The recently crowned Australian champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers continued the excellent form the team have shown recently with an outstanding victory in today’s Race 4 of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour. Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas produced a faultless exhibition in the light East to ESE wind to bring Thurlow Fisher Lawyers home a 2m2s winner.
Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Angus Williams) finished strongly to take second place, 23s ahead of defending champion, Smeg (Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey, Ricky Bridge). Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) finished fourth, ahead of Yamaha (David McDiarmid, NZ) and Line 7 (Jonathan Whitty).
With a protest on today’s race and two possible appeals pending, the provisional series leader is Yamaha on 9.33 points (average points involved). Today’s winner, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers is on 10, Smeg 19, appliancesonline 22, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) 24 and Asko Appliances on 26.
From the start, Thurlow Fisher was in or near the lead on the long windward leg to Rose Bay, where she held a 5s lead from Asko Appliances and Line 7 as spinnakers were set for the run to the wing mark off Clark Island. Smeg was fourth in Rose Bay, followed by Yamaha, appliancesonline and Mojo Wine (Jack Sprague).
With the wind direction shifting more to the SE as the fleet raced to Clark Island, there were a few ‘moments’ for the crews but the Thurlow team powered ahead and opened up a bigger break over the challengers.
Positions at the head of the closely bunched fleet remained relatively unchanged as the skiffs raced down to the bottom mark. Once again, the Thurlow Fisher crew were faultless as they raced to a 1min lead over Asko Appliances when the fleet returned to the Rose Bay windward mark on the second lap and from that point the winner was never in doubt.
Much interest centred on the battle for second place with Asko Appliances, Smeg, Yamaha, appliancesonline, Line 7 and Compassmarkets all in contention. Asko gained the upper hand at the bottom mark off Kurraba Point, ahead of Compassmarkets, Yamaha, Smeg, Line 7 and appliancesonline.com.au.
In the very light winds on the final windward leg, Smeg manager to head for home in second place, 25s ahead of Asko Appliances, Compassmarkets and Yamaha.
The short run to the finish off Clark Island wasn’t expected to provide many changes but the racing was so close the Compassmarkets team managed to gain the upper hand on Smeg in a nail biting finish.
More light wind is expected for tomorrow’s Race 5 on Thursday, 2 March, at 3pm. The Australian 18 Footers League Spectator Ferry will leave Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.30pm.
Race 5 Thursday 2 March
Race 6 Saturday 4 March
Race 7 Sunday 5 March
A spectator ferry will follow each of the races in the championship, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf alongside the clubhouse, at 2.30pm on each race day. All races will be live streamed from the Camera Cat and the drone, a world's first. Head to 18footers.com to watch the race live or catch up later.
– Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League