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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Witty Leads Appliancesonline.com.au to a Bullet at JJ Giltinans

18ft Skiffs, 2017 JJ Giltinan Championship, Race 3
Tuesday, 28 February 2017, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Australia finally broke the New Zealand dominance so far in the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by The Winning Group, when Appliancesonline.com won an incident packed Race 3 of the championship on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The race began in a light East wind before a rain squall hit the fleet on the spinnaker run to the bottom mark off Kurraba Point. Visibility was non-existant for the spectators, and when the fleet finally emerged from the gloom several boats had capsized,
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Finally, after the squall passed, the fleet sailed the windward leg to Rose Bay, but the dramas weren’t over as the wind died completely as the fleet were on the next spinnaker run to Kurraba Point. With the wind now gone completely, race officials decided to shorten the course at Kurraba Point and Appliancesonline.com.au was declared the winner.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
It was a welcome change of luck for the Appliancesonline crew of David Witt, Tom Anderson and Tom Clout, who were plagued by gear problems in the first two races. Appliancesonline’s winning margin was seven minutes and 15 seconds from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) with New Zealand’s Knight Frank (Riley Dean, Luke Stevenson, Tim Sneddon) a further 2m6s back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The rest of the fleet were becalmed and it was another 27 minutes before the fourth boat crossed the finish line. Ironically there was only five seconds between the fourth placed C-Tech (Alex Vallings) and Peroni (Nick Daly). Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) finished sixth.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Yamaha (David McDiarmid), winner of each of the first two races, retired with gear damage and is well back on points, but will still the championship once the result is discarded. There is also a protest on the race plus others pending from earlier races and all point are provisional only at this stage.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers is on nine points, followed by Appliancesonline on 14, defending champion, Smeg (Lee Knapton) 16, C-Tech 16, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) 17 and Knight Frank on 22.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Howie Hamlin (USA) grabbed the early lead at the Rose Bay windward mark when he took Harken to a 10s lead over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. There was a group of close challengers including Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Peroni and Triple M (James Ward).
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Harken maintained the lead to the wing mark off Clark Island with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in close contact.As the fleet set off from the wing mark for the tight run to Kurraba Point the rain squall hit and visibility was down to near zero for those watching the race.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
When the squall was gone and visibility cleared there were numerous skiffs capsized. Thurlow Fisher lawyers had taken the lead from Line 7 but Appliancesonline was revelling in the freshening breeze and rapidly closing on Thurlow Fisher. The only other skiffs in the lead group were Ilve (Ollie Hartas) and Knight Frank.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
As this group approached Rose Bay the wind became very light and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers came back to be just 15 seconds behind Appliancesonline. When one of the Thurlow crew slipped and the skiff capsized, Appliances was left with a big lead which the team held in the dying wind.
David Witt was happy with his team’s result and claimed: “It’s amazing how one day can change a championship. We had a problem in Race 1 when the mast didn’t fit the boat, then had to go with our #1 rig in Race 2 (while everyone else used the #2 rig) when our little rig broke,” David Witt said.

Many teams suffered badly from the dying wind today as they dropped back from prominent positions to finish near the tail of the fleet. The overall position of the championship will be a little clearer after tomorrow’s protest hearings and Race 4.

Frank Quealey

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Yamaha Clocks Up Another Win at JJ Giltinan Championship

