Sunday, February 24, 2019

It's Asko All The Way

18ft Skiffs - Club Championship, Race 16
Sunday, 24 February, 2019 - Sydney Harbour

The Asko Appliances team had to recover from a mid-race capsize before taking out the 2018-2019 Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship in a dramatic day of 18ft Skiff Racing on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Going into today's final race of the championship, Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite, Trent Barnabas) held a 3.4 points lead over arch-rival Smeg (Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey) and had to finish no worse than three places behind Smeg to take their third championship title for the season, so far.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
In a 12-15-knot South-East breeze, Smeg grabbed an early lead while Asko Appliances was never further back than third over the first three legs of the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Just when everything appeared to be going to the plot, Asko Appliances capsized on the tight spinnaker run from Clark Island to Chowder Bay and the team's championship-winning hopes seemed to out the back door as Smeg held a handy lead over Finport Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Charlie Gundy) and Bing Lee (Micah Lane).
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Winning Group (John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton) was back in fifth place at the Clark Island windward mark, but the team went up a gear over the next four legs of the course and gradually chipped away at Smeg's lead until Winning Group took a 12 second lead at Rose Bay on the final lap.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
With just one downwind leg into Athol Bay and a windward beat back to the finish off Clark Island, the two experienced teams went leg-for-leg before Winning Group finally crossed the finish line 16 seconds ahead of Smeg. The consistent Finport Finance finish a further 39 seconds back in third place.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Bing Lee faded a little over the last few legs of the course and fell back to finish in fourth place, ahead of a hard-charging comeback by Asko Appliances, to take the championship by a mere 0.4 of a point ahead of Smeg.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards) came home in sixth place, followed by The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis), Noakesailing (Sean Langman), Yandoo (John Winning), Vintec (Kirk Mitchell), Birkenhead Point Marina (Tom Anderson) and R Marine Pittwater (Simon Nearn).
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Final points in the championship were: Asko Appliances on 63 points, Smeg on 63.4, third place went to Winning Group on 92, followed by The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone on 114, Finport Finance 115, and Bing Lee on 121 points.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
The conditions were perfect for each team's final hit out before next week's JJ Giltinan (world) Championship and the fleet took full opportunity of the conditions with some spectacular down wind racing.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
Katie Love, the US representative in the Giltinan Championship, finished 16th in today's race.
Photo: Frank Quealey / 18 Foot Skiff League
UK's Jarrod Simpson (Black Dog) and Germany's Heinrich Bayern (Marinepool) sailed by invitation, after their skiffs only arrived in Sydney yesterday. Simpson actually crossed the finish line in 12th place and Bayern in 15th place.
Frank Quealey

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Asko Crowned 2018-2019 Australian 18ft Skiff Champions

18ft Skiffs - Australian Championship, Races 8 & 9
Sunday, 17 February 2019 - Sydney Harbour

The Asko Appliances team of James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite and Trent Barnabas became the 2018-2019 Australian 18ft Skiff champions after a wonderful day of action-packed racing on Sydney Harbour today.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Going into today's final two races, only four points separated the top five teams.With a 13-15-knot North East wind, and a brilliant, sunny Sydney day, the conditions were perfect for a spectacular finale to the championship.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko Appliances revelled in the conditions for the first race (Race 8) and the team quickly went to the lead on the windward leg from the start off Clark Island to the windward mark off Nielsen Park.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko's domination was soon evident and the team held a 35 second lead over Winning Group (John Winning Jr., Sam Newton and Euan McNicol) as spinnakers were set for the run back down the harbour to the bottom mark.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The first casualty of the day happened at the start when defending champion, Smeg was recalled for being over the start line too early.On the short 2-lap windward-return course, this spelt the end of Smeg's chances of retaining the title.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Asko continued to lead throughout the race and finally crossed the finish line a 20 second winner over Winning Group, which had pushed the winner all the way around the course.
Photo: Frank Quealey
As the wind freshened a little over the latter half of the course, Finport Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta and Charlie Gundy) began to make a move and reduced the margin from the leaders to just 21 seconds at the finish.
Photo: Frank Quealey
The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) and Bing Lee (Micah Lane) could do no better than 8th and 14th respectively, and lost too much ground on the points table to be likely winners of the championship.
Photo: Frank Quealey
As the fleet began Race 9, Asko Appliances held a net two points lead over Winning Group for the title and they were the only real contenders for victory. Finport Finance confirmed the finishing burst of Race 8 and led for most of the first windward leg to the mark off Nielsen Park.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Yandoo (John Winning) was also strong in the conditions and trailed the leader by just 12 seconds as the fleet raced downwind, back to the bottom mark off Clark Island.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Two large ships leaving the harbour made conditions difficult as the teams battled to avoid the wind damage they would cause, but Finport Finance had little trouble retaining her lead over Asko Appliances and Winning Group.
Photo: Frank Quealey
Yandoo lost time on the run (one of the departing ships certainly didn't help the team's chances) and she fell back into the clutches of Bing Lee and Noakesailing (Sean Langman), with The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett), R Marine Pittwater (Simon Nearn) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards).

