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.

July 1, 2016

Mark Foy Worlds Day 5

The trade winds arrived just in time for the final day of racing at the Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji. With 20knots on the course the fleet finally got to unpack their little rigs for a day of thrills and spills.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers looked like it was going to be their day and won the first start with a port hander at the pin. From then they were unstoppable and took the win with a huge margin. The battle for second was a strong one with a group fighting for the position. It wasn’t all smooth sailing with Yamaha almost wiping out and the crew of Triple M flying around the front of their boat ending their day. In the end Howie Hamlin’s Harken finished second with Micah Lane’s Smeg third.

Hamlin was excited to see the trade winds return. Having visited the area seven times before he was surprised at the light breeze during the regatta but the American still enjoyed the racing.
“We had fun, we weren’t really fast in the light air. It was fun to finish in the breeze, that was what we expected all week – the trade winds,” he said.

Race nine saw the overall battle between Yamaha and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers heat up. The Australian team led from the start with Yamaha waiting for their chance to make a move. A capsize by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was that chance. Yamaha sailed away to claim the win with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers second and Compass Markets third.

The breeze dropped ahead of the third start and the New Zealanders on Yamaha enjoyed the conditions sailing away to win the final race and the Mark Foy World Championship. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers finished second and Harken third – this was also their overall placings.

By winning the Mark Foy trophy, Yamaha secured the inaugural Triple Crown Trophy after finishing second in the JJ Giltinan in February and the Anzac Regatta in April. Skipper Dave McDiarmid was excited after racing.

“I’m stoked. We had a pretty good season. Last year we won the San Francisco International Regatta. We almost surprised and got second at the JJs by one point.

“We won the Anzac Regatta and now the Mark Foy. That just leaves the JJs to go.”

After racing the teams took some of the locals for a spin around the race-track. It was smiles all round for the local Fiji sailors. For all the action from Fiji head to the Fiji Fizz Festival Facebook Page, for videos and full results head to http://rayc.co.nz/aklskiffleague/.

June 28, 2016

Mark Foy Worlds Day 3

Day two of racing started in similar conditions to yesterday. But as the racing was underway the breeze built to a steady 12 knots and swung to the right. It appeared to be the perfect conditions for the New Zealanders with Yamaha ending the day with two bullets and C-Tech claiming the third race.

In race four the Yamaha team took the lead from the start and sailed away from the fleet. Smeg and C-Tech rounded out the podium.

There was more action in race five. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers lead at the top mark but were soon overtaken by Yamaha on the run.

At the bottom mark, half the fleet went left and half went right. It paid for the boats on the right as the wind shifted and as the leaders were rounding the top mark it became a soldiers course.

Smeg had trouble at the bottom mark with Maersk Line and had to bail out. After getting the boat under control they rounded the mark in 14th.

Yamaha went on to win their second race of the day with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in second and Harken third.

Race six was postponed as the race committee reset the course and made it a big longer. Peroni skipper Nick Daly had nothing but praise for the race committee for their actions throughout the day.

“I love the race committee,” he said. “Easily one of the best regattas we have done.”

When the postponement flag went down it was all action. Triple M was lining up for a port hander start on the pin but ended up adding a second OCS to their scorecard after getting the timing a bit out.

Skipper Brett Van Munster explained, “We went for the port hander and got completely chicken winged up. But you gotta give it a go.

“Good plan, bad execution.”

Yamaha was first to the top mark but got stuck letting C-Tech slip through. It was then a battle of the Kiwis. At the top mark for the final time C-Tech had held on to the lead and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers followed them around with Peroni then Yamaha.

At the finish line it was C-Tech then Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Yamaha.

At the end of the day, Yamaha has the lead with eight points. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers is in second with 10 points and Smeg third with 21. Results are provisional as a protest is to be held.

There will be no racing tomorrow as the fleet enjoys the day off ahead of the long race on Thursday. To keep up with all the action head to the Fiji Fizz Festival Facebook Page. For results and daily videos head to http://rayc.co.nz/aklskiffleague/.

