18ft skiffs: Sponsor’s two-boat challenge

Lazarus Capital Partners entered into its first 18ft Skiff sponsorship last year when the company supported a young team having its first season in the class at the Australian 18 Footers League on Sydney Harbour. 

Poster of 18ft skiff in Lazarus Capital Partners office.
The office entrance to Lazarus Capital Partners backs up the support MD Dale Klynhout and his team have for the 18s partnership. Pic – 18ft skiffs

The company actively encouraged the team with regular attendance on the club’s spectator ferry and was obviously encouraged by the venture, as Lazarus Capital Partners decided to increase the sponsorship potential and now have two skiffs in the 20-boat fleet which carry the ‘Lazarus’ logo. 

While maintaining its support of another young team in last year’s boat, re-named Lazarus Capital Development, the company has also sponsored a brand new skiff, Lazarus Capital Partners, which will be sailed by a top team, led by the experienced Marcus Ashley-Jones. 

The Lazarus crew sitting on their boat at the boat park.
The Lazarus crew prior to taking the skiff out for a sail after the christening. Pic – 18ft skiffs

Ashley-Jones, Jeronimo Harrison and Cam Gundy is one of the top combinations in the fleet and is expected to be competitive in all major 2021-22 championships. 

Ashley-Jones began his career in the 18 Footers in the 2009-2010 season when he skippered Club Marine.  In spectacular fashion, at the 2010 JJ Giltinan world Championship he achieved a rare record when he won Race 1 – the first JJs race he ever sailed. 

The crew carry Lazarus Capital Partners 18 into the water
The crew carry Lazarus Capital Partners 18 into the water immediately after she was christened. Pic – 18ft skiffs

Impressed by his first season performance, club administrators selected him as a replacement skipper for the Asko Appliances team in 2010-2011. 

Ashley-Jones went on to skipper Asko Appliance-sponsored skiffs from 2010-2011 until the end of 2016-2017. 

18ft skiff sailing on a kite reach in very windy conditions.
Marcus Ashley-Jones and Jeronimo Harrison sailing in a northeasterly on Sydney harbour in 2013. Pic – 18ft skiffs

During his seven-year association with Asko Appliances, Ashley-Jones produced his best three JJ Giltinan world Championship performances in 2014 (6th), 2015 (4th) and 2017 (6th).  They were also the only three times that Jeronimo Harrison was part of the crew.

The following two sailing seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) Marcus Ashley-Jones didn’t compete in the 18s. Instead he went on to sailed aboard the 100ft maxi SHK Scallywag in four Sydney to Hobarts, and the Volvo Ocean Race in VO65 SHK Scallywag.  

In 2020 Ashley-Jones skippered the 72-foot URM to rack up his 16th Sydney to Hobart race before he returned to the 18s mid-season.  With Cam Gundy and Lewis Brake, Ashley-Jones finished 9th in the 2020 Giltinan Championship in his URM-sponsored skiff. 

The present Lazarus Capital Partners team came together in 2020-21, in Andoo, and finished a close sixth in a tightly-bunched fleet in the JJs behind the winner, Michael Coxon’s Smeg. 

This will be Harrison’s sixth season sailing with Ashley-Jones, and the two sailing together in the Giltinan Championship have never been placed worse than sixth overall. 

Crew all leaning out on 18 while sailing upwind.
Marcus Ashley-Jones and Jeronimo Harrison sailing in the 2016-2017 season. Pic – 18ft skiffs

It is little wonder the partnership between the two has been so successful when according to Harrison: “Marcus gave me my first crack at the 18s almost 10 years ago, when I was just a young buck coming out of 29ers. I was definitely a bit green that first season but we built an awesome partnership over the next few years. I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me my first shot at the big time.” 

The new skiff had her first big race last Sunday when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted Race 1 of its 2021-2022 Club Championship in a 10 knot, shifting, gusty ENE wind which was far from ideal for the high-speed racers and their crews. 

Team Lazarus and Smeg on a kite reach.
Team Lazarus and Smeg in action last year. Pic – 18ft skiffs

Despite the conditions and a crew change due to injury, Lazarus Capital Partners was in the leading group throughout the race before finishing fifth in the 20-boat fleet.  

The performance indicated that the skiff will be very competitive as the season moves through to the JJ Giltinan world Championship on Sydney Harbour in March 2022. 

Two people christening the new Lazarus Capital Partners skiff.
Christening the new Lazarus Capital Partners skiff. Pic – 18ft skiffs

Mr. Dale Klynhout, Managing Director, says, “Lazarus Capital Partners is excited to re-enter our partnership with the 18 Footers League, giving our community of clients an association with one of Sydney Harbour’s most traditional and exciting sporting championships. 

“Going into the second year of sponsorship in our journey with the 18 Footers, the Lazarus Capital Partners team are excited in the launch of our fantastic and fast looking new skiff which will proudly fly our banner for years to come across Sydney Harbour.

“We also welcome to the Lazarus family our respective crews on both our flagship new skiff, skippered by Marcus Ashely-Jones with Jeronimo Harrison and Cameron Gundy, along with the Lazarus Development team of Hugo Stoner, Hugo Leeming and Alex Watson on last year’s Lazarus skiff.

Lazarus Development team
Lazarus Development team before last Sunday’s race. Pic – 18ft skiffs

“The Lazarus Racing Team is our contribution to a historical and prestigious institution in Australia – an endeavour which we invite our stakeholders to share in our successes and be a part of them.” 

The Australian 18 Footers League is also happy to have a company such as Lazarus Capital Partners, which “offers asset managers across Asia a range of prime brokerage and custodial capabilities extending across equities execution, financing and asset servicing solutions” as part of its sponsor group. 

As club President John Winning said, “It’s great to see such an enthusiastic sponsor coming into our sport who also recognises its history and prestige, and we look forward to a happy and successful association.” 

By Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

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