Australian Championship – Race 4

The Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team of Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas retained their Australian 18ft Skiff Championship title after another great win in Race 4 of the 2012 event on Sydney Harbour today.

Despite a determined challenge from the Rag & Famish Hotel team of Jack Macartney, Peter Harris and Mark Kennedy, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers scored their third victory from the four races sailed so far and have an unbeatable lead going into next Sunday’s last race of the championship.

Thurlow Fisher’s winning margin today was 1m10s over ‘The Rag’, with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage and Troy Tindall) another 11s back in third place.

With each team allowed to discard their worst performance, the net points scored so far are Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 3 points, Smeg (Nick Press) 6 points, Gotta Love It 7 10 points, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) 14, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) 15, Rag & Famish Hotel 17 and Yandoo (John Winning) 18 points.

Following a long run of poor racing conditions this season, the fleet were sent away in a brilliant #2 sail North-East wind.

The battle for the title between Thurlow Fisher and Smeg was soon over when Smeg retired after less than 10 minutes sailing.

Smeg team later explained that they retired following an incident when they were in the wrong and collided with Beko (Nick Daly), forcing that skiff out of the race.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers led the fleet up the first windward leg to the Beashel Buoy where their margin over Lumix was 25s.

Rag & Famish Hotel was third, followed by Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Yandoo, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn) and Gotta Love It 7, which was 1m10s behind the leader.

A massive change came over the fleet on the spinnaker run to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island as several skiffs came along the island with a terrific gust.

‘The Rag’ had moved into the lead with some excellent tactics, from Lumix and Thurlow Fisher, while Gotta Love It 7 had moved up into fourth place just behind Thurlow Fisher.

At the bottom mark Rag & Famish Hotel had edged out to a 45s break over Lumix and Thurlow Fisher, with Gotta Love It 7 1m10s from the lead.

Thurlow Fisher again showed her speed upwind to grab a narrow lead over Rag & Famish and from that point she was never headed.

The Rag & Famish team never gave up and kept the pressure on Thurlow Fisher but Thurlow’s superior upwind speed was too much to overcome.

Aside from the three leaders in the race, there were some good duels for the next five or six placings.

De’Longhi-Rabbitohs got the upper hand of this group to finish fourth, ahead of Yandoo, Mojo Wine, Lumix, (Micah Lane) and The Kitchen Maker (Cameron McDonald).