June 27, 2016

Mark Foy Worlds Day 2

Day two of the Mark Foy World Championship started off as a happy one for the Triple M and Alcatel teams as their container arrived after being delayed at sea. With little over an hour till the start to unpack their boats and get onto the course it was a close call for two teams.

Alcatel skipper Stephen Quigley said, “Talk about leave it to the last minute. It was incredible. The container arrives at 11:30, we opened the doorys, the customs lady was there when it arrived and gave it the all clear.

“We took the boats out, stuck the rig in and went out. Us and Triple M were the last ones out and made the first start. It was fantastic.”

On the racecourse was another day of beautiful sailing despite being lighter than yesterday. Three short races were held in the 8-10 seabreeze, which was slowly building throughout the day.

In race one saw Yamaha and Harken fighting for the lead with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers hot on their tails for the first lap. Yamaha and Harken split at the bottom mark and it was Yamaha on the left that paid. Yamaha rounded first with Harken second and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers third.

The front three broke away from the pack and left Maersk Line and Triple M fighting for fourth. Graham Catley’s Maersk Line won the battle and took fourth and Triple M crossed the line fifth before realising their were OCS at the start.

After the race Yamaha bowman Brad Collins said, “it was a about 6-10knots for the first race. We got a reasonable good start to clear out. The race was ours after that.”

Race two started with another individual recall but after Maersk Line and Peroni restarted it was all clear. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers lead at the top mark and sailed away from there.

Drama unfolded at the start boat as the fleet sailed through the line downwind, a requirement for the course. Compass Markets and Event Clothing got very close to the start boat and just scraped through unharmed.

In the end Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took the win from Yamaha and Smeg.

After that Michael Coxon’s team on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers were on a roll. They ducked the entire fleet at the start and by the end of the first windward/leeward were a minute ahead. The Australian team finished a minute ahead of fellow Australians on Smeg and New Zealand team C-Tech.

James Dorran has stepped in to the sheet-hand position on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers taking over from regular crew-member Dave O’Connor.

“Dave, I haven’t had any tips from him but will probably have a chat from him tonight asking how the rig is.”

On the racing with Coxon and Trent Barnabas he said, “It has just clicked. It was good to get the call up to sail in Fiji.”

After three races, Coxon’s team is at the top of the leaderboard with five points, Yamaha is second on seven points with Smeg third on 10 points.

The AUS vs NZL vs USA battle is only just beginning and Collins embraces it, “It’s On! We quite like to be the chaser, we are not so good at being chased so we are pretty happy that he has set the bar for us.”

Three more windward/leewards are scheduled for tomorrow at 1pm. To keep up to date with all the action head to the FijiFizz Festival Facebook page. For full results and daily videos head to http://rayc.co.nz/aklskiffleague/.

June 27, 2016

Mark Foy Worlds Day 2

Day two of the Mark Foy World Championship started off as a happy one for the Triple M and Alcatel teams as their container arrived after being delayed at sea. With little over an hour till the start to unpack their boats and get onto the course it was a close call for two teams.

Alcatel skipper Stephen Quigley said, “Talk about leave it to the last minute. It was incredible. The container arrives at 11:30, we opened the doorys, the customs lady was there when it arrived and gave it the all clear.

“We took the boats out, stuck the rig in and went out. Us and Triple M were the last ones out and made the first start. It was fantastic.”

On the racecourse was another day of beautiful sailing despite being lighter than yesterday. Three short races were held in the 8-10 seabreeze, which was slowly building throughout the day.

In race one saw Yamaha and Harken fighting for the lead with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers hot on their tails for the first lap. Yamaha and Harken split at the bottom mark and it was Yamaha on the left that paid. Yamaha rounded first with Harken second and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers third.

The front three broke away from the pack and left Maersk Line and Triple M fighting for fourth. Graham Catley’s Maersk Line won the battle and took fourth and Triple M crossed the line fifth before realising their were OCS at the start.

After the race Yamaha bowman Brad Collins said, “it was a about 6-10knots for the first race. We got a reasonable good start to clear out. The race was ours after that.”

Race two started with another individual recall but after Maersk Line and Peroni restarted it was all clear. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers lead at the top mark and sailed away from there.

