Saturday, October 23, 2021

Sydney Harbour Action - 18ft Skiffs Spring Championships Kick Off

The Australian 18 Footers League's 2021-2022 18ft Skiff racing season began on Sydney Harbour today when the club staged Races 1 and 2 of the annual seven-race Spring Championship series.
In ideal 10-12 knot SE winds, the day was a triumph for a crew having its first race in the 18s, and for a brand new sponsor, Balmain Slake, when the team took out both races in an eye-opening performance. Henry Larkings, Max Paul and Flynn Twomey had Balmain Slake close to the lead throughout both races but had to come from behind to take the honours. 

In Race 1, Rag & Famish Hotel, featuring another new, young team, Harry Price, Josh McKnight and Harry Hall, won the start and led for most of the two laps of the course only to be run down by Balmain Slake, which took victory by just 4s. The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Lachlan Steel, Jerome Watts, Matt Doyle) was a further one minute and 46 seconds back in third place, followed by Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis), The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett) and Yandoo (John Winning). Yandoo won the start in Race 2 but when the three-buoys system 'kicked in'at the first set of marker buoys, it was Rag & Famish Hotel which grabbed the lead. 

 As it was in Race 1, The Rag led over the next lap of the course before Balmain Slake came from behind once again to score her double on the day. This time the winning margin was a healthy 50s. The Noakes Blue team of Yvette Heritage, Tom Clout and James Turner showed great downwind speed and an excellent tactical move to also take The Rag, by 53 seconds, on the run to the finish. Fourth place went to The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines, followed by Burrawand-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn), and 18 Footers Bar & Restaurant (Pedro Vozone). 

Balmain Slake leads the points table on two points, followed by Rag & Famish Hotel on five points, There is no discarding of points in this championship. All seven results will be counted. With a number of new sponsors and teams joining many of last year's teams, the club's fleet will number around 20 boats regularly on the start line as the season moves through to the 2022 JJ Giltinan world Championship next March.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Rock Stars Make An Appearance at Airlie Beach Race Week

Tasmanians are leading the charge in Performance Cruising Division 2 at Airlie Beach Race Week. Brett Cooper scored a second place yesterday and backed it up with a win today with his and wife Jacinta's Melges 32, Crusader Clennett's Mitre 10.

Photo: Shirley Dodson

"The weather has been tailor made for the Melges. The beat from the start suited us, as was the reach to Pioneer Rock. We stayed in touch with the guys we had to beat, and then on the passage to the Molles we hung in with them,” Cooper said.

"We put the big A5 kite up and the breeze had moderated a bit, so that was perfect. We hedged a little and think we have more in the bag to offer. Twirler (Darren Jones) is arriving tomorrow and will do the rest of the week with us. He may re-cut our new sails when he's had a look."

The Tasmanian sailor says they are lucky to have any sails at all. 

"One set was in Townsville, another in Brisbane and the battens were in Sydney."

The rockstar crew includes Jones, a world champion one-design sailor; Stacey Jackson, a Volvo Ocean Racer and skipper of the all-women Wild Oats X boat that finished second overall in 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and Tassie offshore sailors Luke Watkins, Sam Tiedemann and gun foredeckie, Ben Archer.

"We couldn't do without him. Were very fortunate to have so many good people on board."

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