When the Australian 18 Footer League’s fleet lines up for Race 1 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sunday it will be the first tentative step by the Aussies to try and win back the JJ Giltinan (world) Championship title on Sydney Harbour next March.
To date, early season racing has been confined to the League’s Spring Championship, which is a series of races conducted over unique 3-Buoys courses.
In addition to the 16 skiffs which contested the Spring Championship series, two brand new skiffs will join the fleet for former 18 Footer champions, Jack Macartney (Tech2) and Tom Clout (TBA), who are returning to the 18s after a two seasons break away.
The recent boat speed shown by the Spring Championship-winning Appliancesonline.com.au team of Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall and Kurt Fatouris, has set the bench mark for the fleet as the skiff has been impressive with both the #1 and #2 rigs, which cover all conditions.
Predicted wind conditions for Sunday’s opening race of the NSW Championship is 10-12 knots from the SE, which should provide all teams with an ideal opportunity to display their potential.
On form shown during the Spring Championship, together with past championship performances by experienced crews, there are at least six or seven teams with very strong chances to take the title.
Aside from Appliancesonline.com.au, other teams with a strong chance of becoming NSW champion for 2019-2020 include the defending NSW champion, and Australian champion, James Dorron, who has a new sponsor, Shaw & Partners Financial Services, for his defence of the two titles.
John Winning Jr. finished runner-up to David McDiarmid’s Honda Marine at the 2019 J.J. Giltinan Championship and lines up again this season with the same skiff and multi-Giltinan Championships winning crew members, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton.
Keagan York’s Finport Finance has been a strong, and consistent performer over the past two seasons, and the skiff has shown good pace throughout the Spring Championship.
Sean Langman’s Noakesailing goes into the championship season with the same team as he had in 2018-2019, and this team also showed good pace by winning two of the seven races in the Spring series.
Only one of last season’s Smeg team is back this year but the new team is strong and the boat has shown good form in the early season races. The 2006-2007 Australian Championship-winning skipper Micah Lane replaces Michael Coxon in 2019-2010, although Coxon will stand-in for Lane in Sunday’s Race 1 of the NSW Championship.
Impressive, consistent form shown by The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines team, led by Aron Everett, and Yandoo (John Winning) during the Spring Championship marks both teams as two more to watch, while at least three other teams are expected to improve on their Spring title form.
R Marine Pittwater, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone, and Rag & Famish Hotel all have the crews capable of causing problems for the top contenders and winning races during the titles.
Dal Zotto, Birkenhead Point Marina, and Vintec, have all shown good form at times so far this season while Ilve and Noakes Blue both had their best races last Sunday.
Naturally, the two new skiffs having their first race on Sunday, will lack the race-hardened teamwork of the crew and rig trimming, but it will be interesting to see what longer term potential each has, as both have very strong, experienced teams.
Entries for the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship are:
Boat Name: Team:
Smeg Micah Lane, Ricky Bridge, Peter Mackie
Yandoo John Winning, Michael Kennedy, tba
Shaw & Partners Financial Services James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite, Tim Westwood
R Marine Pittwater Marcus Ashley-Jones, Jeronimo Harrison, Ben Piggott
Appliancesonline.com.au Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Kurt Fatouris
Rag & Famish Hotel Bryce Edwards, Rory Cox, Jacob Broom
The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines Aron Everett, Courtney Mahar, Charlie Gundy
Birkenhead Point Marina Tom Anderson, Elliot Scali, Tom Arkens
Vintec Kirk Mitchell, Reece Goldsmith, tba
The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone Jordan Girdis. Lachlan Doyle, Tom Quigley
Dal Zotto Jack Sprague, Tim Narborough, Josh Feldmann
Noakesailing Sean Langman, Ed Powys, Nathan Edwards
Finport Finance Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Angus Williams
Ilve Pedro Vozone, Matt Doyle, Jerome Watts
Winning Group John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton
Noakes Blue Yvette Heritage, Rory Hunter, Oliver Scott-Mackie
TBA Tom Clout, Nick Daly, John Walton
Tech2 Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt, tba
Spectators can see all the teams while they are rigging, then follow the racing on board the club’s spectator ferry, which leaves Double Bay Wharf, alongside the rigging area, each race day at 2pm.
Book online through the club’s website www.18footers.com
The AeroMedia Live Broadcast team will also be out on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action for those who can’t make it onto the water. The livestreaming is available at www.18footers.com by clicking on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.
As well as watching the livestreaming coverage, you can also follow all the club’s racing throughout the entire 2019-2020 Racing Season:
Club Website www.18footers.com
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