After a week of heavy rain, strong winds and widespread flooding along the NSW and Queensland coastline, the 2022 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship regatta began with the traditional Invitation Race on Sydney Harbour today.
The original concept was to assist visiting teams with learning some of the local conditions but the race is now used primarily as a final tune-up for the ‘real thing’ which gets under way tomorrow.
Today’s race was no different but it did confirm that there is little between the top three teams Australian champion Andoo, defending champion Smeg and NSW champion Tech2.
Andoo’s team of Seve Jarvin, Matt Stenta and Sam Newton officially won the race by 1m57s from The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett, John Cooley and Charlie Gundy), with Lazarus Capital Partners (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Jeronimo Harrison and Cam Gundy) a further 1m47s back in third place.
Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Steve Thomas) finished in fourth place ahead of Yandoo (John Winning) and Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings).
Tech2 (Jack Macartney), Smeg (Michael Coxon), Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) and Queensland’s C-Tech (Dave Hayter) were all rules out of the race for being over the start line on the ‘black flag’ third attempt to get the race away but all continued for most of the race as part of their preparation for the championship proper.
The fleet was split with the decision to go with the bigger #1 rig or smaller #2.
Andoo chose the smaller while Smeg’s team went big and the decisions provided an interesting race for the lead over the entire course.
At the first mark in Rose Bay, Andoo held a 10s lead over Ilve (Jono Whitty), C-Tech, and Smeg, followed by The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines, Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price), Yandoo, Tech2, WA’s Black Swan (Luke Parkinson) and Noakes Blue (Yvette Heritage).
Although officially out of the race, Smeg raced into second place on the long spinnaker run across the harbour to Robertson Point then took the lead away from Andoo as the pair rounded the mark off Clark Island.
Smeg was fast downwind and continued to hold the lead over the following two legs of the course but as the breeze freshened a little Andoo’s rig proved decisive and once the experienced team regained the lead the race was all-but won.
The visiting teams, particularly C-Tech, Black Swan and Black Knight (Heinrich Von Bayern) all showed glimpses of good form while the Danish team (Jesper Brondum) finished 12th in its first race on the harbour.
Today’s result sheet and photos (by Michael Chittenden) are attached
The aspiration for the club today is unchanged since its inception decades ago. We exist to support the growth of 18 foot skiffs, showcase some of Australia’s best sailing talent in the racing on Sydney Harbour, provide a welcoming club for members, guests and any visitors and to be helpful and active in the local community.