The Asko Appliances crew of James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite and Karl Langford came from a seemingly hopeless position to win an incredible Race 3 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
In a race which saw two leaders capsize while in a race-winning position, Asko Appliances grabbed the lead just 200 metres from the finish line to produce the dramatic 33s victory.
Sean Langman, Ed Powys and Nathan Edwards took the lead, in Noakesailing, with one lap of the North-East course still to sail and looked to have the race won before they capsized at the final wing mark. The Noakesailing team recovered quickly but lost the lead as Asko Appliances powered home on the spinnaker run between Shark Island and the Clark Island finish line off Double Bay.
Smeg (Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey) took an early lead and opened up a break of more than 1m30s at the second windward mark, but the skiff capsized when it hit a wave, and nose dived as the team approached the bottom mark, which left Noakesailing in the lead. Despite losing several minutes in the capsize, the Smeg team recovered brilliantly to finish in third place, just 21s behind Noakesailing.
Asko Appliances trailed Smeg to the wing mark off Shark Island on the first run but lost several minutes when they had serious spinnaker trouble. With the fleet racing at top speed behind her, Asko was forced well back in the fleet for the next lap of the course.
John Winning's Yandoo continued her consistency when she finished fourth today, and holds the overall lead in the championship with a total of five points, just one point ahead of Asko Appliances. Smeg is third on nine points, followed by The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) and Finport Finance (Keagan York) equal on 12, Rag & Famish Hotel (Ben Bradley) 18, and R Marine Pitttwater (Simon Nearn) on 19.
The wind and choppy conditions took a toll on the fleet with many competitors capsizing and four teams forced to retire.
Despite the spectacle of the first two spectacular spinnaker runs from the Beashel Buoy, the final run was exceptional as spectators were unsure of the likely winner until the very end.
Dal Zotto (Jack Sprague) continues to improve each week and the young team showed just how much it has improved with a fifth placing today.
SPECIAL EVENT: Next Friday the Australian 18 Footers League will conduct the inaugural 'Supercup' race, which will feature former class champions. The club will have a spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 4.30pm to follow the racing, which starts at 5pm.
Next Sunday is Race 4 of the NSW Championship. The club's spectator ferry will follow all the racing action, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2pm.
Frank Quealey, www.18footers.com