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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Triple M Snares Yandoo Trophy - Sydney Harbour

18ft Skiffs:Yandoo Trophy
Sunday, 4 December, 2016 - Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey
James Ward, Phil Marshall and Harry West won their first 18ft Skiff race today on Sydney Harbour when they brought Triple M home a clear winner of the Australian 18 Footer League’s Yandoo Trophy. The young team had to withstand immense pressure from the fleet’s top crews before crossing the finish line with 40s. to spare.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Following last week’s brilliant performance with a brand new #1 rig, Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt, Tom Anderson, Tom Clout) again showed the skiff to be a major threat in the upcoming championships with a great second placing.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor, Peter Mackie) finished a further 48 seconds behind Appliancesonline, in third place. Yandoo (John Winning) came from well back in the early stages to finish a close fourth, ahead of Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Smeg (James Dorron).
Photo: Frank Quealey
The race was a return to the 3-buoys system, following the NSW Championship, and produced some close racing in the 12-knot NE-ENE breeze. Appliancesonline won the start ahead of a closely bunched group of challengers.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Once the race settled down, many of the leaders chose different courses as they each searched for the best breeze. Appliancesonline.com.au, led for almost the entire windward leg with Triple M always looking in good shape to lead when the three-buoys system came into play.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Asko Appliances, Smeg and Peroni (Nick Daly) were in the lead group while Lumix (Bryce Edwards) was also close enough to be a threat at the windward marks. With the advantage of a red buoy rounding, Triple M grabbed the lead off Appliancesonline.com.au (white buoy) and led the fleet down the tight spinnaker run to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Appliancesonline grabbed the lead from Triple M close to the mark, while Lumix, Smeg, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Peroni led the challenging group. On the run between the islands the big Appliancesonline.com.au rig was superb as the team opened up a 40 second break over Smeg and Triple M as the fleet set out on the following windward beat,
Photo: Frank Quealey
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was fourth, followed by Asko Appliances, Lumix, The Kitchen Maker (Stephen Quigley), Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York), Yandoo, De’Longhi (Simon Nearn), Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty) and Haier Appliances Pedro Vozone).
Photo: Frank Quealey
Appliancesonline continued to dominate the lead and edged further away from Smeg and Triple M on the long work back to the 3-buoys near the Beahel Buoy. Once again, Triple M’s crew held on strongly against the top championship contending teams and regained the lead as spinnakers were set for the run down the harbour back to Clark Island.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (blue buoy) and Appliancesonline (white) were together as they chased the leader but the Triple M crew were still 30 seconds ahead of Appliancesonline with one more lap of the course still to be sailed.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The Appliancesonline team threw everything at Triple M but couldn’t narrow the margin enough and trailed clearly as the fleet headed back downwind to the wing mark for the final time. Despite a few anxious moments at the Shark Island mark, Triple M’s team held their composure and took the honour by a well-deserved 40 seconds.
Frank Quealey

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Smeg Crowned 18 Foot Skiff NSW Champions