Finport Finance was unstoppable on the following windward leg and maintained a comfortable lead over the final lap of the course to win by 55s from Asko Appliances, with Winning Group a further 32 seconds back in third place.

The final points in the championship were: Asko Appliances (17 points), Winning Group (20), The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (31), Bing Lee (35), Smeg (36), The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (39).

Frank Quealey

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Australia Wins Inaugural SailGP in Sydney

SYDNEY – February 16, 2019 – The first ever SailGP was witnessed by more than 20,000 people who took to the water on the spectacular Sydney Harbour, providing the perfect amphitheater for the season kick off.
Photo supplied
Two intense days of racing saw six national teams do battle in the world’s most technologically advanced catamarans, competing to get the first points on the leaderboard and closer to the $1 million Season 1 prize.
Photo: Sam Greenfield / SailGP
In front of cheering crowds, the green and gold F50 race boat of the Australia SailGP Team, helmed by local hero Tom Slingsby, won the final race of the day to earn the title in the opening event over Japan.
Photo: Chris Cameron / SailGP
The Olympic gold medallist and his crew of flight controller and tactician Jason Waterhouse, wing trimmer Kyle Langford, grinders Sam Newton and Ky Hurst, and Kinley Fowler gave a masterclass to the rest of the fleet.
Photo: Chris Cameron / SailGP
Though it was pre-race favourite Nathan Outteridge and his Japanese team who were leading going into the final day and looked set to upset the home crowd, Slingsby and his team were quick off the block on the second day, winning the first race and shortly following it up with another race win.
Photo: David Gray / SailGP
A second and a third for Outteridge’s Japan team guaranteed their place in the final match race and a chance to go head to head against the home team and line up against a close friend and fierce rival. The Australian team’s practice over the last few weeks paid off, and they lead the Japanese off the start and never looked back.
Photo: Lloyd Images / SailGP
“We don’t take losing lightly and that first race of the event really shot us into gear,” Slingsby said. “I couldn’t be happier with how today went. I hold my team to a high standard and they really over delivered.

“I don’t know which day had more spectators but it looked unbelievable again today, amazing the turnout for the first event of its kind in Sydney.”

Japan finished the first event with 45 points, three behind the Australians.

“Compared to the Australians, we’ve only done five days as a sailing team and I think that was what showed against them. But the fact we were even racing was incredible and to make the match race was just awesome. I am really proud of the whole team and what we have achieved in such a short time,” said Outteridge.

Third overall on the leaderboard with 36 points is Great Britain skippered by Dylan Fletcher. The British team under the command of Olympian Chris Draper was quick off the start and showed moments of promise but admitted they would be studying the data to ensure they were faster and more polished for San Francisco.

SailGP CEO Russell Coutts concluded, “A huge congratulations to Tom, Nathan and their teams. It has been a fantastic event and I want to say thank you to Sydney for supporting the event. It has been a great venue to launch SailGP."

Next stop for SailGP is San Francisco, May 4-5, 2019, when the young guns of the United States Team will be hoping to emulate Slingsby’s success and score a victory on home waters.

Overall Leaderboard Sydney

1st // Australia // 48pts
2nd // Japan // 45pts
3rd // Great Britain // 36pts
4th // China // 33pts
5th // France // 33pts
6th // United States // 31pts

Day 2 Results

Race 4
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // Japan // 9pts
3rd // Great Britain // 8pts
4th // France // 7pts
5th // United States // 6pts
6th // China // 5pts

Race 5
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // China // 9pts
3rd // Japan // 8pts
4th // France // 7pts
5th // Great Britain // 6pts
6th // United States // 5pts

Race 6
1st // Australia // 1pt
2nd // Japan // 0pts

SailGP Media

Friday, February 15, 2019

Japan Take Early Lead On Opening Day of SailGP Sydney

SYDNEY – February 15, 2019 – Sydney Harbour provided a spectacular backdrop for the historic global launch of SailGP. In front of thousands of spectators, pre-favourite Japan SailGP Team capitalized on slick crew work and prior big foiling catamaran experience on day one of the world premiere of SailGP.
Photo supplied
The Japanese team, helmed by Nathan Outteridge, posted a huge victory in race one. They followed it up with two second-place finishes, a performance that has them leading the hometown favourites by one point midway through the championship’s opening event.
Photo supplied
With adrenaline coursing through the veins and cool heads, Slingsby’s Australian team rallied for two commanding comeback wins, in races two and three. Their surprise fourth in the opening race pulled the local team in behind the overall leader Japan when the day’s points were counted.
Photo supplied
“Our team did really well,” said Outteridge. “That was the first time we’ve ever done a race together as a group. We made some errors but obviously we made less errors than everyone else. For the first day of SailGP and the first day for our team I couldn’t ask for more.
Photo supplied
“It was an incredible day. The breeze came in at the perfect moment and it was fantastic to see so many people out watching. There were some really good battles on the water; we loved every moment of it.”
Photo supplied
Slingsby attributed Australia’s race one result to poor boat handling on the revolutionary F50, and failing to pick the right side of the course in tricky easterlies, between 6 and 10 knots. Although he did hit the top speed of the day, reaching 34 knots in under 10 knots of breeze.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted,” Slingsby admitted. “We had a list of things to go through after that and we got better starts and got away from the pack. When we sailed by ourselves it was pretty obvious to see we are fast. We just have to get out of the pack and get free.

