Racing on Day 1 of the 2022-23 Australian 18ft Skiff Championship was conducted over two two-lap windward-leeward courses in a 10-12 SSE wind on Sydney Harbour today and it was the new Finport Finance skiff which took the overall honours with a win and a second placing from the two races.
At the conclusion, Finport Finance (Keagan York, Angus Williams, Phil Marshall) has a total of three points, followed by Smeg (Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, Tom Anderson) on five points.
Series favourite and Race 1 winner Andoo (John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton) and Lazarus (Marcus Ashley, Jeronimo Harrison, Shaun Connor) are equal third on eight points.
Marine Outlet (Cam Gundy) is fourth on 12 points followed by Yandoo (John Winning) and Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) equal on 14 points.
The championship will be contested over six windward-leeward courses and each team will discard its worst performance to determine its final points tally.
Race 1 saw Andoo take an early lead and looked likely to be the first to the top mark in Rose Bay but the breeze went hard left which allowed Finport Finance to grab a 30s lead as spinnakers were set for the run back to the bottom mark.
Lazarus was in third place ahead of Burrawang-Young Henrys and Smeg with the Queensland skiff Big Foot Bags & Covers (Dave Hayter) in sixth place.
Finport Finance retained her 30s margin over Andoo and continued to lead for the first part of the next beat back into Rose Bay but it was the powerful Andoo team which rounded the final mark and headed for home with a three boat-length lead.
Andoo crossed the finish line 31s ahead of Finport Finance with Smeg a further 26s back in third place, followed by Lazarus, a fast finishing Yandoo and Burrawang-Young Henrys.
Race 2 began with most of the fleet sailing a course towards Steel Point on the left while some teams elected to take early and went to the left towards Shark Island.
When the two groups met it was the group from the RHS which had done better and Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley, Max Paul, Tom Quigley) was the leader.
The race was hotly contested as the fleet sailed towards the mark in Rose Bay and Shaw and Partners held a narrow three-boat lead over Marine Outlet, Smeg, Finport Finance and Lazarus. The big loser in a jam-packed mark rounding was Andoo which was relegated back into 12th place, 1m10s behind the leader.
Despite having a smaller spinnaker, Shaw and Partners maintained its lead downwind but Smeg had edged closer to move into second place ahead of Marine Outlet, Lazarud, Finport Finance, Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price), Yandoo and Burrawang-Young Henrys.
The slightly fresher breeze enabled Shaw’s team to retain a 15s margin over Finport Finance at the final rounding mark with Smeg close behind.
In an exciting run to the finish Finport Finance grabbed the lead and went on to defeat Smeg by just 5s with Shaw and Partners Financial Services a further 5s back in third place, ahead of Lazarus, Marine Outlet and Rag & Famish Hotel.
Today’s race results are attached, along with Michael Chittenden’s images from the racing.
Australian 18ft Skiff Championship race dates:
Saturday, January 28 – Races 3 & 4
Sunday, January 29 – Races 5 & 6
Spectators can follow the action on board the club’s spectator ferry on Saturday and Sunday, as they have done for the past 87 years, which leaves Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse at 2pm.
Booking online through the club’s website www.18footers.com is essential,
For anyone who can’t make it out onto the water, the League’s live broadcast team will be out on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action. Live streaming is available at www.18footers.com
by clicking on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.
For all the club’s racing and up-to-date news:
Club Website www.18footers.com
Facebook International 18ft Skiff
For anyone who wants to take a look at Sail Media’s action videos from the 2021-22 season, including the 2022 JJ Giltinan Championship, go to www.18footers.com and click on the ’18 Footers TV’ link
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.