Smeg Race 3 Australian Championship 2024

Vaikobi produced another consistent performance to finish fifth in today's race (SailMedia)

Ferry Patrons Trophy 

Sunday, 28 January 2024   

Sydney Harbour 

NSW champion Yandoo increased her lead at the halfway mark of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship today with a brilliant win by her crew in the Smeg Race 3 of the series , sailed on Sydney Harbour.

Skippered by Tom Needham, replacing the injured John ‘Woody’ Winning, with Fang Warren on the sheet and Lewis Brake in the bow, the team were superb in the testing 15-knot South-East wind to record a near all-the-way win over the high quality fleet.

Yandoo crossed the finish line 3m13s ahead of Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price, Josh McKnight, Finn Rodowicz) after the pair had staged a close battle over the first half of the course.

Andoo (John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin, Harry Smith) finished third, 19s behind Rag & Famish Hotel, with defending champion Finport Finance (Keagan York) in fourth place, followed by Vaikobi (Kirk Mitchell) and Smeg (Nathan McNamara).

With three more races to complete the Australian Championship, and each team still to discard its worst race result, the progress points are: 

Yandoo with a total of four points, followed by Rag & Famish Hotel on nine, Andoo 10, Vaikobi 12, Smeg 20 and Balmain on 21.

Yandoo was always in, or near, the lead as the fleet sailed from the start line in Taylors Bay to the weather mark in Rose Bay.

The entire fleet elected to sail to the right hand side of Shark Island as they worked into the mark where Yandoo held a 7s lead over Rag & Famish Hotel.  Vaikobi was in third place ahead of Finport Finance, Andoo, Smeg, Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis) and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Jacob Marks).

The two leaders staged a great battle over the next two legs of the course.  Firstly, on the spinnaker run from Rose Bay to the bottom mark off Robertson Point and then the work to the mark off Clark Island, where only 14s still separated Yandoo and Rag & Famish Hotel.

Although trailing by more than one minute, it was just as tight in the battle for third place at that stage with Vaikobi holding a 5s edge over Finport Finance, closely followed by Andoo, Smeg, Fisher & Paykel and Balmain (Henry Larkings)

There was still little between the two leaders as they battled the angle of the wind on the tight reach/spinnaker run from Clark Island to Chowder Bay but over the loop across the harbour to Rose Bay and back to Taylors Bay, Yandoo opened up a healthy lead which the team extended over the final three legs of the course.

While Yandoo’s victory was decisive at the finish, the battle for the minor placings was tight throughout the course with positions changing regularly over both the windward and spinnaker legs.

Smeg won today’s Ferry Patrons Trophy handicap section of today’s race, which is also one of the races included in the Australian 18 Footers League’s Season Point Score series, and now also leads the Season Point Score series with a total of 92 points, followed by Fisher & Paykel on 99 and Yandoo on 108.

Today’s result sheet is attached, along with the current point score in the championship and SailMedia’s images from the racing      


Race 4 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday (4 February).  The League’s spectator ferry will follow the action, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.15pm.  Tickets are available         

If you prefer, you can still join the League’s ‘Alternative Ferry’ in the clubhouse and enjoy all the racing action LIVE on the massive screen broadcasting the SailMedia Livestream camera cat coverage.  It’s a really unique way to celebrate the great racing and all 18 footer supporters are welcome to come down to the clubhouse ‘Alternative Ferry’.            

If you can’t get out onto Sydney Harbour, or come to the club’s ‘Alternative’ Ferry’, you can still watch it LIVE by going to the Club’s website and clicking on the TV link 

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.