“But that was an unbelievable a day. The atmosphere was incredible. At the end of the race we sailed over to the spectator fleet and there were thousands of people everywhere. There were Australian flags and people chanting, it was incredible.”

The rivalry between the six national teams was strong but at the top of the fleet the fight between the Australian and Japanese team is heating up.

“It’s out of Nathan’s hands; if we perform we’ll beat him,” said Slingsby, who finished the day on 27 points to Japan’s 28s.

Outteridge shot back with, “The Australians are easily beatable – they beat us today because we made mistakes.”

Day one of the two-day championship drew overwhelming support from thousands of people on spectator vessels, those enjoying the front row fan seats on Shark Island and a global broadcast audience.

The British team skippered by Dylan Fletcher, started strong in all three races, finishing the day third overall on the leaderboard. Racing continues on Saturday, February 16 before the championship moves to Event 2, in San Francisco.

Leaderboard Sydney – Day 1
1st // Japan // 28pts
2nd // Australia // 27pts
3rd // Great Britain // 22pts
4th // United States // 20pts
5th // France // 19pts
6th // China // 19pts

Race 1
1st // Japan // 10pts
2nd // China // 9pts
3rd // Great Britain // 8pts
4th // Australia // 7pts
5th // United States // 6pts
6th // France // DNF

Race 2
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // Japan // 9pts
3rd // United States // 8pts
4th // Great Britain // 7pts
5th // France // 6pts
6th // China // 5pts

Race 3
1st // Australia // 10pts
2nd // Japan // 9pts
3rd // France // 8pts
4th // Great Britain // 7pts
5th // United States // 6pts
6th // China // 5pts

For full details on how to watch, visit SailGP.com/watch.

Final Countdown to First Ever SailGP

Later today the world’s most technologically advanced race boats, crewed by some of the world’s best sailors, will go head to head in the ultimate nation-versus-nation battle on Sydney Harbour.
Photo supplied
All six teams grabbed the chance for some final training on the cutting edge F50s when they took flight in light winds on the final practise day before SailGP Season 1 gets underway tomorrow.

Giving a glimpse of how close the championship will be, each of the four races saw a different nation triumph. Race wins were shared between Australia, Great Britain, Japan and United States, proving that the final $1 million prize could be won by any of the six competing nations.

Ahead of the final practise day, SailGP CEO Russell Coutts and the six helmsmen representing Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States delivered their final thoughts on SailGP’s impending lift-off.

“I used to represent Australia at the Olympic Games and now I’m back here with an all-Australian team in the green and gold,” said Tom Slingsby, CEO and helmsman of the Australia SailGP Team. “We’ve got a kangaroo on the boat and we are out sailing on Sydney Harbour with the Harbour Bridge in the background.”

Japan SailGP Team CEO/helmsman Nathan Outteridge has spent the most time at the wheel of the 2,400 kg. high-tech foiling catamaran, making him a pre-favourite among the other skippers.

“We aren’t getting ahead of ourselves,” said the double Olympic medallist. “Our goal is to have a good event in Sydney and be one of the top two teams at the end of Marseille, so we can challenge for that $1 million season prize.”

After feeling the full force of Sydney Harbour earlier this week, the teams will expect some lighter conditions over the next few days. Hungry to hit the elusive 50-knot speed barrier that the boats are capable of, the teams might have to wait until the second event in San Francisco.

“We have six really competitive teams from six different nations, five fantastic venues, iconic and all of them fantastic locations. It’s a bit surreal we are here on the eve of the first event. I don’t think we could have picked a better venue than Sydney to kick this off,” said SailGP CEO Russell Coutts.

Sydney SailGP’s first race is scheduled to start at 4:00pm AEDT on Friday 14 February. With broadcast agreements in place that span 90 countries across five continents, fans will be able to tune in around the world to watch the fast and thrilling action.

An innovative mobile application was also launched this week. The next generation SailGP APP, as advanced as the supercharged F50 boats, puts fans in full control of the way they consume the world’s fastest on-water racing, with the ability to watch live racing, personalize the boats, camera angles and data that feature in their feeds. The SailGP APP is available on all Apple iOS devices via the App Store. An Android version will be available later in the season.

SailGP Media