18ft Skiffs, 2017 JJ Giltinan Championship, Race 2
Sunday, 26 February 2017, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
New Zealand champion Yamaha team tightened the grip on the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by The Winning Group, with another stunning victory in today’s Race 2 of the championship on Sydney Harbour.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
With eyes set firmly on becoming the first New Zealand team to win the coveted crown on Sydney Harbour, David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins sailed another faultless race to win by one minute and 14 seconds from the defending champion Smeg team (Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey).
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Peter Harris, Mark Kennedy) reproduced their form from Race 1 and finished just seven seconds back in third place. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) was only another nine seconds back in fourth place, followed by Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt).
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Yamaha leads the series on two points, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel on five points, Smeg on 6, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 7, C-Tech (Alex Vallings, NZ) 12, with Asko Appliances and Appliancesonline.com equal on 13.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The race was sailed in another southerly wind, which ranged between 19-24 knots. Most teams elected to go with the smaller #2 rig, however the Appliancesonline.com.au team went big in the hope the breeze wouldn’t freshen, and because there was a problem with the team’s smaller rig from yesterday.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Yamaha’s crew quickly set the pace on the short windward leg to the Clark Island mark and led Smeg by 15 srconds, with another New Zealand team, Knight Frank (Riley Dean) in third place just ahead of Coopers-Rag.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Once again, the kiwi skiff showed her boat speed on the long downwind leg to Obelisk and Yamaha’s lead had extended to 1m over Coopers 62-Rag & Famish as the fleet headed back to the next mark in Rose Bay.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Rag’s downwind speed was impressive as she moved ahead of Smeg. Appliancesonline gained from her bigger rig and was in fourth place ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. C-Tech, Peroni (Nick Daly), Asko Appliances and Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) were in a tight battle for sixth place.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Yamaha’s performance was impressive upwind and the team extended the lead marginally as Smeg and Coopers-Rag battled hard for second place. The leading positions remained relatively unchanged over the next two legs of the course but the racing was fast and exciting as all crews drove their skiffs to the limit.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
While Yamaha continued to show the way, Smeg continued to hold a narrow break over Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel at Clark Island. The pair continued to provide spectators with some exciting racing as they raced downwind with only a couple of seconds between the two skiffs.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Coopers-Rag was again faster than Smeg on the long spinnaker run and she not only took over second place, but actually took out some time on the leader.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The two local teams threw out strong challenges to Yamaha on the beat back to Rose Bay but Yamaha’s skipper, Dave McDiarmid, was confident enough to hold his nerve and didn’t bother to cover the challengers.
He did the same thing on the final leg to the finish when the pressure was applied again by the two major challengers.

“We were satisfied with our speed and ability to maintain the lead and decided to sail our own course,” McDiarmid commented later.

Frank Quealey

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kiwis On Fire at JJ Giltinan Championship

18ft Skiffs 2017 JJ Giltinan Championship, Race 1
Saturday, 25 February 2017, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
New Zealand champion Yamaha came from behind to score a brilliant win in Race 1 of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by The winning Group, on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
No New Zealand 18ft Skiff team has ever won the coveted title on Sydney Harbour but David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins showed today that they have the ability to become the first.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Yamaha defeated Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) by 1m13s, with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) just 8s further back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Defending champion, Smeg (Lee Knapton) finish in fourth place, ahead of another New Zealander, C-Tech (Alex Vallings) and Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn). Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took the early lead at the first windward mark off Clark Island but Coopers 62-Rag & Famish showed exceptional downwind speed to grab a narrow lead on the run to Obelisk.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
An uncharacteristic capsize by the Thurlow crew allowed Coopers-Rag to open up a clear lead over a group of 8-9 boats as the fleet headed into Rose Bay.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The Rag was one minute ahead of the pack at the Rose Bay mark followed by Yamaha, C-Tech, Thurlow Fisher, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Harken (Howie Hamlin, USA), Smeg, Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt) and Yandoo (John Winning).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
A change of wind direction prevented the fleet from setting spinnakers on the next leg, which became a two-sail reach back to the bottom mark. When the breeze lightened on the following work back to the Clark Island mark, Yamaha made her move and was closed in on Coopers 62-Rag & Famish. The two teams engaged in a gybing match on the second long spinnaker run to Obelisk.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The New Zealanders came out ahead and were never in any real danger of defeat as the fleet completed the final three legs of the course.Racing throughout the fleet was extremely close and the championship should provide a variety of results.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
There are at least four or five real chances to win the title and many other teams with a good chance of a race win.
Frank Quealey