Surprise win for Rollerson
Along with experienced crew members Anthony (Jack) Young and Peter Nicholson, Rollerson overcame very difficult wind conditions to take the race by 1m2s from championship leader Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, skippered by Michael Coxon.
It was the first win by a Western Australian entry in an Australian 18ft Skiff Championship.
Third placing today went to Thurlow Fisher Consultants, Bruce Savage, which finished a further 1m12s back.
It was a disastrous day for the Gotta Love It 7 team (Seve Jarvin) which could manage only an 11th place and relinquished its lead in the championship.
Today, Gill (Dave Alexander) finished in fourth place ahead of Project Racing (Andy Budgen) and Asko Appliances (Archie Massey).
With two races still to be sailed in the championship, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers holds the lead on 8 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 on 13, Smeg (Nick Press) and Project Racing 21. Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) and Pure Blonde (James Francis) are next - tied on 23 points.
Conditions for today’s race can only be described as dreadful. The light easterly wind varied continually throughout the race and resulted in constantly changing positions throughout the fleet.
For many competitors, the race was all but over at the first windward mark. Gill and Project Racing went around the Rose Bay windward buoy together, followed by Thurlow Fisher Consultants and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy), Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty), Asko Appliances, Smeg and Yandoo (John Winning).
Gill continued to lead at the bottom mark after the long spinnaker runs from Rose Bay to Clarke Island and Robertson Point on the opposite side of the harbour. Project Racing was still second with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Thurlow Fisher Consultants close behind.
A huge change came over the race on the second windward leg when Thurlow Fisher Consultants sailed to the left hand side of the course while the rest of the leaders went to the right.
When they reached the Rose Bay buoy, Thurlow Fisher Consultants held a 1m45s lead from Slam, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Asko Appliances and Coldwell Banker New Homes (Mark Kennedy).
Slam was a narrow leader at the bottom mark the second time but over the final lap of the course was never in doubt of victory.
Race 4 of the championship will be sailed on Tuesday, 26 January and the last race next Sunday, 31 January.
More photos on the following pages...