7 takes the lead
Race 12 of the Australian 18 Footers League’s Club Championship took on a greater value than normal as it was the final hit out for teams before next week’s JJ Giltinan Championship begins on Sydney Harbour.
The recently crowned Australian champion Gotta Love It 7 crew (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Tom Clout) showed that they are going to be the team to beat in the Giltinan when they led for most of today’s race in a light southeast breeze to take victory by 49s.
Early leader Project Racing (Andy Budgen, James Barker, Matt Mc Govern) sailed consistently to finish in second place. Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris, Scott Babbage, Peter Harris) was a further 1m9s further back third.
Gotta Love It 7’s win gives her the championship lead on 45 points with two races still to be sailed.
For second placed Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Aaron Links, Trent Barnabas) it was a day they will want to forget and one that they won’t want to see repeated in the Giltinan Championship. They and Gotta Love It 7 were engaged in a great battle for the lead on the third leg of the course (the spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Chowder Bay) before a Manly Ferry 'split' the pair and basically ended Thurlow’s race. A torn spinnaker shortly afterwards saw the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers crew forced to sail the rest of the course under just the jib and main - limping home a distant 19th.
John Winning Jnr’s Appliancesonline.com.au finished fourth (and won the handicap section), ahead of John Winning’s Yandoo and Asko Appliances (Archie Massey).
As well as the regular club fleet, three of the international crews preparing for next week’s JJ Giltinan Championship sailed the race by invitation. New Zealand’s Chris Skinner was eighth over the line, Sweden’s Anders Lewander tenth and Howie Hamlin (USA) 15th.
Race schedule for the JJ Giltinan Championship are:
Friday 12 February Invitation Race
Saturday 13 February Race 1 **
Sunday 14 February Race 2
Tuesday 16 February Race 3
Wednesday 17 February Race 4
Thursday 18 February Race 5
Saturday 20 February Race 6
Sunday 21 February Race 7
** Race 1 will also be sailed for the George Calligeros Trophy