The 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship regatta began on Sydney Harbour today when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted the traditional Invitation Race for all 26 regatta entrants.
Unfortunately for the crews, there was little, or no, wind for the duration of the race and the course had to be shortened to just three legs as the fleet was almost becalmed.
The Asko Appliances team of Marcus Ashley-Jones, Seve Jarvin and Jeronimo Harrison took the honours when they crossed the finish line 4m14s ahead of Smeg (Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey).
USA entry, Harken (Howie Hamlin, Skip McCormack, Dan Phillips) was a further 1m31s back in third place.
New Zealand’s Yamaha (David McDiarmid) finished fourth, ahead of Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and another New Zealand team, Knight Frank (Riley Dean).
The race started in almost no wind and quickly split the fleet when half the fleet picked up whatever breeze there was on the work into Rose Bay.
Asko Appliances held a two boat lengths lead over Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) at the windward mark, followed by Smeg, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Yamaha.
The spinnaker run from Rose Bay to Robertson Point was little better as all teams struggled to find enough wind to push the skiffs through the water.
When conditions hadn’t improved on the windward leg back to Clark Island (off Double Bay) the officials wisely shortened the course and declared Asko Appliances the winner.
Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan Championship will be sailed tomorrow, Saturday, 25 February, at 3pm.
The Australian 18 Footers League Spectator Ferry will leave Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.30pm.
Race 1 Saturday 25 February
Race 2 Sunday 26 February
Race 3 Tuesday 28 February
Race 4 Wednesday 1 March
Race 5 Thursday 2 March
Race 6 Saturday 4 March
Race 7 Sunday 5 March
A spectator ferry will follow each of the seven races in the championship, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf alongside the clubhouse, at 2.30pm on each race day.
All races will be streamed live from the Camera Cat and the drone, a world's first, to enable everyone to follow the entire championship on the computer or other smart device from anywhere in the world. Head to 18 Footers to watch it live.
– Frank Quealey