Drama unfolded at the start boat as the fleet sailed through the line downwind, a requirement for the course. Compass Markets and Event Clothing got very close to the start boat and just scraped through unharmed.

In the end Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took the win from Yamaha and Smeg.

After that Michael Coxon’s team on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers were on a roll. They ducked the entire fleet at the start and by the end of the first windward/leeward were a minute ahead. The Australian team finished a minute ahead of fellow Australians on Smeg and New Zealand team C-Tech.

James Dorran has stepped in to the sheet-hand position on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers taking over from regular crew-member Dave O’Connor.

“Dave, I haven’t had any tips from him but will probably have a chat from him tonight asking how the rig is.”

On the racing with Coxon and Trent Barnabas he said, “It has just clicked. It was good to get the call up to sail in Fiji.”

After three races, Coxon’s team is at the top of the leaderboard with five points, Yamaha is second on seven points with Smeg third on 10 points.

The AUS vs NZL vs USA battle is only just beginning and Collins embraces it, “It’s On! We quite like to be the chaser, we are not so good at being chased so we are pretty happy that he has set the bar for us.”

Three more windward/leewards are scheduled for tomorrow at 1pm. To keep up to date with all the action head to the FijiFizz Festival Facebook page. For full results and daily videos head to http://rayc.co.nz/aklskiffleague/.

June 26, 2016

Mark Foy Championship Day 1

Perfect conditions welcomed the fleet to Fiji for the Mark Foy Championship and round three of the Triple Crown Trophy. After settling in to Fiji time, racing got underway at 1:30pm in a 12knot sea breeze and two windward/leeward races.

Race one got underway with a clear start and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers stuck their nose out in front and lead till the finish. The fight for second was a good one with a group of boats all close together.

Peroni, Compass Markets, Yamaha and Smeg continued their battle upwind with Smeg splitting from the fleet and heading out to the left. It paid off and the red boat moved in to third. But a spectacular cartwheel on the way to the finish saw them drop back.

In the end it was Thurlow Fisher Lawyers with Yamaha in second and Peroni in third.

The second race got underway quickly and saw Smeg lead from the start with Harken and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers right behind them. There was no change in the top three throughout the race.

Speaking after racing, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers skipper Michael Coxon explained the conditions as brilliant. “It was champagne with a bit of cheese as well, beautiful sailing. It is a great location.”

Smeg skipper Micah Lane agreed, “The conditions in Fiji are phenomenal. Champagne sailing.”

On the superstition of not winning the invitation race Lane commented, “I think Mike just lost the regatta with the first win.”

It was an exciting return to Fiji for the 18 Footers who last raced at Denarau in 1952. With 13 boats on the racecourse today and two more on the way it is going to be a close battle for the Mark Foy Championship. The pressure will be on the Yamaha crew to hang on to the Triple Crown Trophy. The Smeg team will be fighting till the end to knock the Kiwis off the top.

Racing continues tomorrow with race one scheduled for a 1pm start. But it is Fiji time so may be a little late.

RESULTS: http://rayc.co.nz/aklskiffleague

April 29, 2016

Triple Crown Trophy

Over the long weekend, 14 18 foot skiffs were racing in Auckland for the Maersk Line 18’ Skiff ANZAC Championship. New Zealand team Yamaha; Dave McDiarmid, Matt Stevens and Brad Collins, lead from start to finish to take out round two of the Triple Crown Trophy and now it all comes down to the Mark Foy trophy in Fiji in June.

“Bloody good to come away with the win after finishing second at the JJs. We are pretty stoked!” said skipper McDiarmid to the regatta media.

Despite not competing in the last race, Australian team Thurlow Fisher Lawyers finished second with fellow Aussies Noakes Youth in third. JJ Giltinan champions Smeg finished in fourth.

The battle is now on between the Aussies and Kiwis for the final round of the Triple Crown Trophy; the Mark Foy Championship, hosted by Denarau Yacht Club from June 26 to July 1.

This time there will be no hometown advantage for the sailors and the Aussies have a score to settle. The last time the 18 Footers raced in Fiji was in 1952; and the Kiwis won.

