Mojo Wines takes 18 Footers win after Christmas break

Following a three-week layoff over Christmas-New Year, the Australian 18 Footers League’s 18ft Skiff fleet returned to Sydney Harbour today to contest Race 1 of the NSW Championship. Conditions were far from perfect for the 15 teams with a variable south wind the order of the day.

Australian 16 Footer champion Lee Knapton won his second consecutive scratch race in the 18s when he teamed with Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey to bring Mojo Wine home just 4s ahead of Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, John Winning Jr.). Third place went to Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor, Charles Dorron), which finished a further 1m9s behind Gotta Love It 7. John Winning’s Yandoo was fourth, followed by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), Pure Blonde (Nick Daly) and Lumix (Jonathan Whitty).

Mojo Wine grabbed the lead at the first windward leg from Gotta Love It 7, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Yandoo. The brand new (Micah Lane, Paul Montague and Tom Anderson), which was having her first start, was in fifth place.

On the long spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay, the Mojo Wine crew sailed faultlessly to increase the lead over Team Seven to 25s. The pair had edged away from the rest of the fleet, with Yandoo in third place 1m behind the leader.

Mojo Wine elected to sail the northern shore on the work back into Rose Bay while Gotta Love It 7 sailed a middle of the harbour course. When the pair met at the mouth of Rose Bay Gotta Love It 7 had recovered brilliantly to cross Mojo. At the Rose Bay mark 7s lead was 35s and the all familiar look of a Gotta Love It 7 victory was on the cards.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel had their own personal ‘fight’ for most of the course as they battled behing the third placed Yandoo.

Gotta Love It 7’s lead got out to as much as 1m 10s at Obelisk Bay on the second lap and there appeared nothing was going to stop a Gotta Love It 7 win. That was until the final spinnaker run when the ‘ímpossible’ happened and 7s spinnaker went overboard off Bradley’s Head. Seizing the opportunity, the Mojo Wine team challenged hard and trailed narrowly as the two teams headed for home.

As the skiffs set for the windward beat back from Athol Bay to the finish line off Clarke Island, Mojo Wine picked up a slight wind shift was enough to see it grab victory only 20 metres from the finish line.

Race 2 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday.  The club’s regular ferry will follow the race, leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.

Video coverage and live stream is on


– Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
Race Yachts
West Systems
Jeanneau JY60
Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
NAV at Home
West Systems