Ingrid Abery Photography /

Smeg in the chocolates

Nick Press' team wins the 18ft skiff's President's Trophy prior to next weekend's JJ Giltinan Championship

Sunday February 12th 2012, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

The Smeg 18ft Skiff team of Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings grabbed a dramatic 26s win in the President’s Trophy race over a three buoys course on Sydney Harbour today.

After trailing De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (John Sweeny, Keagan York and Ross Finney) for the entire race, Smeg’s crew won a tactical battle over the concluding downwind leg of the course to take their narrow victory. Third place went to Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones, Keiran Cowan and Stewart Wells), which finished a further 1m5s behind De’Longhi-Rabbitohs.

Another unsettled day saw the starter set a three lap windward-return course in an east-ENE breeze.

De’Longhi-Rabbitohs led the fleet to the first windward 3-buoys marks where she arrived 30 seconds ahead of Smeg, followed by Asko Appliances, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) and Kenwood-Rabbitohs (Brett Van Munster).

The two leaders edged away from the bulk of the fleet downwind to the bottom mark where Smeg had reduced the margin to 15 seconds.

Over the next lap of the course, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs sailed beautifully to open up what appeared to be a race winning lead of 2m15s over Smeg, Mojo Wine, Kenwood-Rabbitohs, Asko Appliances, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) and The Kitchen Maker (Cameron McDonald).

Smeg sailed closer to the southern shore on the work back to the final windward marks and picked up nearly two minutes on De’Longhi-Rabbitohs to trail by only 25 seconds as the pair headed for home.

The Smeg crew sailed a slightly higher course downwind and were first to drop their spinnaker. This was a winning move as Smeg passed De’Longhi-Rabbitohs only 400 metres from the finish line.

Asko Appliances was consistent throughout the race to finish third, ahead of Pure Blonde (Tom Clout), Lumix and Kenwood-Rabbitohs.

Conditions made it difficult for the backmarkers Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) to get into the race and they all finished well back in the fleet.

US champion Howie Hamlin also contested the race in CST Composites as a warm up for the JJ Giltinan Championship next week.

The JJ Giltinan Championship, the world’s premier 18ft Skiff regatta, will begin on Sydney Harbour next Friday 17 February with the Invitation Race for all competitors.The first race of the championship will be sailed on Saturday 18 February. 30 teams from USA, New Zealand and UK as well as Australian teams representing NSW, Queensland and Western Australia will contest the 63rd JJ Giltinan Championship.

Photos by Ingrid Abery/

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