The Rag again
The Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship looks as though it will go right down to the wire as the points tighten among the leading contenders.
Rag & Famish Hotel was again sailed brilliantly by John Harris, Scott Babbage and Peter Harris to win their second consecutive race in race 5 on Sydney Harbour today.
'The Rag’ once again dominated the fleet to score by 3m4s from Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Tom Clout), with Project Racing (Andy Budgen, James Barker and Matt Mc Govern) in third place a further 58s back.
The outright pointscore shows Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas), 13, with a one point lead over Project Racing on 14 and Gotta Love It 7 on 15.
While Rag & Famish Hotel appears to be trailing in fifth place, behind Grant Rollerson’s Slam, ‘Rag’s’ placing is much stronger after discard.
Her 37 points would be reduced to five points and a one point lead over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers with three races still to sail.
Today’s race was sailed in a 10-12 knot SE wind that had many holes and variations.
After a good, even start, the fleet quickly split into two groups with several teams electing to go to the west of Shark Island while most went to the east. The breeze went to the right and favoured those on the western side of the island.
At the windward mark Oliver Merz’s Sydney Football Stadium led narrowly from Rag & Famish Hotel, CT Sailbattens (Alex Vallings NZ), Boatmate Shipwrights (Jason Waterhouse) and Team Gill Sweden (Anders Lewander SWE), which was the first from the eastern side of the island.
Rag & Famish Hotel was quick to grab the lead on the long spinnaker run to Robertson Point then opened up a break of more than one minute on the following windward leg to the mark off Clarke Island.
A near collision with the spectator ferry soon after was costly for Rag & Famish and allowed Project Racing and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers to reduce the margin at Chowder Bay. Gotta Love It 7 was back in fourth place but elected to tack early after rounding the Chowder Bay mark.
Once again, going west of Shark Island was a winner as Gotta Love It 7 was only two or three boat lengths behind Project Racing and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers at the next mark.
For Rag & Famish Hotel, however, it didn’t matter as Harris and his crew had extended their lead again – this time to more than two minutes. Obviously, with good boat speed and excellent crew work ‘The Rag’ was never in any danger over the concluding legs of the course as she powered away for an easy win.
Gotta Love It 7 continued her move on the minor placings and comfortably took second placing while Project Racing was equally comfortable in third.
Down the final spinnaker run Bassett Plumbing & Drainage (Chris Skinner NZ) and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers were neck and neck for fourth place but suffered badly over the final leg in totally unpredictable wind.
Within the final 200 metres Thurlow Fisher Lawyers dropped from fourth to seventh while Bassett Plumbing & Drainage fared worst by finishing in ninth place.
The re-sail of last Tuesday’s Race 3 will held tomorrow with the last two races of the championship to be sailed on Saturday and Sunday.