Fourth race, fourth winner
Australian champions Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas gave a faultless exhibition aboard Thurlow Fisher Lawyers to win Race 4 of the Winning Appliances JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
The win gives the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team the outright lead in the series on 9 points, three ahead of defending champion Seve Jarvin and his Gotta Love It 7 team of Sam Newton and Scott Babbage.
Second today was Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings), which finished 1m20s behind the winner, while Western Australia’s Slam (Grant Rollerson, Anthony Young and Peter Nicholson) was a further 1m5s back in third place.
Overall point scores behind Thurlow Fsiher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 are US champion Howie Hamlin and his CST Composites team Fritz Lanzinger and Paul Allen on 18 points, Yandoo (John Winning, Andrew Hay, Dave Gibson) and Red Claw Wines (Matthew Searle, Archie Massey, Mike McKenzie) both on 23 and Smeg on 27.
Today’s race was delayer for 1 hour 45 minutes due to a lack of wind, but when the light northeast breeze arrived another unpredictable race was on.
Thurlow’s boat speed was missing yesterday with the #2 rig, but it was soon obvious that boat speed was not going to be a problem with her bigger #1 rig. Half way up the first beat to the Beashel Buoy she already held a good beak over CST Composites, Slam, Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty), Spectrum Trimming (Luke Parkinson), Red Claw Wines, TF Collect (Mark Kennedy) De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) and New Zealand’s CT Sailbattens (Alex Vallings).
At the windward mark Thurlow Fisher led CST Composites by 30 seconds with Slam in third place, followed by Panasonic, Smeg, Spectrum Trimming, Red Claw, De’Longhi and Gotta Love It 7, which was 1m30s from the leader.
With a little more east in the breeze, all teams completed several gybes downwind to the wing mark where Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had opened up her lead to 55 seconds over Smeg and CST Composites, followed by De’Longhi and Gotta Love It 7.
Coxon and his crew took the lead out another few secs. At the bottom mark they went further away on the following windward beat back to the Beashel Buoy, where their lead was out to 1m30s.
While Thurlow Fisher was dominating the race, the battle for the minor placings was intense with Smeg, CST Composites and Gotta Love It 7 racing with only a few seconds separating the trio.
On the final windward leg to the Beashel Buoy all teams elected to sail to the northern shore and Slam gained time to be within striking distance of Smeg, Gotta Love It 7 and CST Composites.
Slam took a different line to the other three teams competing for the minor placings on the spinnaker run to the wing mark off Shark Island. This move paid dividends as she cut out Gotta Love It 7 and CST Composites, to finish third behind Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Smeg.