Black flag troubles

The 18ft Skiff Syd Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy took place in very light winds

Sunday December 16th 2007, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: United Kingdom
De Longhi, skippered by Simon Nearn, won the Syd Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy by just four seconds from Keith Piggin Estate Agents (Peter Morrison), with Simon Nelson’s only one more second back in third place on a day which produced more lows than the high of a great finish on Sydney Harbour today.

For a while spectators were wondering whether we would get a start at all. There were three general recalls when half the fleet seemed incapable of judging their start properly, then a further delay was necessary when the starter had to reset the course to accommodate a change in the direction of the wind.

One more general recall and then the race finally got under way - one hour after the scheduled start time.

More drama was to follow as four of the top competitors ( Fiat, Asko Appliances, Rag & Famish Hotel and Gotta Love It 7) were disqualified for breaching the ‘black flag’ recall rule.

The race finally began in a light breeze with a strong southerly wind predicted for later in the afternoon. Active Air-2UE (Matthew Searle) led to the windward mark with Keith Piggin Estate Agents and Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) close behind

Piggin and Active Air-2UE shared the lead at the bottom mark but Appliancesonline took advantage of the ‘red’ buoy rounding to lead at the second windward mark.

Along with Fisher & Paykel, these skiffs led the procession over the next lap of the course but De Longhi began to make her move on the third beat to windward. Applianceonline’s lead over De Longhi with one lap to sail was just 15 seconds.

At the final windward mark Appliancesonline just led De Longhi but superior spinnaker work by the De Longhi crew grabbed what proved to be a race-winning lead.

Keith Piggin Estate Agents made a final lunge only metres from the finish but Nearn and his team were equal to the task and got home as narrow winners.

Racing will recommence on Sunday 6 January 2008 with race one of the Australian Championship. The committee, officials and staff of the Australian 18 Footers League wish our sponsors and supporters a merry Christmas and happy New Year.


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