18 Footer championship season begins Sunday

Sunday’s Race 1 of the NSW 18ft skiff Championship is the first step of a long campaign towards becoming the world’s best team at the 2023 JJ Giltinan Championship next March on Sydney Harbour.

With the return of the triple Giltinan champion New Zealand team led by David McDiarmid, after Covid restrictions had interrupted its winning run in 2021 and 2022, plus an expected influx of contenders from Europe, the 2023 JJs is going to be far more competitive for the locals, despite the advantage of sailing on home waters.

Two consistent performers in the recent Spring Championship
Two consistent performers in the recent Spring Championship

The additional challenge at the 2023 championship will make it the best 18 footer regatta for several seasons but it will put more pressure on the top local teams.

Local reaction to the challenge starts on Sunday.

The Spring Championship series has given all Australian 18 Footers League teams the opportunity to tune up for the campaign ahead and Sunday is sure to bring out the best from the leading contenders.

NSW Championship favourite, Andoo shows her downwind speed during the Spring Championship
NSW Championship favourite, Andoo shows her downwind speed during the Spring Championship

The reigning 2022 JJ Giltinan champion Andoo team has a positional change with the return of skipper John ‘Herman’ Winning Jr to the fleet after missing the 2021-22 season.

Last season’s skipper Seve Jarvin remains in the team and will sail on the sheet, alongside bowman Sam Newton.

The close racing action expected during the NSW Championship
The close racing action expected during the NSW Championship

The formidable, and highly experienced, team will start favourite on Sunday although there is likely to be a very strong challenge from the young, Harry Price-led Rag & Famish Hotel team, including Josh McKnight and Harry Hall.

Impressive performer during the Spring Championship
Impressive performer during the Spring Championship

‘The Rag’ team has shown great boat-speed over a variety of conditions since its new hull was launched less than one month ago.

Spring champion Yandoo, skippered by John Winning
Spring champion Yandoo, skippered by John Winning

Three other experienced teams with strong winning chances on Sunday include Smeg, skippered by four-times Giltinan champion Michael Coxon, Spring champion Yandoo, skippered by former Giltinan champion John ‘Woody’ Winning, and Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones), which won the international Mark Foy Trophy regatta just four months ago at Lake Garda, Italy.

Spinnaker action
Spinnaker action

Racing through the fleet is close and there will be plenty of exciting fleet action between a number of young and new teams as they challenge more experienced campaigners.

There is little between a group which includes The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Alex Martinelli), Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley), Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis), Birkenhead Point Marina (Kirk Mitchell), Noakes Youth (Tom Cunich), Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) and Ilve (Cam Gundy) and this should guarantee a great opening race of the new championship season.

Shaw and Partners, a team on the improve for the NSW Championship
Shaw and Partners, a team on the improve for the NSW Championship

Two other teams still to make their mark on the 2022-23 season are Finport Finance (Keagan York) and Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings), who are both waiting to take delivery of their new hulls.

Spectators can follow all the action from Sunday’s big race, and all races throughout the full championship season, on board the club’s spectator ferry, as they have done for the past 87 years, which leaves Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse at 2pm.

Booking online through the club’s website www.18footers.com is essential

http://18footers.com/18-footer-racing/spectator-ferry/

For anyone who can’t make it out onto the water, the League’s live broadcast team will be out on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action. Live streaming is available at www.18footers.com by clicking on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.

Rag & Famish Hotel, the big threat to series favourite Andoo
Rag & Famish Hotel, the big threat to series favourite Andoo
Noakes Youth, Tom Cunich
Noakes Youth, Tom Cunich
Lazarus on the way to winning the Mark Foy Trophy at Lake Garda, Italy (image from M A-J)
Lazarus on the way to winning the Mark Foy Trophy at Lake Garda, Italy (image from M A-J)
Fisher & Paykel is expected to be one of the improvers during the NSW Championship
Fisher & Paykel is expected to be one of the improvers during the NSW Championship
Burrawang-Young Henrys, skippered by League Commodore Simon Nearn
Burrawang-Young Henrys, skippered by League Commodore Simon Nearn
Birkenhead Point Marina's new team in 2022-23, led by Kirk Mitchell
Birkenhead Point Marina’s new team in 2022-23, led by Kirk Mitchell
Andoo and Rag & Famish Hotel in the type of action we're likely to see on Sunday
Andoo and Rag & Famish Hotel in the type of action we’re likely to see on Sunday

For all the club’s racing and up-to-date news:

Club Website www.18footers.com

Twitter @18skiff

Instagram @18skiff

Facebook International 18ft Skiff

For anyone who wants to take a look at Sail Media’s action videos from the 2021-22 season, including the 2022 JJ Giltinan Championship, go to www.18footers.com and click on the ’18 Footers TV’ link.

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.

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