Strong international line-up
With the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship, presented by Sydney City Marine, due to start on Saturday, international competitors have begun arriving at the Australian 18 Footers League club in Sydney.
With four UK teams, four from New Zealand, two from USA and one from Denmark, set to take on 21 of Australia’s best from NSW and Queensland, the regatta will feature the biggest international contingent for many years.
The strength of the international challenge shows a lot of quality with Alex Vallings’ C-Tech from New Zealand, a real contender for the title following the international successes over the past 12 months.
Two other New Zealand teams Yamaha (David McDiarmid) and Knight Frank (Riley Dean) are also strong contenders and represent New Zealand’s best chance of taking the title since Terry McDell and his Travelodge New Zealand team in 1974.
Former two times JJ Giltinan champion, Howie Hamlin of the USA is back with his CST Composites skiff while European champion Jarrod Simpson has teamed up this year with two locals in the Black Dog.
Howie and German newcomer to Sydney Harbour, Friedrich Renner in EuroLink, took no time getting their boats ready and were immediately mixing it by invitation with the local fleet in Sunday’s last race of the NSW Championship.
Magic Marine’s skipper Norbert Peter hadn’t yet arrived in Sydney so one of his team, Finn Mrugalla, also grabbed the opportunity to hop on board the local Pure Blonde skiff for the race.
The build up in the rigging area this week will become frantic as Saturday’s first race of the championship proper approaches.
The international teams are:
C-Tech Alex Vallings, Chris Kitchen, Joshua McCormack
Yamaha David McDiarmid, Andrew Archibald, Mark Overington
Knight Frank Riley Dean, Matt Coutts, John Little
Maersk Line Graham Catley, Matt Randell, Brad Collins
Haier Appliances Rick Peacock, Tristan Hutt, Nick Murray
Pica Jamie Mears, Stewart Mears,Matt Searle
Black Dog Jarrod Simpson, John Sweeny, Daniel Nixon
Hyde Sails Jack Grogan, Sam Caslin, Michael Banks
CST Composites Howie Hamlin, Mike Martin, Nick Catley
CT Sailbattens Skip McCormack, Jody McCormack, Joe Penrod
Magic Marine Norbetr Peter, Finn Mrugalla, Eike Dietrich
EuroLink Friedrich Renner, Christian Meissner, Thomas Eggersdorfer
Original Chia Flemming Clausen, Soren Clausen, Kez Cameron
Racing gets underway on Friday 28 February with an Invitation Race, before Race 1 of the JJ Giltinan Championship sets sail on Saturday 1 March with one race a day through until 9 March (but with a layday on Friday 7 March).