Photos: Frank Quealey

25 knots at the JJ Giltinan Championship

18ft skiffs airborne on Sydney Harbour

Tuesday February 21st 2012, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers won Race 3 of the Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today, but the other winners were those lucky spectators on the harbor who witnessed two great crews tame the elements in a wonderful sailing display.

Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas on Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage on Gotta Love It 7 were superb in the 25-knot (gusting to 27 knots) southerly wind which tested the skills of every competitor in the regatta.

After more than one hour of sailing in such conditions, Thurlow Fisher crossed the finish line just 8 seconds ahead of Gotta Love It 7. Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings) were never too far from the lead and finished a further 1m26s back in third place.

The strong wind took a heavy toll on the fleet with only 16 boats completing the course. Some even failed to make the start. Incidents during the race are also likely to lead to several protests being lodged so all progress pointscores are provisional at this stage.

There are at least five protests, which will all be heard tomorrow morning.

Overall Gotta Love It 7 continues to lead on four points, followed by Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 12, Smeg on 14, Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) on 15, Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) on 15 and Smeg on 16.

Today at the first windward mark Gotta Love It 7 led by 10 seconds from Thurlow Fisher, with Rag & Famish Hotel third and US champion Howie Hamlin on CST Composites in fourth place.

The spinnaker run to Obelisk was sensational with the skiffs ‘flying’ down the harbor ahead of the strong southerly wind.

7 extended her lead over Thurlow Fisher to 30 seconds while The Rag and CST held their positions ahead of Smeg, NZ’s C-Tech (Alex Vallings), Yandoo (John Winning), Mojo Wine and (Micah Lane).

The two leaders edged further ahead of the fleet over the next two legs of the course and gave a thrilling exhibition on the two sail reach to the bottom mark. At one point, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was practically airborne as she chased the flying red 7.

7’s lead was down to just 10 seconds as the pair headed for Clarke Island, but a shock came over the lead when Gotta Love It 7 unaccountably capsized on a wind to leave Thurlow with the lead. With another great challenge from the 7 crew, Thurlow were great under pressure and provided spectators with an exciting finish.

One incident under protest involved the leading US and New Zealand teams of CST Composites and C-Tech, which collided on the second spinnaker run to Obelisk.

Photos from Frank Quealey

From Andrea Francolini/


Photos from Ingrid Abery/



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