18 Footer championship season ‘hots up’

Although the Andoo team of John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton have already secured a victory in the 2022-23 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship, Sunday’s final race of the championship still holds tremendous importance for all the leading teams as they prepare for the upcoming Australian and JJ Giltinan Championship on Sydney Harbour.

The Australian Championship will be sailed over three days (January 27, 28, 29) with a ‘warm up’ day, on January 26, being staged as part of the Australia Day Regatta.

The nine-race JJ Giltinan World Championship will be staged from March 4-12 and will include entries from Europe and New Zealand as well as more from possibly three or four Australian states.

Andoo is definitely the benchmark for the rest of the fleet with consistently impressive form over the season to date, but if last Sunday is any indication, things are beginning to ‘hot up’ amongst her most likely challengers, who are beginning to edge closer to the NSW champion.

Keagan York’s brand new Van Munster-built Finport Finance hull was having its first race start and led the fleet easily over the first lap of the North East course before the team pulled off the course at the end of the first lap with “a couple of teething problems”.

Finport Finance led Yandoo and Andoo from the top mark last Sunday
Finport Finance led Yandoo and Andoo from the top mark last Sunday

Yandoo (John Winning) grabbed the lead soon after Finport Finance’s retirement and would have been level in the championship points table going into next Sunday’s final race had she been able to retain the lead over the final stages of the race.

Yandoo in action earlier in the championship
Yandoo in action earlier in the championship

An untimely, and definitely unlikely, capsize changed the fortunes and allowed Andoo to wrap up the series before this weekend.

It was the third consecutive race where Yandoo had led Andoo at various stages of the race and resulted in a good win in Race 3.

Smeg at speed on the second spinnaker run in Race 4
Smeg at speed on the second spinnaker run in Race 4

The spectacular action last Sunday also brought out the best in two experienced teams, Smeg (Michael Coxon) and Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones).

Smeg's winning crew last Sunday (Lara Quigley photo)
Smeg’s winning crew last Sunday (Lara Quigley photo)

Four times world champion Michael Coxon and his team mates Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey (both world champions) won the day with some brilliant sailing, defeating Lazarus by 54s.

Lazarus crew in action
Lazarus crew in action

Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley) and Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings) are two young teams with the potential to press their more experienced rivals, while another young team yet to show their best form is Rag & Famish Hotel, skippered by former world match racing champion Harry Price.

Shaw & Partners are one of the most consistent teams in the championship
Shaw & Partners are one of the most consistent teams in the championship

While the race to become national and world champion over the coming two months hots up, the race to win the coveted Australian 18 Footers League Season Point Score is even hotter with nine teams battling to put their names alongside some of the all-time greats of 18 footer history.

Balmain Slake finishes in fifth place last Sunday
Balmain Slake finishes in fifth place last Sunday

The Season Point Score is calculated on the performance of each team every week during the club’s season, and is based on the relative handicap of each boat after each race.

It represents the club’s most consistently good performer.

The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines leads the Season Point Score
The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines leads the Season Point Score

Going into Sunday’s race, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Alex Marinelli) leads on 63 points, followed by Yandoo and Smeg equal on 64, Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) on 71, Birkenhead Point Marina (Kirk Mitchell) 73, Shaw and Partners Financial Services 75, Lazarus 78, Andoo 82 and Fisher & Paykel on 87.

Spinnaker action between Shark and Clark islands last Sunday
Spinnaker action between Shark and Clark islands last Sunday

With so much hanging on Sunday’s race, for all teams, the racing should again be spectacular for the spectators, who can follow the action 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.

Smeg races to the finish line a winner last Sunday
Smeg races to the finish line a winner last Sunday

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.

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.

Two promising young teams
Two promising young teams
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