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.

Frank Quealey

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