Since the young The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone team of Jordan Girdis, Lachlan Doyle and Tom Quigley came together last year, their progress in the highly-competitive Australian 18 Footers League fleet has been spectacular.
The team’s performance in last Sunday’s opening race of the 2019-2020 Season on Sydney Harbour shows that their progression has taken another step forward.
Highlight of their rookie year together was an outstanding third placing, behind two of Australia’s most experienced 18ft Skiff teams, in the 2018-2019 National Championship on Sydney Harbour.
The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone team got off to an impressive start to the new season when it was on the pace from the start in last Sunday’s Race 1 of the Spring Championship. The boys led the fleet around the Easterly course before surrendering the lead to the eventual winner, Noakesailing, at the final windward mark under the 3-buoys handicap system.
Their close second placing will now see The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone become ‘scratch boat’ on Sunday, alongside Winning Group and its champion crew of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton.
As Jordan Girdis said: “We’ve come a long way from the 10-minute boat two seasons ago to lining up on Sunday as the scratch boat.”
“Micah Lane (now skipper of Smeg) took me for my first 18 ride about 15 years ago when I was sailing Manly Juniors. It's great now to compete against Micah and those teams we looked up to as junior sailors”
Jordan credits part of his team’s development to the experience of competing in the European Championship at Lake Garda during the off-season.
“Garda as always was not just a brilliant training regatta, but also some of the best sailing conditions we've ever experienced. Adam Gilson, who filled in for Lachlan Doyle, brought his skiff experience into the team, which really helped our on-the-water close quarter racing as well as switching gears.”
“We've packed on about 15kgs this season, which seems to be helping already.”
“Our team works well both on and off the water and we are privileged to have a long-time sponsor, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone, supporting us and being actively involved with our campaign.”
Steve Quigley, former JJ Giltinan (world) champion and father of bowman Tom Quigley, has been a great mentor to the young team and is looking forward to the new season after watching the performance in last Sunday’s opening race of the season: “It was a great start to the season and hopefully an indication of things to come as the competition gets more serious.”
“I didn't think their boat speed was at the level of say the Winning Group and Noakesailing, who were setting the pace, but they sailed a good tactical race in tricky conditions, and they're showing positive signs of being able to contend at the top level in their second season together. The boat speed thing we can work on and we have 3 new North sails to add in the coming weeks so that will improve.”
The Australian 18 Footers League’s 2019-2020 Season continues Sunday with Race 2 of the Spring Championship.
Spectators can see all the teams in the rigging area, then follow the racing on board the spectator ferry, which leaves Double Bay Wharf, alongside the rigging area, each race day at 2pm. Purchase tickets online at: www.eventbrite.com.au/e/spring-championship-race-1-tickets-69976974013?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
Live streaming is available by going to: www.18footers.com and clicking on the “18 Footers TV” link
Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League