18ft Skiffs: NSW Championship - Race 5
Sunday, 27 November, 2016 - Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge are the 2016-2017 NSW 18ft Skiff champions after finishing in second place in today’s final race of the series on Sydney Harbour.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Going into the last race of the championship tied with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), the winner was going to be the one which finished ahead of the other and for most of the race it was obvious that the Smeg team would come out on top.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
A jib problem on the final windward leg caused a minor drama for the Smeg crewmen who had to make a quick ‘repair’ so they could retain their position to the Rose Bay mark. Once they had turned for home the problem was solved as the big red spinnaker pulled them through to finish second behind the brilliant Appliancesonline.com.au skiff.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
It was a brilliant win for the Appliances crew who were sailing their first race together since the JJ Giltinan Championship earlier this year.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Skipper Dave Witt returned from Hong Kong just in time for today’s race, and with the professional crew work of Tom Clout and Tom Anderson, the team was outstanding as they powered away to win by two minutes 28 seconds from Smeg.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Çonnor and Dave Slennet) was a further 12 seconds back in third place, ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Yandoo (John Winning) and Noakesailing (Sean Langman).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg finished the championship on 7 points, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on 9, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 15, Yandoo 21, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 22 and Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) 29 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
A big sail Easterly was a welcome change from the many strong winds the fleet have had to battle over the first few weeks of the season. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers won the start and led the fleet from Smeg and Appliancesonline on the long windward leg from Robertson Point to Rose Bay.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
As the fleet approached the Rose Bay mark, Witt and his team outsailed the opposition and grabbed a 30s lead from Smeg, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Noakesailing as spinnakers were set for the spinnaker run to the wing mark off Clark Island and the bottom mark at Kurraba Point.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The run was uneventful but Appliancesonline showed good speed with the large sail area to extend the leading margin to 45 seconds. The race for second place behind the leader was close as Smeg retained her second placing just ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Asko Appliances, Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) and Noakesailing.
Witt and his team applied a loose cover on the challengers up the second work and continued to show great speed off the breeze to gain another one minute over the fleet on the second lap of the course. With the winner well ahead over the final lap of the course, the race behind her was extremely close with up to six skiffs battling for the minor placings.

Today’s win by Appliancesonline was even more impressive as the team only put the new mast and sails on the boat for the first time today. Dave Witt is one of the most experienced sailors on the planet, but he was even impressed by the way the boat performed.

“It was very encouraging, particularly as we only put it all together just before the race. Sailing with the two Toms again and winning was especially pleasing and I can’t remember ever having a win on the day we put a brand new rig in the boat,”

“We felt our performances at the 2016 JJ Giltinan Championship were really good but we had a problem in those conditions. So we bought the new rig and its looking good after the way it went today.”

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Smeg Cleans Up Real Nice on Sydney Harbour - 18ft Skiffs - NSW Championship - Race 4

18ft Skiffs: NSW Championship - Race 4
Sunday, 20 November, 2016 - Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
After weeks of strong winds and near-survival conditions, today’s Race 4 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship was sailed in a typically moderate summer North East wind on Sydney Harbour. The 2016 JJ Giltinan champion Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge proved they will again be the crew to beat this season with a brilliant one minute and 40 second win over a strong fleet.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Seve Jarvin, Jeronimo Harrison) finished second, with Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) just four seconds further back in third place. Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) finished strongly to take out fourth place, ahead of Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) and Peroni (Nick Daly).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg’s win today has also set up a great finish to the championship next Sunday as Smeg and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel are equal points leaders on five points. Asko Appliances is next on nine, with Yandoo (John Winning) on 16, defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) 19, and Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty) 21.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Uncertainty about the likely wind strength before the race split the fleet rig selection, although most teams elected to go for their smaller number two rig. An even start saw several boats vying for the lead as the fleet made its way across the harbour to Bradleys Head, but appliancesonline.com (Tom Clout) became the day’s first casualty when they lost their jib.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
A quick capsize to fix the problem put the team out of contention and Smeg immediately began to show superior speed to lead the fleet into Taylor Bay as the race settled. The battle in the leading group was close as the fleet made its way towards the Beashel Buoy windward mark.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg was first to reach the mark and established a 20s break over Asko Appliances as spinnakers were set for the run to the wing mark off Shark Island. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was in third place, followed by Noakes Youth and Triple M (James Ward), which had been declared as OCS at the start.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Positions remained unchanged after the run to the wing mark but Asko seemed to take a few secs out of Smeg’s lead as the pair began a battle for the following run between the islands. With more East in the breeze the run became more square and Smeg had little trouble maintaining her advantage over Asko and Thurlow Fisher.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg increased the lead on the windward leg back to the Beashel Buoy and the main interest began to settle on the placings behind her. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers gained on the spinnaker run down the middle of the harbour and moved into second place when Asko Appliances selected a more northerly course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Over the final lap of the course, the breeze eased a touch and the bigger rigs on Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Compassmarkets.com and Peroni began to come to the fore as these three skiffs made big inroads towards the leaders.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg headed for home with a 1m15s lead over Asko but The Rag began to apply the blow torch to the smaller rigged Asko as the pair raced with only a few secs between them to the finish. The crew work by both teams was classy and Asko used every trick in the book to hang on by a mere four seconds.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Asko’s ability to hang on and deny Coopers 62-Rag & Famish helped set up what should be a great finish to the championship next Sunday.
Frank Quealey

