Smeg tightens grip on 18ft Skiff title
Published on March 11th, 2021
In the absence of an official world championship, the JJ Giltinan Championship is the highest honor for the 18-foot skiff class. The 2021 edition on March 6-14 brings together 20 teams on Sydney Harbor to make their mark in the 83-year history of the world’s premier 18-Footer championship.
Sydney, Australia (March 11, 2021) – The Smeg team of Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, and Trent Baarnabas scored its third race win of the 2021 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today to virtually wrap up the series with two more races still to be sailed.
Smeg grabbed the lead early and led for most of the entire race before defeating Noakesailing (Sean Langman, Ed Powys, Josh Porebski) by 19s, with Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley, Shaun Conner, Harry Bethwaite) a further 9s back in third place.
The win gives Smeg a net total of 11 points, twelve ahead of second placed Yandoo Winning Group (John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin, Saam Newton). Noakesailing is now third placed on 27 points, closely followed by Shaw and Partners Financial Services on 29, Bird and Bear (James Dorron) on 30, and Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones) on 31.
Another disappointing day for the pre-series favourite tech2 (Jack Macartney) sees the team in seventh place on 36 points.
Needing to defeat Smeg in today’s race to maintain pressure on the overall standings, the Yandoo Winning Group was never able to recover after being in fourth place at the first windward mark behind today’s three placegetters.
The Marcus Ashley-Jones led Andoo team continued a very consistent regatta to finish in fifth place, ahead of tech2, Yandoo (John Winning), Finport Finance (Keagan York), Bird and Bear, and The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aron Everett), which rounded out the top 10 placings.
With a testing 16-20 knot NE wind facing the 20-boat fleet, a special mention must go to the eleventh placed Noakes Blue team, headed by Yvette Heritage, the only female competitor in the championship. Noakes Blue is also placed twelfth overall with some consistently good performances.
Today’s race produced a wonderful first leg from Clark Island to the Beashel Buoy with many skiffs in contention for the lead.
Finally Smeg won the battle and held a 15secs lead over Noakesailing as the fleet headed back downwind to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island and then onto the bottom mark back at Clark Island.
The 18 footer rookie team of Shaw and Partners Financial Services continues to impress against their much more experienced opposition and were in third place ahead of Yandoo Winning Group.
Smeg crew’s experience was obvious on the run into the wing mark and the skiff held a good lead over the fleet which saw many teams struggle in very tricky conditions.
At the end of the first lap, the four previous leaders were able to hold their placings.
Andoo was in fifth place, followed by a group which included Bird and Bear, The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone (Jordan Girdis), Yandoo, and tech2, which had lost time and placings on the run into the Rose Bay wing mark.
Smeg and Noakesailing elected to sail different courses at times on the second beat to the Beashel Buoy. Smeg chose the RHS of the course with Yandoo Winning Group while Noakesailing and Shaw and Partners went to the left side.
This time Noakesailing did the better and led Smeg by 5secs as the two champion teams set their spinnakers for the run down the middle of Sydney Harbour to the bottom mark, again at Clark Island.
Smeg gybed soon after the pair rounded the Beashel Buoy and went to the RHS of the course while the rest of the leading group, Noakesailing, Shaw and Partners, Yandoo Winning Group, Andoo and The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone wen to the left.
Midway down the run, Noakesailing held a narrow lead as the pair crossed, but Smeg was able to come back and regained the lead once again at Clark Island as the fleet set off on the final lap of the long three-lap NE course.
This time, Smeg’s lead was 20secs over Noakesailing, while the Shaw and Partners team was another 35secs back in third place.
Smeg was able to maintain the lead with the same excellent team work the crew have displayed throughout the regatta.
Noakesailing held on to finish in a well-deserved second place, although the ‘rookie’ Shaw and Partners put plenty of pressure on Noakesailing over the final spinnaker run between Shark Island and Clark Island.
Race 8 of the championship will be sailed March 13 on Sydney Harbour .
Background: Defending champions are Honda Marine team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven, and Brad Collins who won their the third consecutive title in 2020.
JJ Giltinan Championship, Race Dates:
March 6, Race 1
March 7, Race 2
March 9, Races 3 and 4
March 10, Races 5 and 6
March 11, Race 7
March 13, Race 8
March 14, Race 9
JJ Giltinan Championship, List of Entries:
• tech2 – Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt, Lewis Brake
• Yandoo Winning Group – John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton
• Smeg – Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, Trent Barnabas
• Finport Finance – Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Phil Marshall
• The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines – Aron Everett, Courtney Mahar, Charlie Gundy
• Andoo Marcus – Ashley-Jones, Cam Gundy, Jeronimo Harrison
• Noakesailing – Sean Langman, Ed Powys, Josh Porebski
• Yandoo – John Winning, Fang Warren, Michael Kennedy
• Shaw and Partners Financial Services – Jim Colley, Shaun Connor, Harry Bethwaite
• The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone – Jordan Girdis, Lachlan Doyle, Tom Quigley
• Bird and Bear – Nick Daly, John Walton, tba
• Appliancesonline.com.au – Simon Nearn, Brandon Buyink, Kurt Fatouros
• Vintec – Tom Cunich, Alex Marinelli, Zac Barnabas
• Queenslander – Dave Hayter, Ben Roxburgh, Elliott Mahar
• Rag & Famish Hotel – Anthony Young, Matt Pearce, Phil Harmer
• Birkenhead Point Marina – Tim Westwood, Alex Chittenden, Felix Daverio
• Noakes Blue Yvette Heritage – Rory Cox, Oliver Scott-Mackie
• Lazarus Capital Partners – Lachlan Steel, Jerome Watts, Matt Doyle
• Ilve Pedro Vozone – Cam Walker, Paddy Bannon
• Lumix – Alex Watson, Laughlin Prentice, Matt Rogers
Source: Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League Ltd.