Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lightspeed Crowned 2018 MC38 Australian Champions

The consistency of Lightspeed over nine races then victory in the decider bagged Steve Barlow his first class Australian Championship against the more seasoned in the nine-boat MC38 fleet.
Photo: Tilly Lock
Seconds and thirds kept Lightspeed in the game and when the top-scorers’ results wavered over three races in gloomy conditions on Sunday February 25, 13 up to 20 knots of shifty S-SE breeze and constant drizzle, Barlow’s “battlers” went for the throat.
Photo: Tilly Lock
The skipper was measured in his reaction to the series win. Had Neville Crichton’s Maserati not blown a D1 in race one on Friday and missed the first two races while rigging repairs were undertaken, the championship might have easily finished in the hands of the runner-up, Barlow acknowledged.
Photo: Tilly Lock
“I feel for Neville; they missed the first two races and came back from a pretty deep pointscore with boat of the day yesterday and today,” he said. “Marcus (Blackmore) was leading after day one then Ginger came through on day two. The top four could have been in any order and the final race was the clincher as to whether you came first or fourth.
Photo: Tilly Lock
“I thought today was going to bring winds in the high 20s but the most I saw was 22. It was the variance in pressure, the gusts that went from 22 suddenly down to 16 and the 30 degree shifts that made it really tough for the tacticians. Seve Jarvin (tactician) is a master of all that; he reads the breeze really well.”
Photo: Tilly Lock
After Hamilton Island Race Week in 2016 Barlow sold his then boat and made a guest appearance helming Ginger, then chartered Lang Walker’s Kokomo and then Lightspeed which was McConaghy’s overseas demo boat. It was sitting in a shed cling-wrapped and awaiting a big dose of new owner love and money to strengthen the load points and bring it up to where the Australian fleet had progressed to during the intervening period.

Finally, Barlow assembled the crew calibre it takes to be at the pointy end of the fleet, including mainsheet trimmer Sam Newton, all-rounder Mitch White and Jarvin.

“I’m pretty humbled about the whole exercise. We pulled some consistent scores and got some lucky shifts in the last race. They are such an exciting boat, they accelerate from 8 to 18 knots in 50 metres,” Barlow said of his national title result.

Maserati’s comeback to second overall by three points having only recorded eight race results from ten, and two ‘boat of the day’ performances thereafter promises some thrilling racing when the class reconvenes for the autumn season on March 24-25 from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

“After missing the first two races we dangled the cherry in front of ourselves, as motivation to get out there and sail the best we could,” said Maserati’s tactician Joe Turner.

Third placed Ginger, the four-time MC38 Australian Champion, side-stepped a fifth consecutive title after one of those days moved Leslie Green’s team backwards in the standings, but still they remained on the podium. Ross Hennessy’s Ghost Rider out-manoeuvred the fleet in race eight and Shaun Lane and Quentin Stewart’s Lazy Dog, competing in its first class event, scored a result for that race then returned to Middle Harbour.

Rather than the usual Dark Star crew, John Bacon’s boat was loaned to Mal Parker (Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club) to run with a mixed youth team plus some regulars, and guest helmsmen Bruce Ferguson and Mike Green.

Final 2018 MC38 Australian Championship series results

Lisa Ratcliffe

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Smeg Rock The Harbour

18ft Skiffs, Australian Championship, Races 7 & 8
Sunday, 18 February, 2018 - Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey scored a double victory in the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today, and go into next Sunday's final day with a 14 points lead over their nearest rival.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Smeg's crew was faultless as the skiff powered around the North-East course in the 20-25 knot wind. Race 7 was an all-the-way one minute 15 second win over James Ward, Adam Gillson, Ben Bradley in Triple M, followed by a 30 second victory over The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage, Tom Quigley, Sam Ellis in Race 8
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Ilve, skippered today by the reigning JJ Giltinan champion Michael Coxon, with his crew Pedro Vozone and Charlie Gundy, finished third in both races. The day took a very heavy toll on the fleet with only eight skiffs able to finish in Race 8.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Problems began when Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster) was forced to stay ashore after gear breakage during the rigging prevented the team from competing. Smeg quickly took the lead from Asko Appliances (James Dorron) in Race 7 but Asko's challenge soon ended on the first spinnaker run when the skiff suffered a broken forestay.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Conditions saw a number of skiffs capsize early in the race, leaving Smeg to lead from Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York) at the bottom mark. The Kitchen Maker was in third place but capsized as the team approached the bottom mark.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
With all major challengers out of contention, Smeg had little difficulty over the final lap of the course.
Race 8 was a far tougher contest for the flying red machine as The Kitchen Maker pushed Smeg to the limits over the first lap of the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The young NSW champions on The Kitchen Maker lead at the windward mark and held on down wind as Smeg challenged strongly. Smeg proved too strong and recorded a well-deserved double, while the Ilve team also deserves great praise for two consistent performances in the testing conditions.

