The cream of Australia's 18ft skiff racing talent is hoping for a change of fortune when the 2018-2019 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship resumes on Sydney Harbour on Sunday.
A number of leading teams lost valuable points in Race 1 when they had to go back and re-round the bottom mark on the first lap of the course, then were forced to stay ashore last Sunday when strong westerly winds gusting to 40-knots, forced race officials to abandon racing on that day.
That race will now be re-scheduled, but in the meantime the high-quality 18-boat fleet will be back in action in this Sunday's Race 3 of the Championship.
Race 1 winner, John Winning (Yandoo) was disappointed that Race 2 wasn't sailed last weekend, but he is ready to try and retain his team's championship lead with another consistent performance this week.
“We took full advantage of the other teams' mistake, but we were really happy about the way the boat performed over the latter half of the course,” according to Winning.
“I was really disappointed that we couldn't get on the water last week, but who knows, maybe some of our competitors will make more mistakes this week and we can grab another win on Sunday.”
The three teams most affected by the dramas in Race 1 were the three leading boats when the mark rounding incident occurred.
Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster), Finport Finance (Keagan York) and Smeg (Michael Coxon).
The Appliancesonline team held a handy lead at the time and had travelled too far from the mark when the team realised the mistake.
Van Munster and his crew decided that it was pointless to go back and finish well back in the fleet, so they sailed on and retired at the finish.
“We were sailing well and thought it was better that we continued to sail the course and get a guide to our true boat speed.”
Finport Finance and Smeg elected to return and lost several places as a result, but both recovered well to place fourth and sixth respectively.
Finport's skipper, Keagan York: “The last two Sundays have been a disappointment, for different reasons, but we were pleased with the way we battled back through the fleet in Race 1.”
“There was no option last week. The wild westerly was just too much. Real boat-breaking stuff'.”
Smeg's Michael Coxon said that after the problem in Race 1, his team was looking forward to get back on the water last week.
“This is our first season together as a team and the more racing we can get at the moment is important as we lead up to the major championships early in the new year.”
A mixture of young and experienced teams will also be challenging strongly.
Asko Appliances (James Dorron), Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) and Bing Lee (Micah lane), along with The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis), Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards) and Vintec (Kirk Mitchell) all line up with strong chances of an upset.
All that's need now is good, fair sailing conditions on Sunday.
The Australian 18 Footers League's spectator ferry will follow all the racing action, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2pm.
For those who can't make it onto the water, live streaming is available on 18FootersTV:
Frank Quealey/18 Footers