The tech2 team of Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt and Lewis Brake became the 2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff champion following an impressive all-the-way victory in today's re-sail of Race 2 of the championship on Sydney Harbour.
Going into today's final race of the championship, the scene was set for a great finish as less than one point separated the defending champion Winning Group, skippered by John Winning Jr., and the tech2 team.
With the wind strength hovering around the cut-off point between the bigger #1 rig and the #2 rig, the decision by the teams was critical.
Macartney went for the bigger rig while Winning elected to go with his #2 sails. When the freshening breeze didn't eventuate it played into the tech2 hands and Macartney's team did the rest with a faultless exhibition to lead all the way.
After leading by two minutes at one stage of the race, tech2 finally crossed the finish line with a 1m39s lead over Smeg (Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, Trent Barnabas).
Noakesailing (Sean Langman, Ed Powys, Josh Porebski) finished a further 1m24s back in third place, followed by Winning Group, Yandoo (John Winning), Finport Finance (Rob Greenhalgh) and Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones).
tech2's winning points margin in the championship was just three points from Winning Group, but the closeness of the competition between many of the fleet was highlighted by the scores of the next four teams.
Final points were, tech2 on five points, winning Group on eight, then four teams finished equal on 18 points and had to be separated on count-backs. The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett) finished third, Finport Finance (Keagan York) was fourth, Yandoo, fifth, and Andoo sixth.
From the start it was obvious, and natural, that tech2 and Winning Group were going to stage a match race situation as both teams were alongside each other at the pin end of the start line.
The race to the windward mark in Rose Bay was close before tech2 grabbed a narrow (10s) break over Andoo with Winning Group a further 20s back in third place. Smeg's crew elected to sail to the western side of Shark Island and was in fourth place, ahead of Noakesailing, Finport Finance, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis) and Yandoo
tech2 increased the margin to 20s at the bottom mark at Robertson Point, but now Smeg had moved into second place ahead of Andoo and Noakesailing.
The positions and margin between the two leaders remained constant over the next two legs of the course, but the pair had edged further away from the challengers. Andoo was 45s behind the leaders at Clark Island with Winning Group, suffering from the smaller sails, more than one minute from the lead.
tech2 extended her lead to one minute at the Rose Bay mark and later in the race it was out to two minutes before the team 'cruised' home a comfortable winner.
The performance of Smeg showed that the team will be a strong force in the Australian Championship.
The need to re-sail Race 2 of the NSW Championship, due to the 40-knot winds which battered Sydney Harbour late last year, created a situation which meant that today's race was also Race 1 of the 2020-2021 Australian Championship. It was a double bonus for tech2, which is the defending Australian champion. Races 2 and 3 of the Australian Championship, will be conducted next Sunday (January 24).
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.
Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.