The champion Gotta Love It 7 crew of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage again showed the class which has seen the team sweep all before them in recent seasons of 18ft Skiff Racing on Sydney Harbour when they won Race 2 of the Australian 18 Footer League’s Club Championship today.
Team Seven took the lead on the third leg of the South course and from that point were never headed before taking the victory by 48s from the early leader Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris). After a long battle with Coopers-Rag, Smeg (David Witt, Tom Clout, Matt Wark) finished a further 19s back in third place.
There was little between the pair as they approached the finishing line before Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel took the honours when Smeg had to do a penalty turn for a port and starboard breach.
Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) finished fourth, followed by Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon).
The 12-15-knot South wind produced a great race with several spectacular runs and close, competitive racing throughout the fleet.
Coopers-Rag won the start at the pin end of the line and held a 10s lead over Mojo Wine (Brett Van Munster) at the first windward mark. Unfortunately for the Mojo Wine team the starter had declared the skiff was OCS at the start and so was disqualified when the crew didn’t return for a re-start.
With Mojo Wine out, De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) was second behind The Rag, followed by ‘7’ which had quickly recovered from a moderate start, then Appliancesonline and Smeg.
The spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay produced spectacular action as the fleet raced past the spectator craft along the course. Coopers 62-Rag & Famish still held a 20s margin over the rest of the fleet, but Gotta Love It 7 was now the main challenger to The Rag. The Rag took a windward course on the next leg back into Rose Bay while ‘7’ and Smeg went more to the RHS of the course.
Although Mojo Wine was officially out of the race the team continued to sail the course and led narrowly from Gotta Love It 7 at the mark.
The Rag and Smeg took entirely different courses with the two skiffs sailing different sides of Shark Island.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers wasn’t showing her usual boat speed but the teamwork saw the skiff back up into fourth place, just ahead of Appliancesonline, Yandoo (John Winning), Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Compassmarkets.
Smeg was showing good speed upwind and got back into second place at Clarke Island but the superior downwind speed of Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel saw these placings reversed on the next run to Obelisk. Leading point scores in the series so far are: Gotta Love It 7 (2 points), Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (4), Smeg (6), Compassmarkets.com (10) and Yandoo (14). Defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Asko Appliances are tied on 15 points.
Next Sunday is a 3-Buoys race for the Chris Webb Memorial Trophy with the club’s usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.
Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League