Photo: Ali Chapman

Four British boats at the JJ

Rick Peacock and his Haier Appliances crew lead the charge

Monday February 17th 2014, Author: Frank Quealey, Location: Australia

The UK will have a strong four-boat team challenging for the 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, proudly presented by Sydney City Marine, which begins on Sydney Harbour on 1 March.

Heading the challenge will be Rick Peacock (skipper), sailing with Tristan Hutt (sheet) and Nick Murray (bow), aboard Haier Appliances.

Peacock was a member of the GBR 49er Performance Squad and finished second and fourth at world championships. Hutt and Murray have won several European and UK championships as well as European and UK Grand Prix in the 18s.

The trio is determined to give it their best effort. They came to Sydney last September and have been racing their Haier Appliances skiff each week with the Australian 18 Footers League fleet.

Hutt commented: “It’s all part of the learning process for us. We feel we’re a much better team as a result of the experience we have gained. Racing regularly against the world’s best teams must make you better equipped to contest the major championships.

“We realise that the 2014 JJ is going to be very difficult as there are 34 of the world’s best teams competing from six countries, but we’ll be giving it our best shot."

The team’s progression has been good, particularly as the conditions on the harbour this season have been very difficult for all teams.

Nick Murray added: “I also came to Sydney to fulfill a boyhood dream and tick off something from my bucket list - sailing 18s on Sydney Harbour. I wanted a good chance of doing well in the JJ, so felt that competing in a full season would provide the acumen for a good result, particularly as Sydney Harbour is one of the most challenging places to sail in the world.2

As well as the Australian 18 Footers League and Haier Appliances providing the team with a skiff for the season, the Brits have also received support from Allen Sailboat Hardware, Desk Hardware and Zhik.

Three other UK teams will join Haier Appliances at the championship - Pica (Jamie Mears), Black Dog (Jarrod Simpson) and Hyde Sails (Jack Grogan). All three will present formidable challenges.

The Mears brothers (along with Tristan Hutt, now on Haier) have been the top Europeans for a number of seasons and are sure to benefit from the knowledge gained at the 2013 JJ Giltinan Championship. Matt Searle, who was a narrow runner-up to Southern Cross Constructions in 2009, is the new man in the team and will add tremendous local knowledge to the campaign.

Jarrod Simpson has contested several Giltinan championships and many other international regattas and is expected to finish in the top half of the 34-boat fleet.

Final member of the UK team is Jack Grogan, who will be contesting the JJ for the first time. His team is another top contender at European championship regattas and will benefit from his Sydney experience.

The UK has already won two JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championships: Tim Robinson with Rockport in 1999 and Rob Greenhalgh with RMW Marine in 2004.

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