More poor wind conditions forced the race officer to shorten the course (a sensible decision) when the boats were almost drifting as they went for the windward mark in Rose Bay.
Gotta Love It 7 had led from shortly after rounding the first windward mark and looked certain for victory on the second run to Obelisk Bay, but the lack of wind on the work back to Rose Bay saw a massive turn around.
At the finish, Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Scott Babbage) took line honours by 48s form The Kitchen Maker but the result came down to just 20 metres in the dying stages.
Young Will Phillips only stepped onto The Kitchen Maker for this championship when regular sheet hand Darren McKavanagh was sidelined with a bad back.
Olympic Gold Medalist Malcolm Page, who normally skippers the boat elected to move onto the sheet and brought Will in to skipper.
The race for third was even closer as only 4s separated the third placed Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor, Trent Barnabas) and Jack Macartney’s Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel.
With a light S-SE wind, and little change predicted, all teams elected to go for their bigger No. 1 rigs.
The race to the first windward mark was amazing as two newcomer, young skippers led the fleet which included many world champions and experienced 18 Footer teams.
PB Towage, Josh Franklin from Brisbane, held a narrow lead from Will Phillips in The Kitchen Maker with Gotta Love It 7 close behind.
UK’s Pica (Jamie Mears) was fourth, followed by Sydney City Marine (David Witt), Pure Blonde (Nick Daly), Haier Appliances (Rick Peacock, UK), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel.
The fleet produced a magnificent spectacle as the 34 skiffs raced from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay with most boats racing in tight groups.
After working back to Rose Bay the first time, Gotta Love It 7 was leading from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Fisher Hotel, Mojo Wine (Chris Nicholson), C-Tech (Alex Vallings, NZ), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Sydney City Marine (David Witt).
The breeze fell away dramatically as the fleet finished the first lap back at Athol Bay.
Officials announced that the re-sail of Race 1 will take place, Monday, 3 March at 3pm.
For full details on the championship, Race Reports, Results, Points and video coverage go to www.18footers.com.au and ‘click here’ on the home page
Australian 18 Footers League
2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
proudly presented by Sydney City Marine
(75 years of the world’s greatest 18 Footer Championship)