Press and Stevenson take out dramatic 12ft Skiff Port Jackson Championship

The Sail Inc crew of Nick Press and Andrew Stevenson have taken out the 12 Foot Skiff Port Jackson Championship for the Graham ‘Curly’ Colless Memorial Trophy under some of the most trying circumstances imaginable on Sydney Harbour yesterday afternoon, ahead of the Australian Championship, to be held at the end of March.

Hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron, it was an horrendous day, as tugs accompanying the tall ship, James Craig for its 150th birthday celebrations on the Harbour, covered the fleet of 12’s with spray from their water jets, while some of the large spectator craft strayed onto the course area.

Then the top mark drifted, so officials were forced to abandon the race halfway through and re-start it. It didn’t stop there either, but Press steered his way to a close win from Brad Phillips/Oscar Wilson (Terms & Conditions, LCSC). Will Beck/Brendan Jenkins (Sydney Sailmakers, LCSC) were third. James Birdsall/James Glassock on Gizmo (LCSC) took the handicap win.

“It wasn’t ideal,” said an understated Press from Lane Cove Sailing Club. “It’s the first time I’ve ever sailed through those water jets! The whole fleet had to go through it, but we at least got a little lift off it. It wasn’t fun at the time, but it was funny afterwards when we talked about it back at the Sydney Flying Squadron,” he said.

Press, a multi 12ft skiff champion, has only recently resumed sailing after breaking his hand, described the race: ‘It was a tight start. Brad Phillips won it, but then it was a race to get onto port in the easterly breeze that was flicking to the north a bit.”

It was a tricky race all-round because of the breeze. A low cloud that sat in one place all day was the probable cause of the shifty wind.

“Brad and Oscar crossed us at the top mark and we went around it simultaneously. We were together most of the race, in fact we could have reached out and touched them, but they got carted below the finish line and had to drop the kite. It made an otherwise difficult day exciting,” Press recounted.

Sail Inc and Terms & Conditions had cleared out from the rest of the fleet, enjoying a two-boat tussle around the course. Behind, the rest were in in their own battle to the finish. 

Thanks go to the Sydney Flying Squadron and their volunteers for running the event. The Club will also host the upcoming 12 Foot Skiff Sprint Series on 17 March.

The Sprint Series is not to be missed! Pete’s Home Loans and Your Move Conveyancing are proud to sponsor a spectator ferry for the day, allowing viewers to be up close to the action for six short and sharp races. It is also an ideal opportunity for crews to hone their start skills and fast manoeuvres on short courses ahead of the Australian Championship.

Following the Sprint Series, Lane Cove Sailing Club will host the Australian Championship, also sponsored by Your Move Conveyancing, to be held from Friday 29 March to Sunday 31 March.

Di Pearson/12ft Skiff media

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