Kiwis come out swinging
Sailing and swimming joined forces in the Invitation Race ahead of the first day of racing at the 51st Slam 12 Foot Skiff Interdominion Championship on the Parramatta River this afternoon - and it was a Kiwi crew that handled the squally conditions better than the rest.
Sailing in a difficult 10-15 knot SSEerly wind on the upper Harbour, As Good As It Gets lived up to her name when Glenn Armstrong and John Shultz from Wellington sailed into first place, and backed up for third place on handicap, so good was their win. Their result bodes well for the 10-race series main event.
Aussie entries filled out the next two places on scratch; Gemmell Sails (Murray Press/Ben Gemmell) from Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Club and 2009 Interdominion champion and reigning national champion, Garde, sailed by Brett Hobson/Alex Johnson from Woollahra Sailing Club.
Adam Forbes/Richard Johns, also from WSC, sailed D Unit to a handicap win over Vantage Real Estate, skippered by Lane Cove 12’s 63 year-old Jack Winning and crewed by Brett Phillips. Age and experience definitely overcame youth today.
It was not an easy day, and the 12s are one of the most difficult skiffs to control, even in lighter winds. “It was a good race,” said Andrew Short Marine skipper Michael Spies. “There was lots of tacking and gybing up the channel; it sorted everyone out,” he said.
Capsizes were aplenty, the flattened boats making the scene look like a graveyard, but at least threatening rain did not eventuate.
Thirty four high-tech 12 foot skiffs hit the water at 2.30pm on an alternate southerly course, used because of shipping on the course of choice, but it worked well, according to the sailors.
The Invitation Race was a good test for 'the Interdominion', which is alternately hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club is host for this 51st event, to be held from 6-15 January 2011, with co-operation of Hunters Hill Sailing Club, which is generously loaning its facilities.
Racing each day will get underway from 2.30pm. The Interdominion Champion (first scratch boat) will be awarded the Silasec Trophy, while the John Brooke Trophy will be awarded to the best team in the Australia versus New Zealand competition; always a hard fought-for event.
There is also the Veterans Advanx Trophy for the best skipper over 45 years of age, a Rookie Nimble Trophy for the highest placed first time skipper – and last but by no means least, the Underall Champion Miners Trophy awarded to the most spectacular capsizer of the series.
In conjunction with the Championship, a 12ft skiff reunion will be hosted by Lane Cove 12ft SSC tomorrow evening, January7, at the Hunters Hill Sailing Club.