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Flighty breeze on Sydney Harbour for final JJ Giltinan warm-up

Sunday February 27th 2011, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

Race 13 of the Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship took on more importance than usual today as it was the final hit out for teams prior to next weekend’s JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.

Unfortunately for all teams the race was absolutely no gauge to the upcoming titles as it was sailed in possibly the worst wind conditions for several seasons. At no time did the breeze get above 5 knots and as for direction it was somewhere from a westerly direction.

After nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes, John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson brought Yandoo home the winner and have increased their lead in the Club Championship. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Slam (Grant Rollerson) took second and third placings respectively after staging a boat-for-boat battle in practically non-existent wind on the final leg of the course.

Yandoo’s winning margin was 14m30s with another 30s between second and third.

It would be practically impossible to describe the race as it was a matter of where each boat was when small pockets of breeze were about. If you were in the right position you could go from last to first and if you were wrong then it was first to last. After two general recalls, Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) led for the first two legs of the course only to fall victim of the “wrong place at the wrong time” and drop back to near last at the following mark.

Giltinan Championship favourite Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) was worse and had only one boat in the 19-boat fleet approaching the same mark.

The bottom mark on the first lap was like a traffic jam at the end of a freeway with almost the entire fleet bunched within a 50 metres area. Winning took the lead at that point and was never headed over the next one-and-a-half laps to the finish.

Even allowing for the conditions there were a number of good performances behind the three placegetters. Asko’s early lead was a result of good tactics up the first beat. Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman) was in second place at the windward mark, followed by Kenwood-Rabbitohs (Evan Walker), Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty) and (Jeremy Wilmot).

Trevor Barnabas replaced Matthew Searle as skipper of Red Claw Wines and was near the lead for the first lap,

Boat competitors and spectators will certainly be hoping for better conditions next week.

The JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship will commence next Friday afternoon when all teams will contest the Invitation Race. First point score race of the championship will be sailed on Saturday 5 March.

Full results here

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