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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Smeg Smokes The Fleet To Win Race 2 - 18 Foot Skiffs - Australian Championship

18ft Skiffs: Australian Championship, Race 2
Sunday, 17 January 2016, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey
The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey gave an outstanding performance in extremely tough conditions to dominate Race 2 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey
After trailing in third place for the first two legs of the course, the Smeg boys gave no other team a chance as they powered away in the light, shifty ESE breeze which fully tested all crews as they searched for the best conditions.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Smeg crossed the finish line six minutes and three seconds ahead of Mojo Wine (James Ward, Phil Marshall, Rick Plain) with Ilve (Oliver Hartas, Mark Muirhead, Iain Wood) a further 23s back in third place. The victory also gives Smeg the lead in the championship with three more races still to be sailed.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Smeg has a total of 3 points, ahead of Race 1 winner Appliancesonline.co.au (David Witt) on 5, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) on 9, Triple M (John Sweeny) 12, Mojo Wine 13, with Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn) and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) tied in sixth place on 14 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey
It was a long slow day for a number of the more fancied teams as they battled to pick the fluctuating breeze. The race from the start in Taylor Bay, across the harbour, to the windward mark in Rose Bay was critical and played a big part in what was to follow.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The lightweight Ilve crew, along with the rookie Mojo Wine team and the young Noakes Youth boys elected to sail across to the windward side of the course near Steel Point. Only Smeg, in the middle of the course, was able to separate the trio when Smeg was third behind Ilve and Mojo Wine as spinnakers were set for the long run down the harbour to Robertson Point.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The four skiffs had already established a break over the rest of the fleet while teams such as Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Appliancesonline.com.au and Yandoo (John Winning) were struggling back towards the tail of the fleet.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Racing became much closer behind the leaders at the Clarke Island windward mark where Smeg had grabbed a 25 second lead from Mojo Wine and Ilve.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Triple M had made a move to be in fourth place, followed by Noakes Youth and Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), which had made a great recovery after a slow first windward leg when the crew elected to sail west of Shark Island and paid a heavy penalty.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Lumix (Brett Van Munster) was seventh, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman) and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney). As Smeg continually increased her lead, the race for the minor placings was heating up as some of the big guns began to challenge Ilve and Mojo Wines.

Despite the challenges, it was a great credit to the two less experienced crews as they repelled their more experienced rivals and showed the overall strength of the Sydney fleet as it prepares for the JJ Giltinan Championship next month.

Follow the livestream race coverage here>>>

Frank Quealey

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