18ft Skiffs – Winnings 2024 JJ Giltinan Championship

Invitation Race – Friday, 1 March 2024

The 75th regatta for the world’s premier 18 footer championship got underway on Sydney Harbour today when the Australian 18 Footers League hosted the Winnings 2024 JJ Giltinan Championship Invitation Race for the 27 competing teams from five countries and three Australian states.

A light North East breeze, of less than 8 knots, greeted the fleet at the start of today’s race, which provided visiting teams a good hit out before the championship-proper begins on the harbour tomorrow (Saturday, 2 March) in winds predicted to reach more than 20 knots.

As often happens, some teams are prepared to test their boat speed and pull off the course before completing the race and today was no exception when the series favourite, and defending champion, Andoo (John Winning Jr,) returned to shore just prior to completing the first lap while holding a comfortable lead.

When conditions remained light and with the fleet spread out over a distance, the race crew elected to shorten the course at the end of the second lap and the Balmain team of Henry Larkings, Fynn Sprott and Flynn Twomey was awarded the victory.

Next to cross the new finish line was Smeg (Nathan McNamara, Jed Cruikshank, Jack Taylor), 42s behind Balmain, with Yandoo (Micah Lane, Fang Warren, Lewis Brake) a further 24s back in third place.

Queensland’s Big Foot Bags and Covers (Dave Hayter) was fourth, followed by Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Emma Rankin), Vaikobi (Kirk Mitchell),, and 18 Footers Bar and Restaurant (Hugo Stoner).

Germany’s Black Knight (Heinrich Von Bayern) actually crossed the finish line in fourth place , Lazarus (Tom Cunich) fifth and Queensland’s C-Tech (Josh Sloman) eighth, but each of the three teams were declared OCS.

In conditions  that were expected to work against the heavier Andoo crew, the performance of the defending champion was exceptional and must have sent out a huge red alert to every other team in the fleet as Andoo powered ahead of the fleet prior to withdrawing from the race.

With Andoo off the course, a really close race developed between Balmain and Smeg as the pair were separated by only 10s as they worked their way back to the Beashel Buoy on the long windward beat.

Balmain gybed immediately after rounding the Beashel Buoy while Smeg elected not to follow.  Balmain’s move proved to be a winner and resulted in the team’s 42s victory at the end of the spinnaker back to the bottom where the race was subsequently shortened.

Although conditions are expected to be vastly different tomorrow, with southerly winds possibly over 20 knots, it’s hard to see anyone getting the better of Andoo and her high-performance crew after today’s stunning exhibition.

One thing that can be guaranteed, there is always plenty of high-speed, sometimes out-of-control action for followers on the spectator ferry or watching the SailMedia livestream video coverage when we get a 20 knot southerly wind on Sydney Harbour.

List of Entries for the 2024 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship:

Andoo (Aust)   John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton

Finport Finance (Aust)   Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Phil Marshall

Yandoo (Aust)   John Winning, Fang Warren, Lewis Brake

Rag & Famish Hotel (Aust)   Harry Price, Josh McKnight, Finn Rodowicz

Lazarus (Aust)   Tom Cunich, Marc Chapon, Tim Morishima

Balmain (Aust)   Henry Larkings, Fynn Sprott, Flynn Twomey

Black Knight (Germany)   Heinrich Von Bayern, Thomas Martin, Andy Martin

ASCC (NZ)   Eli Liefting, Adam Mustill, Josh Schon

Shaw & Partners Financial Services (Aust)   Emma Rankin, Cam McDonald, Tom Quigley

Vaikobi (Aust)   Kirk Mitchell, Andrew Stephenson, Daniel Barnett

Big Foot Bags and Covers (Aust-Q)   Dave Hayter, Ben Roxburgh, Elliott Mahar

Fisher & Paykel (Aust)   Jordan Girdis, Josh Feldmann, Jacob Broome

The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aust)   Jacob Marks, Alex Marinelli, Matt Doyle

Burrawang-Young Henrys (Aust)     Simon Nearn, Cam Walker, Paddy Bannon

Marine Outlet (Aust)   John Cooley, Cam Gundy, Charlie Gundy

Smeg (Aust)   Nathan McNamara, Jed Cruikshank, Jack Taylor

Sixt (Aust)   Nathan Edwards, Alex Leslie, Locky Pryor

C-tech (Aust-Q)     Josh Sloman, George Morton, Angus Barker

The Kitchen Maker (Aust)   Lachlan Steel, Jerome Watts, Ben Kirkby

Noakes (Aust)   Bec Hancock, Lindsay Stead, Brandon Buyink

18 Footers Bar and Restaurant (Aust)   Hugo Stoner, Hugo Leeming, Hamish Vass

ASCC 2 (NZ)   Craig Keenan, Sam Richardson, Gavin Ninnes

RAYC (NZ)   Jack Frewin, Ollie Gilmour, Luc Gladwell

UK91 (UK)   Luke Goble, Simon Toplak, Max Seydl

Bloody Dane (Denmark)   Jesper Brondum, Tobias Hemdorf, Sebastian Byrsting

Hoefle Haus        (Germany)   Holger Hoefle, Camillo De Naris, Felix Gruse

Team Vic (Aust-Victoria)    Scott Cunningham, Brody Riley, David Cunningham

Race dates for the championship are:

Saturday              March 2, 2024                   Race 1, George Calligeros Trophy

Sunday                 March 3, 2024                   Race 2, Cliff Monkhouse Memorial Trophy

Tuesday               March 5, 2024                   Races 3 & 3, Alan Cole Memorial Trophy

Wednesday         March 6, 2024                   Races 5 & 6, A.J. Reynolds Trophy

Thursday              March 7, 2024                   Race 7, Bill Miller Memorial Trophy

Saturday              March 9, 2024                   Race 8, Big Kite Memorial Trophy

Sunday                 March 10, 2024                 Race 9, Ribbon and J.J. Giltinan Trophy

Racing on each day will start at 2:45

(On multiple race days, the second race will be as soon as practical after the completion of the previous race)

The Australian 18 Footers League’s spectator ferry will follow each day’s racing during the championship, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.15pm, and SailMedia will livestream all the racing.

To view tomorrow’s Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan Championship, go to:

Frank Quealey

Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.

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