Second in a row for Gotta Love it 7
Seve Jarvin and his Gotta Love It 7 crew of Sam Newton and Rob Bell took out their second consecutive heat of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship after a thrilling race on Sydney Harbour today.
Gotta Love It 7 scored by just 3 seconds from Hugh Stodart and his Asko Appliances team after one of the most exciting championship races seen on the harbour in a long time.
Third place went to the current Giltinan champion Michael Coxon and his Fiat team, which finished a further 27 seconds behind Asko.
Gotta Love It 7 heads the pointscore on two points, followed by Club Marine (Adam Beashel) and Asko Appliances on six points, Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) ten, Fiat 13 and Kinder Caring Home Nursing on 15 points.
Today’s race was sailed in a light to moderate north east wind with all skiffs electing to use their big number one rigs.
After a general recall, Gotta Love It 7 appeared to win the start but it was soon evident that Asko had the superior boat speed as the fleet approached Bradleys Head.
Asko held her lead for most of the windward leg but was constantly under pressure from Club Marine.
At the Beashel Buoy (windward mark – named after Alf Beashel), Adam Beashel (his grandson) held a 12 second lead in Club Marine, followed by Asko, Gotta Love It 7, Fiat, Pure Blonde (James Francis) and Kinder Caring Home Nursing (Brett Van Munster).
Downwind produced a good duel between the two leaders but Club Marine was able to retain her lead from Asko at the wing mark. The pair had moved away from Gotta Love It 7, which was now a clear third.
There was a further gap back to Fiat and Pure Blonde together, with another gap to a group which included Omega Smeg (Daniel Phillips), Kinder Caring, Rag & Famish Hotel, Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane) and Maytag (Nick Press).
Club Marine extended her lead to 30 seconds over Asko after the run back to complete the first of three laps of the course while Gotta Love It 7 was another 30 seconds back in third place.
On the second beat to windward, Club Marine extended her lead to 35 seconds but it was Gotta Love It 7 which had moved into second place ahead of Asko – now 50 seconds from the lead.
The spectator fleet was set for a nail biting finish as the three leaders went around the leeward mark to end the second lap with only 15 seconds separating.
The breeze freshened a little on the final windward stretch and produced an exciting battle with the lead changing several times.
Gotta Love It 7 turned for the run home with a 12 second lead from Asko with Club Marine now back in third place and Fiat finishing strongly in fourth place.
Asko and Gotta Love It 7 went around the wing mark almost together then raced between the islands with just a few seconds separating them as the crowd on the official spectator ferry roared their encouragement to the two skiffs.
Gotta Love It 7 just prevailed, by less than two boat lengths, which was a fitting climax to such a great race.
The race was also the third in the selection series to determine the Australian team for the 2008 Giltinan Championship.
Gotta Love It 7 also heads this point score with six points, followed by Asko on seven and Rag & Famish on 12 points.