Photos: Frank Quealey

Rookie crew takes the bullet

But then discover themselves OCS after a tricky day at the 18ft skiffs' JJ Giltinan Trophy

Sunday February 17th 2013, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

The 18ft Skiffs are noted for their dramatic nature and today’s second race of the Winning Group 2013 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour didn’t let supporters down.


While Mojo Wine, skippered by two times Australian 16 Footer champion James Dorron, took line honours, the 18s rookie skipper and his crew of Ricky Bridges and Mike McKensey were totally dismayed when they failed to get the judge’s verdict as they crossed the line. The team had sailed the entire course not knowing they had been recalled for being OCS.

With Mojo Wine being declared a non-starter, race honours went to the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers crew of Michael Coxon, Trent Barnabas and Dave O’Connor, who took the official result by 22s from first race winner and defending champion Gotta Love It 7.

Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Scott Babbage, Peter Harris) held a narrow advantage over Thurlow Fisher at the final windward mark, but could not hold off the Thurlow Fisher burst on the spinnaker run home.

Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Dave Witt, Mark Kennedy) finished a further 57s back in third place, ahead of Smeg (Nick Press), C-Tech (Alex Vallings) and Events Clothing (Riley Dean).

Gotta Love It leads the points tally on 3 points after the first two races, followed by Turlow Fisher Lawyers and Coopers-Rag & Famish each on 5 points.

New Zealand’s C-Tech heads the visiting teams on 11 points, followed by Smeg on 13 and Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane) and USA’s Howie Hamlin (CST Composites) both on 15 points.

Yamaha (David McDiarmin, New Zealand) was among the leaders after the start but Mojo Wine’s crew sailed superbly in the 8-knot ENE breeze to hold a 35s margin over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers at the windward mark.

UK’s Pica (James Mears) was in third place ahead of Team Daly (Nick Daly), Events Clothing, C-Tech and Gotta Love It 7, which was 2½m from the lead.

Alexandra South and her all-girl crew on Lomax Financial Group were also well in contention as they held 10th place as spinnakers were set for the run back to the leeward mark.

A four lap windward-leeward course had been set and at the end of the first lap there was very little separating the first four skiffs with Mojo Wine just ahead of Events Clothing, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Pica. Team Daly was also extremely fast downwind and was a nearby fifth.

On the next lap, Team Daly edged out her more fancied opposition to lead as the fleet approached the leeward mark. However when the skiff hit a wave and slowed dramatically, she was hit by another craft following the race and the resulting damage to her transom forced the skiff to retire.

The shifty nature of the breeze caused numerous place changes throughout the race.

With large crowds following today’s race it looked more like the final Sunday of the championship than the first weekend.

No team has looked dominant and the week ahead may produce one of the best finishes seen at a Giltinan Championship for many years.

Race 3 will be sailed on Tuesday with further races on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and ASAunday 24 February.

Results here

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