Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas have immediately set the standard for the 2009-2010 championship season when they produced an outstanding display in very difficult conditions to take out Race 1 of the NSW Championship today.
The champion trio, who have collectively won nine Giltinan championships, showed why they have been so successful as they led from start to finish to score a narrow win in their unsponsored skiff, naturally called Sponsor Wanted.
They had to withstand a fast finishing burst from the Australian champion team of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Tom Clout in Gotta Love It 7 but their win was never really in doubt as they covered every move of the ‘7' team on the run to the finishing line.
The final margin of 18s represented only 20 metres as the pair gybed to cross the line.
Asko Appliances, Archie Massey, Dan Wilsdon and Cameron Mc Donald, were just another 17s further back in third place.
Defending champions John Harris, Scott Babbage and Peter Harris were next in Rag & Famish Hotel, followed by Smeg (Nick Press, Daniel Phillips, Jim Beck) and De'Longhi (Euan Mc Nicol, Chris Cleary, Geoff Bauchop).
A light East-North-East breeze with heavy overcast skies greeted the fleet at the start.
Sponsor Wanted was immediately in the lead with Asko Appliances and Rag & Famish Hotel in close pursuit.
At the windward mark, Sponsor Wanted held a 10s lead over Asko Appliances, De'Longhi, Rag & Famish Hotel, Gotta Love It 7 and Smeg.
This group opened up a break on the rest of the fleet on the downwind legs to the bottom mark where Sponsor Wanted's lead had stretched out to 25s.
The breeze was even lighter on the slow work back to the Beashel Buoy windward mark but there was little change to the placings and margins.
Sponsor Wanted still led Asko by 20s but a slow spinnaker set allowed Gotta Love It 7 to challenge Asko immediately.
Rag & Famish was still fourth, ahead of De'Longhi and Smeg, which had to complete a 360-degree turn for a racing infringement.
The downwind battle between Asko and ‘7' allowed Sponsor Wanted to go open up a 1min lead at the bottom mark the second time but the race was far from over.
Gotta Love It 7 had more boatspeed on the final windward leg and reduced Sponsor Wanted's lead back to just 15s as spinnakers were set for the run home.
When the breeze shifted a little to the ESE, Coxon and his team were at their best on the leg to the wing mark when the breeze forced all crews to drop their spinnakers along Shark Island.
The two leaders had the crowd cheering as Gotta Love It 7 made a final charge at Sponsor Wanted and things began to look a little ‘uncertain' but Sponsor Wanted's team answered the challenge.