With a fleet of 20 boats expected, it will be one of the biggest fleets outside of the JJ Giltinan and three countries will be represented – Australia, New Zealand and USA. This is one event you won’t want to miss – the regatta will be run at the same time at the South Pacific Foil Kite Championship and on the Thursday the two fleets will come together for the Speed Spectacular – a downwind speed race open to all.

For those that will be in Fiji at the end of June, there will be a big spectator boat each day with a bar, food and band on board. Each night will be a social function including a fish night, a pig on the spit and entertainment.

To keep up to date on all the action head to the Fiji Fizz Festival Facebook page. You can get involved with the Pick the Podium just head to www.18footerstv.com for more details.

2016 Maersk Line 18’ Skiff ANZAC Championship results:

SCRATCH

1st Yamaha , 13 points

2nd Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, 21 points

3rd Noakes Youth, 32 points

4th Smeg, 37 points

5th Peroni, 39 points

HANDICAP

1st Noakes Youth, 32 points

2nd Harken, 35.5 points

3rd C-Tech, 37.5 points

4th Smeg, 40 points

5th AON, 47.5 points

March 20, 2016

Alice Burton Memorial Trophy

Alcatel One Touch claimed victory in the Alice Burton Memorial Trophy 18ft Skiff race on Sydney Harbour today after previous leader Asko Appliances sailed a wrong mark on the last lap of the course.

Once the Asko Appliances team realised the mistake the crew withdrew after the race, giving Alcatel One Touch the victory.

Stephen Quigley, Tom Quigley and Sam Ellis were near the lead most of the day in Alcatel One Touch and the official winning margin was 1m4s.

Ilve (Ollie Hartas, Mark Muirhead, Harry West) finished second, with Haier Appliances (Pedro Vozone, Tim Westwood, Lorenzo Cerretelli) a further 35s back in third place.

Only one minute covered the next four placings with Triple M (John Sweeny) in fourth place ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Micah Lane), Peroni (Michael Coxon) and Compassmarkets.com (Matt Stenta).

The race was sailed in a light NE wind which produced some close fleet racing over a three-buoys course.

Ilve took advantage of the three-buoy system to grab the lead on the first spinnaker run.

Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) was in second place, but challenging strongly, followed by Alcatel One Touch, Triple M and Compassmarkets.com, Haier Appliances, Peroni, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and Mojo Wine (James Ward).

Ilve held a two boat-length lead over Asko at the bottom mark, but the Asko team was dominant on the next windward leg to open up a 20s break over Alcatel One Touch, which had moved into second place, ahead of Ilve.

Asko’s lead was only two boat lengths over Alcatel One Touch at the bottom mark on the second lap, and the pair had edged away from Ilve, which was still a clear third.

Triple M and Haier Appliances were together in fourth and fifth placings.

After a gap, Peroni was sixth, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and Mojo Wine.

Asko Appliances crew worked the northern shore on the left hand side of the course and appeared to have a race winning lead before the crew went around the blue marker and not the white marker as required by the team’s handicap.

Next Sunday will be the last race of the 2015-2016 Season. It is Race 11 of the Club Championship, 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.

March 20, 2016

Club Championship Race 11

The Australian 18 Footer League’s 2015/16 Season concluded on Sydney Harbour today with the Smeg team taking out the Club Championship and the Alcatel One Touch team winning the Season Point Score title.

Although recalled at the start, the Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel crew of Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Joel Castle came back strongly to take the victory in an exciting and unpredictable race.

‘The Rag’ crossed the finish line 35s ahead of Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn), with Smeg (Nick Press, standing in for the regular skipper Lee Knapton) just 7s further back in third place. De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) was fourth, followed by Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon).

Smeg’s third placing in today’s race was enough to give the team the overall championship win, on a count back, from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers went into the race with a three points lead but lost valuable time when recalled for an OCS.

Needing to finish within two places of Smeg, Thurlow Fisher failed by just 16s, giving the Smeg team their third major championship win of the season.

Smeg finish with 43 points as did Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. Today’s winner Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel was third on 63, followed by Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) on 75, Appliancesonline.com.au on 78 and Yandoo (John Winning) on 80 points.

