Simon Nearn's R Marine Pittwater took out today's final race of the Spring Championship series on Sydney Harbour today, but it was the young Rag & Famish team which became the 2018 champion when the team finished just one point ahead of Finport Finance after seven action-packed 3-Buoys races.
Although the race was sailed in a light Easterly breeze, which faded over the latter half of the course, there was no shortage of action and continual lead changes to satisfy the spectators.
Despite trailing in eighth place at the end of the first lap of the course, the R Marine team of Simon Nearn, Cam Gundy and Brandon Buynil revelled in the fading breeze over the final lap of the course and raced away from the fleet to score a 2m27s victory. Appliancesonline.com.au (Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Kurt Fatouris) also finished strongly over the final lap of the course to grab second place, 21s ahead of series champion Rag & Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards, Rory Cox, Jacob Broome). Finport Finance (Marcus Ashley-Jones) came home in fourth place, followed by Winning Group (John Winning Jr) and Noakesailing (Sean Langman).
Rag & Famish Hotel finished the series with an overal total of 31 points, followed by Finport Finance on 32 points, Smeg (Michael Coxon) on 42, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) on 51, Appliancesonline.com.au on 52, and Vintec (Kirk Mitchell) on 53.
Bing Lee (Micah Lane) began the race in great style and clearly led the fleet to the first set of 3-Buoys in Rose Bay.
The 3-Buoys handicapping system took over when Bing Lee had to go to the 'Blue” marker which allowed The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett) and The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Red mark) to begin the spinnaker run ahead of Bing Lee.
While the two leaders opened up a break over the fleet on the run to thw ing mark off Clark Island, the fleet behind them was closely bunched.
The ever-unpredictable Easterly turned the placings on-their-head, so when the fleet finally reached the bottom mark off Kurraba Point it was Sean Langman's Noakesailing which now held a 5s margin over The Oak, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone, Rag & Famish Hotel, Appliancesonline, Bing Lee, Finport Finance, R Marine Pittwater and Winning Group.
With the outcome of the Spring Championship resting on the result of today's race between Rag & Famish Hotel and Finport Finance, the second windward leg back to Rose Bay became a match race the pair as they headed the fleet.
The Rag was strong in the light air getting into Rose Bay and she headed back down the long spinnaker to Kurraba Point with a 40s lead over R Marien Pittwater, Finport, Appliancesonline, Noakesailing and The Kitchen Maker.
The race looked all over as Rag & Famish Hotel sailed brilliantly to increase her lead by a further 1m20s (2mnins in total) over the challengers. Drama struck as The Rag went to round the mark when a 12ft Skiff in another club's race took out The Rag, leaving the stunned crew scrambling to regain their spinnaker and get back up and racing. The incident cost Rag & Famish Hotel 1m15s and the race was on and, all of a sudden, there were four boats with strong winning chances.
It was all down to the final set of 3-Buoys marks, and R Marine Pittwater was the team to benefit most. Nearn and his crew were faultless with the spinnaker set and from that point there was never a doublt as the group completed the course from Rose Bay to Clark Island.
Next Sunday is Race 1 of the NSW Championship. The club's spectator ferry will follow all the racing action, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2pm.
The race begins the local Sydney fleet's campaign to regain the JJ Giltinan Championship from the successful New Zealand team in 2018.
– Frank Quealey, www.18footers.com