Witt and crew take on 40 knot winds while 18 Footer fleet stays ashore

Winds gusting to 40-knots forced Australian 18 Footers League officials to abandon today’s Chris Webb Memorial Trophy 18ft Skiff race on Sydney Harbour.

Despite the conditions, the Smeg team of David Witt, Tom Clout and Matt Wark decided to show their heavy weather skill and took to the harbour alone.

As a former Round-the-World sailor, Witt is no stranger to what’s required in such testing winds. Later, he said:  “We sailed what would have been the course for the day and didn’t have a swim. We were comfortable.”

For those of us who could remember back to Witt’s very first race as a 17-year-old in 1988 it was no surprise. On that day he took an old skiff in conditions not unlike that of today and finished second, behind Michael Walsh’s Prudential in a race for the club championship.

Next Sunday is Race 3 of the Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship, with the club’s usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.15pm.

– Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

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