In a stunning performance, Stephen Quigley and his ‘rookie’ youngsters took out the Club’s Season Point Score trophy.

Stephen, the 1996 JJ Giltinan champion, returned this season with his son Thomas Quigley and another young rookie Sam Ellis in the Alcatel One Touch-sponsored skiff.

Alcatel One Touch finished the season on 165 points. Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel was next on 170, and The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman) third on 171.

With 12ft Skiff champion Nick Press replacing Lee Knapton today, Smeg quickly grabbed the lead and led the race over the first lap of the long South course.

On the first long spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk, most interest centred on the close racing behind the tear-away leader.

Noakes Youth and Mojo Wine (James Ward) were battling for second place with Appliancesonline.com.au and Ilve (Ollie Hartas) close behind.

The Kitchen Maker was sixth and the eventual winner Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel seventh.

The fleet ‘disappeared’ into the mist at the end of the run and Smeg was still a clear leader when they came back into clear view of the spectator ferry patrons.

Noakes Youth was still in second place, 30s from the lead, but ‘The Rag’ had already begun to make a move and was close by in third place at the Rose Bay mark.

Over the following two legs of the course, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel moved into second place and the spectators were treated to an unbelievable race as the two leaders sped downwind on the second run to Obelisk.

When the two teams began the work back to Rose Bay there was only a few seconds between the skiffs, but Smeg revelled in the freshening breeze and edged away to a 45s lead as they began the two-sail reach to Athol Bay.

The race looked to be all over, but in fact it was just beginning as the leading group encountered unusual conditions.

Smeg was first to capsize, then Coopers-Rag & Famish almost followed in the same part of the harbour, which allowed Noakes Youth and Appliancesonline to close the gap.

As if it was the Bermuda Triangle, Appliancesonline capsized in the same spot and suddenly it was race on.

The final windward leg to the finish had the crowd cheering as punters encouraged their respective teams and the two leaders headed for home.

It was an exciting finish to a highly competitive season which also produced a number of quality new, young teams.

We appreciate your support of our 2015-2016 Season racing program and look forward to your continued support throughout an even bigger 2016-2017 Season on Sydney Harbour.

March 6, 2016

Club Championship Race 10

The champion Smeg team continued the form which has seen it take victories in both the JJ Giltinan and Australian Championships when Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey led nearly all the way in Race 10 of the League’s Club Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

After taking the lead soon after the start in a #2 rig East North East wind, Smeg wasn’t headed throughout the rest of the race and took the honours by 1m31s from Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Dan Phillips, Peter Harris).

Championship leader, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Peter Mackie) was a further 27s back in third place, ahead of compassmarkets.com (Keagan York), Yandoo (John Winning) and Triple M (John Sweeny).

With just one more race to be sailed in the championship, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers has a total of 37 points, for a three points lead over Smeg (40 points).

Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) is in third place on 55 points, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 62, Yandoo on 70 and appliancesonline.com.au (Tom Anderson) on 73.

Smeg held a 20s lead over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers after the long windward leg from the start at Clarke Island to the Beashel Buoy.

Triple M and Gotta Love It 7 had won the start and were in third and fourth places, respectively, with the bulk of the fleet close behind the leading four teams.

The spinnaker run to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island was spectacular when the crews drove their skiffs hard as they battled the easterly slant in the breeze.

At the bottom mark, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel was the big improver as the team had moved into second place behind Smeg.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was back to third place, ahead of compassmarkets.com which had also improved her position in the fleet.

Triple M was close behind compassmarkets with Yandoo, Gotta Love It 7 and Noakesailing (Sean Langman) just behind Triple M.

Smeg increased the lead to 30s at the Beashel Buoy on the second lap and maintained the margin after the following spinnaker run back down the middle of the harbour.

The Rag crew had their skiff racing at top speed but were unable to reduce Smeg’s lead.

Next Sunday’s race is for the Alice Burton Memorial Trophy. The Club’s usual spectator ferry will follow the race, leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2pm.

Race 11 of the Club Championship, the last race of the championship and last race of the season, will be sailed on Sunday, 20 March.