18ft Skiffs: It’s time to make history

Published on March 10th, 2020

In the absence of a world title for the 18ft Skiff Class, the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship is it, held annually in Sydney, Australia. For a region that likes to go fast, and a legion of legends with names on the trophy, it’s time again to make history.

When the 24 boats line up March 14-22 for the 2020 JJ Giltinan on Sydney Harbour, defending champion David McDiarmid could become the first New Zealand skipper to win three titles in the 82-year history of the world’s premier 18-Footer championship.

McDiarmid, Brad Collins, and Matt Steven will head a three-boat team from New Zealand in their Honda Marine-sponsored skiff. They are joined by the experienced C-Tech team of Alex Vallings, Sam Trethewey, and Matt Coutts, and the very much improved young Maersk Line team of Peron Pearse, Eli Liefting, and Harry Clark.

McDiarmid is quick to point out that the Honda Marine campaign is very much a team effort. “It’s definitely not all about me. We are a three-man team and everyone is critical to our success. When we all teamed together, we joked about our goal of being able to win three JJs, and now we have that opportunity.

“It wouldn’t be possible without the support we have received from a large group of people over the last seven JJs. With a lot of hard work, we have improved year on year to first catch up to the Sydney fleet in 2016, then passing them in 2018. Our goal this year is to take the trophy back to New Zealand.

“The highlight of our 18-foot campaign so far was holding all four major international trophies at the same time. As well as the JJ title, we won the Mark Foy in Fiji, the European Championship in Lake Garda, and ANZAC in Auckland.

“A lack of support for a variety of international regattas from the Sydney fleet over recent years has resulted in a disappointing decline of these international events. As usual, we will be bringing a big, loud New Zealand support team.”

The Honda Marine team after winning the 2019 JJ Giltinan Championship.

Determined to regain the supremacy they held for many seasons, the local 18-Footer teams will be going all out to win back the coveted trophy and spoil the Honda Marine team’s hope of a third consecutive title.

A group of five teams are presently leading the Australian challenge.

Recently crowned Australian champion Tech2 is a strong team which has been improving each week since the new boat had her first race in early December. The recent addition of four-time JJ Giltinan champion bowman Trent Barnabas could give her skipper, Jack Macartney, his first JJ Giltinan title.

Other top teams include NSW champion Winning Group, which has a multi Giltinan championship-winning crew, and the 2018-2019 Australian champion James Dorron in Shaw & Partners Financial Services.

Finport Finance and Smeg have won individual championship races during the current season but just need to be more consistent over the whole regatta to make an even stronger challenge.

Details: https://www.18footers.com.au/18-footers-sailing/about-jj-giltinan/

Race dates are:
March 14 Race 1
March 15 Race 2
March 17 Races 3 & 4
March 18 Races 5 & 6
March 19 Race 7
March 21 Race 8
March 22 Race 9

Entries for 2020 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship:
Honda Marine: David McDiarmid, Matt Steven, Brad Collins
Winning Group: John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton
Finport Finance: Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Angus Williams
Shaw & Partners Financial Services: James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite, Tim Westwood
Smeg: Micah Lane, Ricky Bridge, Peter Harris
C-Tech: Alex Vallings, Sam Trethewey, Matt Coutts
Tech2: Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt, Trent Barnabas
Appliancesonline.com.au: Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Kurt Fatouris
The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines: Aron Everett, Courtney Mahar, Charlie Gundy
Noakesailing: Sean Langman, Ed Powys, Nathan Edwards
The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone: Jordan Girdis, Lachlan Doyle, Tom Quigley
Yandoo: John Winning, Mike Kennedy, Jasper Warren
Vintec: Kirk Mitchell, Pete Nicholson, Matt Wark
Maersk Line: Peron Pearse, Eli Liefting, Harry Clark
Rag & Famish Hotel: Bryce Edwards, Jacob Broom, Rory Cox
Birkenhead Point Marina: Tom Anderson, Elliot Scali, Tom Arkens
URM: Marcus Ashley-Jones, Cam Gundy, Lewis Brake
Ilve: Pedro Vozone, Matt Doyle, Jerome Watts
Queenslander: David Hayter, Nathaniel Dutton, Elliot Mahar
Dal Zotto: Jack Sprague, Josh Feldmann, Marc Chapon
Noakes Blue: Yvette Heritage, Rory Hunter, Oliver Scott-Mackie
Bird & Bear: Tom Clout, Cameron McDonald, John Walton
Lumix: Alex Watson, Cooper Richmond, Ben Roxburgh
QMC: Matt Rogers, Darren Rogers, Steve Wilson

Source: Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.

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