Smeg claims opener
The Smeg team of Trevor Barnabas, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings gave an outstanding display in difficult conditions to take out Race 1 of the Australian 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
The multi championship winning Barnabas stood in for Smeg’s regular skipper Nick Press, who is currently contesting the 12ft Skiffs Interdominion Championship.
Smeg took the lead shortly before the end of the first lap and was never headed thereafter to defeat Slam (Grant Rollerson, Anthony Young, Peter Nicholson) by 50s. Third place went to the newly sponsored Kenwood Rabbitohs (Evan Walker, Jeremy Roberts, Ted Hackney), which finished a further 2m12s back.
The race began sensationally when defending champion and pre race favourite Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) collided with the stern of the starter boat and was an immediate retiree.
With the breeze tending ENE there was not a lot of work involved to the windward Beashel Buoy on the North East course.
Western Australia’s Slam was the early leader, closely followed by Smeg, Kenwood Rabbitohs, Yandoo (John Winning), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Micah Lane) and Red Claw (Matthew Searle).
Slam led by 15s as spinnakers were set for the run to the wing mark at the south end of Shark Island.
With so much east wind direction in the breeze, all teams were forced to lower their spinnakers for the run along Shark Island to the Totem Pole.
Positions remained unchanged until Barnabas and his team elected to gybe mid way down the third leg. The move was a winner for Smeg, which went around the following mark inside Slam.
An incident between Smeg and Slam saw the Slam team forced to perform a 360degree penalty turn. This allowed Smeg to extend her lead to one minute at the next windward mark and from that point the result was never in doubt.
The light easterly breeze reduced the work on the windward legs and the downwind runs also became a one track course. With little chance for changes the placing remained pretty much the same to the finish.
Race 2 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday, 16 January 2011.
Full results here