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Rag Rockets Away With Race 3 - 18ft Skiffs, NSW Championship - Sydney Harbour

18ft Skiffs: NSW Championship - Race 3
Sunday, 13 November, 2016 - Sydney Harbour
Coopers 62 - Rag & Famish Photo: Frank Quealey
The experienced crew of Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy and Dave Ewings gave a brilliant performance of heavy weather sailing when they combined to bring Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel home as winner of Race 3 of the NSW Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
Coopers 62 - Rag & Famish Photo: Frank Quealey
A 25 to 30-knot westerly wind pounded the fleet but the Coopers-Rag team were faultless, but for one very brief capsize during the hour long race.With tired crews battling to complete the course behind them, The Rag team took the honours by a mammoth 19m33s from Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Steve Thomas, Jeronimo Harrison).
Photo: Frank Quealey
The early race leader Smeg (Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey, Ricky Bridge) was a further 9m48s back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The only other boats able to complete the course were Yandoo (John Winning, Cam McDonald, Mike Kennedy) and defending NSW champion Thurlow Fisher Lawers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Carter Jackson)
Photo: Frank Quealey
Smeg won the start and led to the windward mark off Kurraba Point. The current JJ Giltinan (world) champion Smeg team then produced a brilliant downwind exhibition as they raced to the wing mark off Clark Island ahead of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel.
Photo: Frank Quealey
An unlikely capsize by Smeg near the mouth of Double Bay on the following windward leg allowed Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel to grab the lead and leave Smeg to battle with Asko Appliances for the minor placings.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The race was more a battle of survival than tactics as several skiffs capsized many times in the tough conditions.
Frank Quealey

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bora Brings It To Quantum Racing

In January, when Quantum Racing hits the starting line at Quantum Key West Race Week, the crew will include Bora Gulari who is joining the team for the 2017 52 Super Series.
Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing
With owner-driver Doug Devos steering the boat in Key West, Gulari will serve as strategist and begin his training with the team. Gulari is scheduled to take the helm in March with the Super Series Miami Royal Cup and will fill a very similar role as Ed Baird’s over past few years with Devos’ involvement.
Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Gulari is known for his 2016 Olympic Sailing on the Nacra 17 and the Moth, where he has claimed two World Championships. He is also a top Melges 20 and 24 sailor. Gulari’s experience on the TP52 goes back to 2009 and includes Steve Benjamin’s American TP52 Spookie and the helmsman position for Phil and Sharon O’Niel’s Natalie J, a Michigan-based 52. Gulari was also set to sail in the 35th America’s Cup aboard the Italian boat Luna Rossa before they withdrew from the competition. Adding to these credentials, Gulari was named 2009 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.

Of his new role Gulari says, “The opportunity to be part of the best grand prix team around is awesome. I’m honored and excited to get on the boat. I can’t wait to get on with it!” When asked about his small boat sailing, Gulari says that will continue as well. “I have some unfinished work in the Olympic catamaran, and the Moth sailing keeps the skills sharp.”

“This choice may surprise people due to Bora’s reputation in multihulls and foiling,” says Quantum Racing manager Ed Reynolds, “but when you look at what’s he’s done on the 52s, you realize Bora is one of the most versatile and top performing sailors out there. We’re very confident he’ll be able to fit in this role, but everyone knows you don’t replace a guy like Ed Baird.”

