After 1 hour 15 minutes and 58 secs. of sailing, Race Officer Garry Linacre shortened the course when the fleet was practically becalmed after only one lap of the three-lap North East course.
Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips, Dave Ewings) crossed the line 24s ahead of Gotta Love It 7, sailed by John Stanley (replacing Seve Jarvin), Scott Babbage and Peter Harris.
Team Daly (Nick Daly, John Walton, Peter Nicholson) was a further 1m15s back in third place, ahead of Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane), Lumix (Jonathan Whitty) and defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon).
Allowing for discards, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers leads the championship with a total of 5 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 on 6 and Smeg on 7.
To complicate the situation, if teams finish on equal points after next Sunday’s race, Thurlow Fisher and Smeg both have two wins so far, while Gotta Love It 7’s points have been accumulated with three second places.
After yesterday’s strong winds, and predicted 15-25 knots winds again this afternoon, all teams elected to go with their smaller #2 rigs.
It was an interesting race to the windward mark at Beashel Buoy with the fleet split into two distinct groups by an outgoing container ship.
Those on the south side of the ship farer better and Gotta Love It 7 held a 25s lead from Appliancesonline.com.au when spinnakers were set for the run back to the wing mark off the southern end of Shark Island. Yandoo (John Winning) was a further 15s back, then Lumix headed a group including Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney), Smeg and Team Daly.
Gotta Love It 7 was impressive downwind and opened up a big break over her challengers on the run into the wing mark.
But that’s where it all ended as the fleet ‘parked’ after the skiffs cleared the wing mark.
Smeg picked up some private air and took a narrow lead from Gotta Love It 7 and, although it took another 40 minutes or so, held the lead to win as the course was shortened.
The Australian 18 Footers League had changed the previous rule which did not permit the ‘shortening of course’ in its races, and so today created history as the first 18ft Skiff race where the course was officially shortened.