18ft Skiff Racing was back on Sydney Harbour today when the Australian 18 Footers League staged the R. Watt Memorial Trophy 3-Buoys race as the opening event of its 2014-2015 Season. A perfect 18-knot North-East sea breeze prevailed, giving competitors some excellent rides and spectators great racing action to watch.
The Thurlow Fisher Lawyers crew of Michael Coxon, Dave O’çonnor and Trent Barnabas were superb to lead for most of the race before finally crossing the finish line 12s ahead of the nearest challenger.
Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Jeronimo Harrison, Gus Williams) were consistently near the head of the fleet throughout the race to come home in a deserved second place. Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage and Clinton Evans (Gotta Love It 7) were a further 54s back in third place. Lumix (Brett Van Munster) finished fourth, ahead of Smeg (David Witt) and Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane).
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was in front from the start and led the fleet to the first set of windward buoys.
De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) took advantage of the 3-buoys system to lead downwind but Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was once again in the lead at the wing mark off Shark Island when De’Longhi capsized. Asko Appliances was in second place at the end of the first lap, but Thurlow’s lead was more than one minute.
Coxon and his team extended the lead to more than 1½ minutes by the end of the second lap but less than ½ minutes covered the next eight teams as they headed off for the final lap.
An untimely capsize off Bradleys Head was costly to the Thurlow Fisher team but they maintained their lead and were never seriously threatened over the concluding stages of the race.
With new teams and several replacement skippers and crews on the opening day, the race produced some great battles throughout with placings changing continuously behind the winner.
Final Placings were:
1 Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, 2 Asko Appliances, 3 Gotta Love It 7, 4 Lumix, 5 Smeg, 6 Appliancesonline, 7 Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, 8 Yandoo, 9 Mojo Wine, 10 Compassmarkets.com, 11 Noakesailing, 12 Fisher & Paykel, 13 Ilve
Retired: De’Longhi, Pure Blonde, The Kitchen Maker
Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League