All to play for

Four boats in contention for Nationals after latest round of the Winning Appliances Australian 18ft Skiff Championship

Sunday January 28th 2007, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australasia
Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Nathan Ellis recorded their second win of the series in Fiat to take a share of the lead with Seve Jarvin’s Gotta Love It 7 in the Winning Appliances Australian 18ft Skiff Championship currently being staged on Sydney Harbour.

In today’s fifth race of the championship, Fiat had to come from behind at the halfway mark to defeat (John Winning Jr.) by 1min 45secs with Gotta Love It 7 a further 1min 14secs back in third place.

After discarding their worst placings to date, Fiat and Gotta Love It 7 share the lead on 10 points, followed by Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane) on 11 and Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) on 12. Rounding out the top six are Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) on 22 and defending champion Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) on 23.

Minor placings in today’s race went to Macquarie Real Estate in fourth place, Rag & Famish fifth and Asko Appliances sixth.

Going into today’s fifth race, Ssangyong Yandoo led the points table but a disappointing 18th has forced the team to ‘carry’ their previous worst performance of seventh in race 3. Once again, a good big sail nor-easter prevailed for the fleet and provided the spectator fleet with good sailing and plenty of action. took an early lead over Omega Smeg (Daniel Phillips) at the windward mark then streaked away downwind to head the fleet by 1min at the leeward mark. Fiat came through into second place at that point closely followed by Omega Smeg, Pure Blonde (Nick Press) and Rag & Famish. maintained her lead by sailing leg-for-leg with Fiat on the second windward beat as the pair edged away from a large bunch of skiffs battling for third place. This group included Rag & Famish, Pure Blonde, Fisher & Paykel, Gotta Love It 7, Omega Smeg, Maytag, Southern Cross Constructions, Active Air-2UE and Macquarie Real Estate.

Fiat grabbed the lead midway down the spinnaker leg and from that point was never really in danger of defeat as the talented crew handled the freshening breeze to perfection. was similarly untroubled to finish second while the battle for third held most interest as Gotta Love It 7 held on to beat a fast finishing Macquarie Real Estate.

The stage is now set for a gripping finish to the nationals with any one of the four leading skiffs capable of taking victory in next Sunday’s final race.

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