Yandoo & The Rag set to battle it out
Sunday’s final two races of the 2023-24 NSW 18ft skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour promise to be a head-to-head battle between Yandoo and Rag & Famish Hotel as the pair strive to strike the first blow in the build up through the championship season to the Giltinan World Championship on the same course next March.
With three wins, a second placing and two thirds from the six races sailed so far, Yandoo presently leads the series with a net total of eight points, four ahead of Rag & Famish Hotel.
Although difficult to predict, with two races remaining and a final discard to be determined after the eight races have been completed, Yandoo can wrap up the championship with a win in one of Sunday’s races.
Yandoo now has a ‘complete’ total of 11 points and one win on Sunday would give the Yandoo team a final total of 12 points from the seven races to count. ‘The Rag’ already has a score of net twelve points and even two wins on Sunday would put her out of possible championship victory.
The consistency of Yandoo’s team (John ‘Woody’ Winning, Fang Warren and Lewis Brake) has been exceptional and a critical difference between it and the Rag & Famish Hotel team which has suffered from the injury problem of her skipper, Harry Price, who is still recovering from a bulging disc.
Last Sunday, despite the injury, Price was forced to skipper Rag & Famish Hotel for the first time this season when a late replacement was unavailable, and the talented skipper piloted The Rag home for two outstanding wins.
While most of the action will centre on the battle between Yandoo and The Rag, the young unsponsored ‘Put Your Name Here’ team, led by Kirk Mitchell, continued its consistently good form to retain third place in the championship ahead of John Winning Jr’s 2023 Giltinan World champion Andoo team.
Unfortunately, both teams would need the two leaders to fail badly in both races on Sunday to have any chance of taking the title.
Neither Yandoo nor Rag & Famish Hotel will be able to relax, however, as the challengers will be applying plenty of pressure to show their real form if their teams are at full strength. Both Andoo and Australian champion Finport Finance (Keagan York) have been below full strength at times throughout the series and a full guide to future championship racing during the rest of the season is still uncertain.
A number of young, and rookie teams have benefitted from consistency in the variety of conditions during the series to feature strongly on the leaderboard. Marine Outlet (John Cooley), Smeg (Nathan McNamara), Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis) and Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Emma Rankin) have all shown that they will be competitive during the 2024 nationals and Giltinan titles.
Two teams further down the list than expected are Balmain (Henry Larkings) and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Jacob Marks). Both were expected to be better placed but a couple of unfortunate incidents have affected each team’s chances, although both have shown there is plenty of quality to work with as they progress through the 2024 championships.
While the League’s fleet goes from strength to strength, it was great news to see that the New Zealand fleet was recovering, after the problems associated with Covid, and that the young ASCC team, led by Eli Liefting, recently won the Auckland Championship.
ASCC will now lead a three-boat Kiwi team, the first since Covid hit in the middle of the 2020 regatta, to the 2024 Giltinan World Championship in March.
The Leaderboard in the NSW Championship, after each team discards its worst performance to date, is:
12 Rag & Famish Hotel
16 Put Your Name Here
33 Marine Outlet
38 Finport Finance
40 Fisher & Paykel
40 Shaw and Partners Financial Services
45 Burrawang-Young Henrys
46 The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines
51 The Kitchen Maker
77 Noakes Red
86 18 Footers Bar & Restaurant
SailMedia images from the earlier races in the NSW Championship and the New Zealand image of ASCC (Suellen Hurling, Live Sail Die) are shown here.
Don’t forget, the regular spectator ferry is back in action as it has been for the past 88 years, and will leave Rose Bay Public Wharf (old wharf) next Sunday at 2pm.
For those unable to get the spectator ferry, you can still join the Australian 18 Footers League’s ‘Alternative Ferry’ in the League’s clubhouse and enjoy all the racing action LIVE on the massive screen broadcasting the SailMedia Livestream camera cat coverage of the racing, and there will be special drinks and food offers for those attending who wish to support their favourite team.
It’s a really unique way to celebrate the great racing we have seen at the start of the 2023-24 season.
If you can’t get out onto Sydney Harbour to see the action-packed racing, or come to the club’s ‘Alternative’ Ferry’, you can catch it LIVE by going to
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.