Slight shuffle at JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship

Published on February 19th, 2015

Sydney, Australia (February 19, 2015) – Thurlow Fisher Lawyers broke the previous Gotta Love It 7 domination to win Race 5 of the 2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

Sailing a four lap windward-return course, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) won the start at the pin end of the line and sailed brilliantly in the light ENE breeze to lead the bunched fleet behind her by 50s.

The lead got out to 2m10s at the halfway mark before a freshening breeze over the final lap of the course saw the margin reduced to 52s at the finish.

Defending champion Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Scott Babbage) crossed in second place, 1m20s ahead of the third placed USA skiff Harken (Howie Hamlin, Dan Phillips, Skip McCormack), and will retain the title if the team can finish in the first eleven placings in either of the weekend’s races

With two races still to be sailed, the current points table after each team discards their worst performance to date, is:

Gotta Love It 7 on four points, Mojo Wine (Lee Knapton) 17, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers 18, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 23, Harken 24 and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) 30.

After a series of #2 sail NE races, today saw all teams go with their big rigs.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers held a big lead at the bottom mark the first time and things could have been disasterous when sheet hand Dave O’Connor went overboard as the skiff rounded the buoy.

Apart from this one incident, the Thurlow team were immaculate and were never in any serious doubt of victory.

For the previously unbeaten Gotta Love It 7 team it was a race they would prefer to forget.

They couldn’t match the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team’s boat speed up the first windward leg and were buried deep in the pack on the first spinnaker run.

Trailing in eighth place at the bottom mark the first time, Team Seven were still more than 2m behind the leader after two laps.

As the breeze freshened, naturally the time margin decreased and Gotta Love It 7 got back to 52s behind the winner but Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was just too good on the day.

Report by Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

Event websiteResultsCrew listVideos

Photos by Christophe Favreau.

Event Schedule
Friday, February 13, 2015 – Invitation Race
Saturday, February 14, 2015 – Race 1
Sunday, February 15, 2015 – Race 2
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 – Race 3
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 – Race 4
Thursday, February 19, 2015 – Race 5
Saturday, February 21, 2015 – Race 6
Sunday, February 22, 2015 – Race 7

JJ Giltinan Championship – Race 5 Bill Miller Memorial Trophy

Click here for event brochure.

Background: The 2015 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on February 13-22 is the 76th anniversary of the world’s greatest 18 Footer event which began on Sydney Harbour in 1938. Notable designers such as Ben Lexcen, Bruce Farr, Iain Murray and Julian Bethwaite have all been successful as winners, with Murray leading the charge claiming six consecutive wins from 1977-1982. In 2014, skipper Seve Jarvin equaled Murray by claiming his 6th title, leading the Gotta Love It 7 team with Sam Newton and Scott Babbage. Murray is now the Gotta Love It 7 team manager.

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