skiff for this year.

The League’s policy of encouraging new teams into the 18s will continue again in 2016-2017 with rookie teams led by Jack Sprague (Mojo Wine) and Jacob Broome (Panasonic Lumix) and Jordan Girdis joining the League fleet.

Pedro Vozone’s Haier Appliances team has a newer skiff this year and this young team should also improve in 2016-2017.

Two more brand new skiffs are nearing completion for Jonathan Whitty (Line 7) and Ollie Hartas (Ilve).

The competitive strength of the fleet is extremely high and we expect consistency will be an important part of success during an exciting 2016-2017 Season at the Australian 18 Footers League.

The Club’s weekly spectator ferry will follow the racing as usual. It leaves the Double Bay Public Wharf, alongside the clubhouse and rigging area, at 2pm and gives patrons an excellent view of the most exciting racing on the world’s best harbour.