Frank Quealey

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Smeg Extend Their Lead

18ft Skiffs Australian Championship, Races 5 &and 6
Sunday, 11 February, 2018, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
A 22-knot SSE wind provided fantastic conditions for the flying 18ft Skiffs today when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted Races 5 and 6 of the Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Once again, the two races produced two different winners and the overall scores suggest that we are in for a great finish in the final four races. Race 5 produced a wonderful win for the Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge, as they powered away from the opposition over the final lap of the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Ilve (Ollie Hartas, Pedro Vozone, Charlie Gundy) were strong challengers over the first two legs of the course but couldn't match the pace of the Smeg team in the closing stages. Smeg's final margin was 1m13s from Ilve, with Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Dan Phillips) a further 1m7s back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Appliancesonline (Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Nick Hord) finished fourth, followed by Yandoo (John Winning, Bameron McDonald, Mike Kennedy) and Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Paul Montague, Harry Bethwaite).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The conditions tested the entire fleet and there were a number of capsizes as the skiffs raced around the course. It was a great spectacle for the crowds on the ferries. The wind eased just a little for Race 6 and this time it was the Appliancesonline team which sailed brilliantly to quickly establish a big early lead.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
As was the case in Race 5, the Ilve team was the main challenger over the first lap of the course, with Finport Trade Finance in third place. Finport's consistency managed to get the team into second place over the final stages of the race, and Finport came home 32 seconds behind the winner Appliancesonline.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Race 5 winner Smeg, after a poor first lap (by that team's standards) finished strongly to grab third place ahead of Ilve, Yandoo and NSW champion The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage, Tom Quigley, Sam Ellis).
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
Racing continues with the final four races being held over the next two weeks.
Photo: Frank Quealey/18 Foot Skiff League
The present points in the championship are: Smeg 18 points, Finport Trade Finance 21 points, Appliancesonline 22 points, Yandoo 23 points, with Asko Appliances and Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards,, Rory Cox, Jacob Broom) equal on 39 points.
Frank Quealey

Monday, February 5, 2018

It's Anyone's Game after Two More Races

18ft Skiffs, Australian Championship, Races 3 & 4
Sunday, 4 February 2018, Sydney Harbour
Photo: Frank Quealey
The Australian 18ft Skiff Championship is wide open after another which produced two different winners in Races 3 and 4 on Sydney Harbour today. Smeg's team of Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey and Ricky Bridge dominated Race 3 in the 10-knot East-South-East breeze when they led at every mark before going on to a brilliant one minute 29 second win.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Ed Chapman) recovered fro 9th place at the first windward mark to finish in second place, just 2s ahead of The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage, Sam Ellis, Kurt Warner).
Photo: Frank Quealey
Smeg was in the lead shortly after the start and quickly opened up a big lead over the fleet. A lead of 40 seconds over Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards) when spinnakers were set for the run back to the bottom mark almost guaranteed Smeg would not be beaten over the windward return course. Smeg's lead was out to one minute at the bottom mark and interest centred on the battle going on behind the winner.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Race 4 followed soon after, and it looked as though wew would have another Smeg victory when the champion team led the fleet over the first lap of the course. Typical 'fluky' Easterly conditions, however, began to play a part on the final windward leg of the course and Smeg's lead soon disappeared.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The experienced Yandoo team of John Winning, Cam McDonald, Mike Kennedy picked the best course and had a narrow lead over Appliancesonline (Brett Van Munset, Phil Marshall, Nick Hord) at the windward mark. With just a few seconds between the two teams the race to the finish in Race 4 by finishing 4s further back in third place. held the spectators interest as the breeze freshened.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Yandoo's crew were superb and went to a 40 second victory over Appliancesonline, while Finport Trade Finance completed a consistently good day. The championship has produced three different winners in the four races and the overall point reflect the closeness of the racing.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Yandoo's win has given the team a total of 13 points from the four races and a one point lead over Smeg (the only two times winner), which has a total of 14 points. Finport Trade Finance and Appliancesonline share the next placing on 14 points, followed by Asko Appliances (James Dorron) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards) on 20 points.
Frank Quealey