Kiwis take early lead at JJ Giltinan
Published on February 25th, 2017
Sydney, Australia (February 25, 2017) – New Zealand champion Yamaha came from behind to score a brilliant win in Race 1 of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, sponsored by The winning Group, on Sydney Harbour today.
No New Zealand 18ft Skiff team has ever won the coveted title on Sydney Harbour but David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins showed today that they have the ability to become the first.
Yamaha defeated Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) by 1m13s, with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas, Dave O’Connor) just 8s further back in third place.
Defending champion, Smeg (Lee Knapton) finish in fourth place, ahead of another New Zealander, C-Tech (Alex Vallings) and Noakes Youth (Ash Rooklyn).
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took the early lead at the first windward mark off Clark Island but Coopers 62-Rag & Famish showed exceptional downwind speed to grab a narrow lead on the run to Obelisk.
An uncharacteristic capsize by the Thurlow crew allowed Coopers-Rag to open up a clear lead over a group of 8-9 boats as the fleet headed into Rose Bay.
The Rag was one minute ahead of the pack at the Rose Bay mark followed by Yamaha, C-Tech, Thurlow Fisher, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones), Harken (Howie Hamlin, USA), Smeg, Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt) and Yandoo (John Winning).
A change of wind direction prevented the fleet from setting spinnakers on the next leg, which became a two-sail reach back to the bottom mark.
When the breeze lightened on the following work back to the Clark Island mark, Yamaha made her move and was closed in on Coopers 62-Rag & Famish.
The two teams engaged in a gybing match on the second long spinnaker run to Obelisk.
The New Zealanders came out ahead and were never in any real danger of defeat as the fleet completed the final three legs of the course.
Racing throughout the fleet was extremely close and the championship should provide a variety of results.
There are at least four or five real chances to win the title and many other teams with a good chance of a race win.
Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan Championship will be sailed tomorrow, Sunday, 26 February, at 3pm.
Race 1 Saturday February 25
Race 2 Sunday February 26
Race 3 Tuesday February 28
Race 4 Wednesday March 1
Race 5 Thursday March 2
Race 6 Saturday March 4
Race 7 Sunday March 5
All races will be streamed live to enable everyone to follow the entire championship on the computer or other smart device from anywhere in the world.
Background: In the absence of an official world championship, the JJ Giltinan Championship is the highest honor for the 18-foot class. The 2017 edition on February 25 to March brings together on Sydney Harbor 26 elite teams from five nations to vie for the class’s most esteemed trophy.
Source: Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League