Asko takes race one

The Australian 18ft Skiff Club Championship is underway in Sydney

Sunday October 28th 2007, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: United Kingdom
Hugh Stodart, Niall Kinch and Paul Schulz again showed their light wind skills when they steered Asko Appliances home an easy winner in race one of the Australian 18 Footers League’s Club Championship on Sydney Harbour today, Sunday.

The talented trio took their victory by 1 minute 15 seconds from John Harris’ Rag & Famish Hotel in the tricky light north-easterly breeze, with early leader Omega Smeg (Daniel Phillips) a further 20 seconds back in third place.

Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) finished a close fourth, followed by Fiat (Michael Coxon) with Australian champion Micah Lane’s Macquarie Real Estate in sixth place.

The young Pure Blonde crew, skippered by James Francis, won the start with a port tack at the buoy end of the line but midway up the first beat it was Fiat which showed the way from Pure Blonde and Asko.

Fiat was a clear leader over Asko on the left hand side of the course while Omega Smeg led a small group on the right.

A change came over the race on the final section of the leg where Asko took a five second lead from Fiat at the windward mark.

Omega Smeg was a further ten seconds back in third place ahead of Gotta Love It 7, Ssangyong Yandoo, Macquarie Real Estate and Southern Cross Constructions, which was one minute from the lead.

Daniel Phillips made a great tactical move when he elected to gybe Omega Smeg immediately after rounding the mark.

The manouvre was a winner as it put Smeg into a ten seconds lead at the wing mark at Rose Bay (Shark Island).

Smeg increased her lead over Asko to 18 seconds at the leeward mark while Gotta Love It 7 had moved into third place – 35 seconds from the leader.

Fiat was back in fourth spot, followed by Yandoo, Macquarie, Rag & Famish (after a slow start), Pure Blonde, Kinder Caring Home Nursing and Southern Cross.

The red mainsail of Smeg led the pack back to the Beashel Buoy windward mark where her lead was now 20 seconds over Asko.

These two leaders had edged ahead of the next group and staged a great battle down the long spinnaker run back to the leeward mark off Clark Island.

Asko took the line down the northern shore while Smeg went to the middle.

When the pair met near Taylor Bay, Smeg held a narrow lead but the greater boat speed of Asko won out as she took a 15 second lead as they turned for the final lap of the course.

Asko revelled in the conditions over the final windward leg and headed for home with a race winning lead.

The battle was now on for the minor placings between Rag & Famish Hotel, Omega Smeg and Gotta Love It 7, which held the spectators’ interest right to the finish line.

The next race in the 13-race selection series to determine the Australian team for the Giltinan Championship will be sailed on Sunday 11 November.



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