The defending champion tech2 team of Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt and Lewis Brake produced a last-minute victory in Race 7 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour, to take a narrow lead in the series with just two more races to be sailed.
After each team discards their worst result so far, tech2 has a total of 10 points, just one point ahead of the Smeg.
The two windward-return races on Sydney Harbour today produced a wide variety of results when conditions went from 12-14 knots in the early race (Race 6) to 15-20 knots in the latter one (Race 7).
In Race 6, Smeg was an early leader on the windward leg from Taylor Bay across the harbour into Rose Bay, but The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines team of Aron Everett, Courtney Mahar and Charlie Gundy grabbed a 10s lead from Smeg as the fleet approached the Rose Bay mark.
Once in the lead, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines gave no other team a chance, and despite a late challenge by Noakesailing (Sean Langman, Ed Powys and Josh Porebski) took out the race by 13s.
The early leader Smeg (Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge and Trent Barnabas) also came home strongly to finish in third place, a further 9s behind Noakesailing.
Finport Finance (Keagan York) was fourth, followed by tech2, which recovered from a below par first windward leg, and Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones).
As Race 7 began, the breeze also began to freshen and created a great battle by the four leading teams as they approached the first windward mark.
With less than 10s between the four teams, Andoo led narrowly from Smeg, Shaw and Partners Financial Services and tech2 as the four teams struggled to gain an edge with a quick spinnaker set.
Smeg was looking in good shape before she capsized when the crew were approaching the bottom mark on the first lap of the course. This left tech2 with a narrow lead over Shaw and Partners Financial Services and Andoo as the fleet battled the freshening wind on the work back across the harbour into Rose Bay.
Shaw and Partners was the only top team with the smaller #2 rig on the day, After struggling throughout Race 6, the team was now at their best in the new conditions and opened up a break of 25s over tech2 at the final windward mark when spinnakers were set for the run to the finish.
The larger spinnaker on tech2 enabled the defending champion team to over-power the rookie Shaw and Partners Financial Services team (Jim Colley, Harry Bewhwaite and Shaun Connor) and cross the finish line 17s ahead.
After her earlier capsize when in the lead, Smeg made a wonderful recovery to finish a further 1m1s further back in third place, ahead of Yandoo (John Winning), Birkenhead Point Marina (Tim Westwood), and Noakesailing.
Race 8 of the Australian Championship, will be conducted next Sunday (February 14).
Progress Points, after discard to date:
- tech2 10pts
- Smeg 11pts
- Noakesailing 26pts
- Finport Finance 28pts
- Shaw and Partners Financial Services 31pts
- Winning Group 36pts.
Spectators can follow the racing on board the club's spectator ferry, however due to the COVID-19 policy, numbers are limited. Booking online through the club's website www.18footers.com is essential. https://www.18footers.com.au/18-footers-sailing/spectator-ferry/
For those unable to make it out onto the water, the club's live broadcast team will be on Sydney Harbour to capture all the action. Live streaming is available at www.18footers.com by clicking on the '18 Footers TV' link.
Follow all the club's racing throughout the 2020-2021 Racing Season: www.18footers.com