Strong wind specialists David Witt, Tom Clout and Matt Wark thrived on the conditions today to bring home their 18ft Skiff, Smeg, winner of the 18ft Skiffs W.C. ‘Trappy’ Duncan Memorial Trophy on Sydney Harbour. The Smeg boys revelled in the 20+ knots north-east wind to lead the fleet from the start and were untroubled to take the victory by a comfortable 1m14s from Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Stuart Wells). Mojo Wine, skippered by Australian 16 Footer champion Lee Knapton, and crewed by Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey, was a further 1m16s back in third place.
The race began dramatically as one of the favoured contenders, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon), was recalled and lost more than one minute as the team returned and restarted.
Smeg was under early pressure from Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) and Mojo Wine but withstood the challenges to lead clearly at the first set of windward buoys.
The skiffs were spectacularly fast down the spinnaker run to Clark Island, after rounding the Shark Island mark, and Smeg held a 30s lead over Appliancesonline as they approached the bottom mark. Smeg’s lead suddenly became more than one minute when Appliancesonline had to re-round the mark and allowed Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel through into second place.
Despite a challenge by Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel over the final lap of the course, when the wind dropped by around 5 knots, the Smeg team was faultless with its crew work and was untroubled to win its first race of the season.
Appliancesonline recovered from her earlier misfortune to finish fourth, ahead of Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York), Yandoo (John Winning) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.
First of the new skiffs Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) made her initial entry into the fleet but was forced out after an early capsize. Two more new skiffs, Appliancesonline.com.au and Noakesailing (Sean Langman), are also due to join the fleet in the coming weeks.
Race 4 of the Club Championship will be sailed next Sunday with the club’s usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.
The Syd. Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy will be sailed on Sunday 14 December. This will be the final race before the Christmas-New Year break. Racing will then resume on 11 January with Race 1 of the NSW Championship..
Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League