The defending champion Honda Marine team of Dave McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins showed that they will be hard to beat again this year when they scored an impressive win in Race 1 of the Winning Group JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
In a controversial start to the championship, two of the leading championship contenders, Asko Appliances (James Dorron) and ASCC (Josh Porebski) were recalled for an OCS start.
With protests lodged for various incidents, provisionally, Honda Marine defeated Winning Group (John Winning Jr., Sam Newton, Seve Jarvin) by 2m34s, with Smeg (Michael coxon, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey) a further 18s back in third place.
The new Birkenhead Point Marina team, headed by rookie skipper, Tom Anderson, finished in fourth place, ahead of Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster), Yandoo (John Winning), Finport Finance (Keagan York) and The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis).
The race was sailed in a 10-15-knot NE breeze with all teams electing to use their bigger No. 1 rigs.
After a close race to the windward mark amongst the leading four or five teams, Winning Group held a narrow lead over Honda Marine as spinnakers were set for the run to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island.
There was little between the two skiffs for the entire downwind run and only 10s separated the pair at the bottom mark off Clark Island, where Honda Marine had gained the lead.
Smeg was in third place at the point, followed by Birkenhead Point Marina and R Marine Pittwater (Simon Nearn).
On the following windward leg back to the Beashel Buoy, Honda Marine and Winning Group elected to sail entirely different courses and Honda Marine had increased her lead to 32.
The New Zealanders increased the margin to 45s after the long spinnaker run back down the middle of Sydney Harbour to the Clark Island mark and from that point the result wasn’t really in doubt.
Encouraging performances came from the Birkenhead Point Marina team and the German team, Marinepool (Heinrich vonn Bayern), as well as R Marine Pittwater, which was in the top four placing until midway through the race.
The Winning Group 2019 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Race dates for the remainder of the championship are:
Sunday March 3
Tuesday March 5
Wednesday March 6
Thursday March 7
Saturday March 9
Sunday March 10
The club will have a spectator ferry following each days’ racing, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2pm.
NOTE: THERE WILL BE TWO SPECTATOR FERRIES ON SUNDAY MARCH 3 & SUNDAY MARCH 10
For those who can’t make it onto the water:
Live streaming is available on 18FootersTV