Gotta Love It 7 off to a strong start

That time of year again - as NSW 18ft Skiff Championship sets sail

Sunday November 7th 2010, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

Seve Jarvin and his Gotta Love It 7 team of Scott Babbage and Peter Harris are off to a great start in the 2010-2011 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship when they won Race 1 of the five race series on Sydney Harbour today.

Jarvin had two different crew members to the team which helped him win the 2010 Giltinan Championship, but there was no lack of ability on board as they raced to an all-the-way win.

Babbage (who will be sailing on 7 all season) and Harris (filling in for Sam Newton for three weeks) are former team mates from the Rag & Famish Hotel crew of the past few years and were in the 2008-2009 NSW champion, Rag & Famish Hotel, with John Harris.

Following 7 home today was Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, crewed by Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas, which finished 28s behind the winner.

Third place was filled by Red Claw (Matthew Searle, Archie Massey and Mike McKenzie), which finished a further 1m11s back, followed by Yandoo (John Winning), Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn).

The race was sailed in a 15-knot northeast breeze and all teams elected to carry their bigger #1 rigs.

Panasonic (Jonathan Whiity) was over the line at the start and lost more than 30s going back to re-start, while Appliancesonline (Jeremy Wilmot) missed the start by about one minute when the crew had to capsize the skiff to repair a rig problem.

From the outset, Gotta Love It 7 had boat speed and height to windward and quickly set the pace to the windward mark at Beashel Buoy.

Red Claw was equal to the task and actually crossed 7 narrowly off Clifton Gardens, with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in this place, followed by Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Rag & Famish Hotel.

7 regained the lead at the windward mark from Red Claw, while the next three places remained unchanged. Yandoo had recovered from a slow start and was in sixth place.

Under spinnaker, Gotta Love It 7 increased her lead with Thurlow Fisher Lawyers moving into second place ahead of Red Claw and Asko at the wing mark.

At the bottom mark off Clarke Island, 7 held a 45s lead over Thurlow Fisher and from that point the race was as good as over so long as they stayed afloat.

Over the next lap of the course the lead extended to more than one minute and was as much as 1m30s at the final windward mark, before the two spinnaker legs to the finish.

Most of the spectator interest centred on the battle for third to seventh places. Little separated Red Claw, Yandoo, Rag & Famish Hotel, De’Longhi and Asko Appliances with the placings changing several times before the finish.

Some of the newcomer teams are already starting to show improvement and will be more competitive as the season progresses.

Full results here

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