The 2022-23 Spring 18ft skiff Championship reaches the half-way mark on Sunday (November 6) when the Australian 18 Footers League conducts Race 4 of the seven-race series, for the Eric Bowen Memorial Trophy, on Sydney Harbour.
Racing in the series so far has been close and unpredictable with three different winners coming from the three races to date and Sunday could produce a fourth different winner as a few of the new teams continue to improve.
Jim Colley’s Shaw and Partners Financial Services took out Race 1 then Alex Marinelli’s The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines won Race 2.
Last Sunday’s honours, in Race 3, went to the young Birkenhead Point Marina team of Kirk Mitchell, Andrew Stephenson and Daniel Barnett who sailed a great race to narrowly take the victory, by just 5secs, from the highly experienced Andoo team of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton.
All three of the winning Birkenhead Point Marina team are products of the Cherub class.
Mitchell and Stephenson team together for two seasons in the Cherubs and were successful in taking out the 2013-14 National Championship. Stephenson later won another Nationals with another skipper.
Barnett also sailed with Mitchell in the Cherubs and the pair sailed a number of races together in the 18ft skiff, Vintec, during the 2017-18 season.
For Daniel Barnett, sailing an 18ft skiff should come naturally as he comes from a line of former great 18 footer champions, including his father Phil.
Phil Barnett won the 1991-92 Australian Championship as skipper of Xerox and previously won three JJ Giltinan World Championships as main sheet on Chesty Bond (1987 and 1988) and Prudential (1989).
Phil’s father Don Barnett won the World Championship with Associated Motor Club in 1967 and so the pair become one of only two father as skipper and son as crew combinations to win 18 footer world championships. The other is Trevor and Trent Barnabas.
One of the teams expected to quickly mount a challenge is the Harry Price-led Rag & Famish Hotel team which sailed for the first time last Sunday in the brand new Van Munster-built hull for the long-time sponsor.
The Rag was immediately impressive and came home strongly to finish in third place, 22secs behind Birkenhead Point Marina.
With all races for each team to count in the series, it’s the consistency of Yandoo’s crew of John Winning, Fang Warren and Josh Porebski which has been a big factor in the team opening up a six-point lead over Birkenhead Point Marina in the overall standings.
The 3-buoys handicapping system used in the series, and the penalties after each race for finishing in the first three placings, has played into the hands of the very consistent Yandoo team, which has recorded a third placing and two fourths in the three races, for a total of eleven points.
Birkenhead Point Marina is in second place on 17 points, followed jointly by the other two race winners Shaw and Partners and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines on 18 points.
Ilve (Cam Gundy) is fifth on 21 points, followed by Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) on 22, Smeg (Michael Coxon) 26, Noakes Youth (Tom Cunich) 30, and rounding out the top-10, Noakes Blue (Nathan McNamara) on 33 points.
Spectators 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.
Booking online through the club’s website www.18footers.com is essential.
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
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.
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.