Reynolds says the search for a new helmsman/strategist was launched when Ed Baird decided to accept a bid to work with Tony Langley’s Gladiator for 2017. “We’re pleased to welcome Tony as a new client, he’s been a stalwart of the 52 class. Through his new role, Ed will take the lead in transferring the Quantum methodology to Gladiator.”

As for the move, Baird says he is pleased to maintain ties with the Quantum Racing program while helping Quantum Sails deliver a high level of customer support and service to a new client. “This is a very exciting opportunity and I look forward to helping bring the Quantum Racing style of learning process to the Gladiator program.”

Quantum Racing is owned by Doug Devos. The team is three-time winner of the 52 Super Series and five-time TP52 World Champion.

Quantum Racing Media

Sunday, November 6, 2016

And They're Off in The Vendée Globe

With more than 300,000 spectators lined up along the harbour in Les Sables d'Olonne and more than a thousand boats out on the water , the 29 competitors in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe set sail at 1202hrs UTC under a sunny sky in a 14-knot NNE'ly with slight to choppy seas. HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco signalled the start after greeting all the sailors as they cast off.The 8th Vendée Globe is underway. The race around the world has begun.
Photo: © Vincent Curutchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe
From the gun, Kito de Pavant (Bastide Otio), Paul Meilhat (SMA), Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Cœur) and Vincent Riou (PRB) were out in front with the rest grouped together behind them. Bertrand de Broc (MACSF) and Enda O'Coineen (Kilcullen Voyager – Team Ireland) were called back after crossing the line a few seconds early. They had to go back and cross the line again.
Photo: © Olivier Blanchet / DPPI / Vendée Globe
VG Media

Smeg Take A Smoking Hot Win - 18ft Skiffs: NSW Championship, Sydney Harbour

18ft Skiffs: NSW Championship - Race 2
Sunday, 6 November, 2016 - Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
A reunited crew of Chris Nicholson, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey scored a convincing win with Smeg in today’s Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
When the team’s regular skipper Lee Knapton was unable to sail in the race, former 18ft Skiff champion Chris Nicholson was eager to link up again with his long-time friends and former crew mates of two years ago.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
In a race of fluctuating fortunes which produced several different leaders throughout the race, the Smeg team showed great speed over the latter part of the long South-East course to win by two minutes and 59 seconds. The young Noakes Youth team of Ash Rooklyn, Rhys Mara and Justin Mulkearns again showed their potential with a strong second placing.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Third today went to Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty, Aron Everett, Greg Dixon), which was a further 49s behind Noakes Youth. After battling in the top group all throughout the race, John Winning’s Yandoo finished fourth, followed by early leader Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and Asko Appliances (Micah Lane).
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Following three weeks of strong winds, which has affected the racing, today’s ESE wind allowed most teams to carry their bigger #1 rigs and produced some very close racing in the leading group. Smeg led the fleet to the first windward mark but had to be content to follow Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel and Yandoo around the bottom mark, off Robertson Point, after a spinnaker run which saw positions vary wildly through the fleet.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Line 7, Noakes Youth and Haier Appliances (Pedro Vozone) were not far behind the three leaders as the group went back across the harbour to the windward mark near Clark Island. The Rag established a 40s lead at Clark Island, and led the fleet on the following two-sail reach into Chowder Bay.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
This leg of the course produced a change in the leading group when Smeg capsized. Noakes Youth made a move and reduced Coopers 62-Rag & Famish’s lead to 20s, just ahead of Yandoo. A quick recovery by the Smeg team allowed them to still hold fourth place at Chowder Bay, ahead of Line 7 and Asko Appliances, which was struggling under a smaller #2 rig.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The whole race was turned on its head on the next spinnaker run, from Rose Bay to Taylor Bay, when Smeg grabbed the lead from Noakes Youth, Yandoo and The Rag. Over the final three legs of the course there was little change in the leaders positions, although Line 7 stormed home to grab third place from Yandoo by 30s.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The race was another bad day for the defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team. Following last week’s costly capsize, which robbed them of a win, the team were forced out of the race just a few minutes after the start with gear failure.
Frank Quealey