18ft Skiffs – JJ Giltinan Championship – Race 8

Race 8 – Race partner:  Smeg – Big Kite Memorial Trophy

Saturday, 9 March 2024 – Sydney Harbour

A brilliant victory by the Rag & Famish Hotel 18ft skiff team in Race 8 of the Winnings 2024 JJ Giltinan Championship on Sydney Harbour today has set up a fantastic final race tomorrow to what has been one of the best 18 footer regattas seen on the harbour for many years.

With the coveted JJ Giltinan World 18 Footer Trophy up for grabs to the winner,  Yandoo goes into the finale with a two points lead over Rag & Famish Hotel, while third-placed defending champion Andoo, a further five points back in third place, is unable to win the title again in 2024.

Toady’s win by The Rag’s team of Harry Price, Josh McKnight and Finn Rodowicz brought comments such as “demolished the fleet” and “what a performance” from experienced race commentators and even those comments barely indicate the domination of the team as it powered away to a 3m29s win.

The ever-improving Lazarus team of Tom Cunich, Marc Chapon and Tim Morishima, after being recalled for being over the line at the start, overcame a great battle with the New Zealand ASCC (Eli Liefting, Adam Mustill and Josh Schion) to take second place just 39s ahead of the kiwis.

Series leader Yandoo (Micah Lane) came home in fourth place ahead of Finport Finance (Keagan York), Vaikobi (Kirk Mitchell), Germany’s Black Knight (Heinrich Von Bayern), Big Foot Bags and Covers (Fave Hayter), Balmain (Henry Larkings), and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Jacob Marks).

Yandoo has a net score of 13 points and, with a worst place fourth in the regatta, can finish no worse than with a total of 17 points.  Rag & Famish Hotel has a score of 15 points but can’t afford to include her worst score of seventh place in Race 6 yet still win the title.

The Rag must finish no worse than second in tomorrow’s race to have any chance  

Both teams have also won three races during the regatta, should The Rag finish second tomorrow, and Yandoo third, both teams would also have two second places, and both could have the same number of third placings. 

This could potentially end up a tied series.

Third placed overall is Andoo (John Winning Jr) with a total of 20 points, followed by Finport Finance on 37, ASCC on 47, Black Knight 47, Lazarus 48, Big Foot Bags and Covers 51, Balmain 57, Marine Outlet (John Cooley) 61, Vaikobi 64 and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines 67.

Today’s race was sailed in a light North-East (8-12kt) breeze with all leading contenders, except Andoo, carrying their big #1 rig.

Racing up the long windward leg to the Beashel Buoy was close with Lazarus, ASCC, Finport Finance, Bloody Dane (Jesper Brondum) and Rag & Famish Hotel all in the leading group.

Lazarus held a 6s lead over ASCC with The Rag just a few seconds further back, followed by Finport Finance, Andoo and Yandoo, which was about 30s from the leader.

The rest of the fleet was headed by Valkobi, followed by Balmain, Black Knight, The Oak, Big Foot, Team Vic (Scott Cunningham), Marine Outlet and Bloody Dane.

Rag & Famish Hotel has always been fast downwind and today she was exceptional as she quickly grabbed the lead on the run to the wing mark off Shark Island and left the fleet in her wake.

At the wing mark oshe had already raced to a 30s break over Lazarus and ASCC.  On the following spinnaker run between Shark and Clark islands the margin had blown out to 1m20s over Lazarus, ASCC and Yandoo, which was now more than two minutes from the lead.

On the second beat back to Beashel Buoy Rag & Famish Hotel was in a race of her own as she had extended the lead to a massive 2m30s over Lazarus and ASCC.  Vaikobi had worked her way into fourth place ahead of Finport and Yandoo, which was now almost four minutes from the lead.

While The Rag had the race at her mercy over the final lap of the course, the contest for the rest of the podium positions was brilliant as Lazarus and ASCC raced alongside each other, exchanging positions as they approached the Beashel Buoy.

ASCC narrowly won the battle to the Beashel Buoy but Lazarus fought back into second place on the spinnaker run to the wing mark off Shark Island and  edged further ahead of ASCC to the finish.

The Australian 18 Footers League also conducts a ‘handicap’ section in conjunction with the championship and the battle for the lead in that pointscare is as close as the battle in the major title.

Lazarus leads the point score with a total of 33 points, followed by ASCC on 35, Rag & Famish Hotel on 37, Big Foot Bags and Covers 46, Marine Outlet 49 and Sixt (Nathan Edwards) on 54.

Tomorrow’s Race 9 is the final race of the Winnings 2024 JJ Giltinan Championship.  Racing starts at 2:45pm.  The Australian 18 Footers League’s spectator ferry will follow the race, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.15pm, and SailMedia will livestream all the action.

To view Sunday’s Race 9 of the Winnings 2024 JJ Giltinan Championship, go to:

http://youtube.com/video/1YmzOCebTd4/livestreaming

Frank Quealey

Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.

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