A lack of consistent breeze forced officials to delay the start of race 3 of the 2014 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship by 45 minutes on Sydney Harbour today.
When the race finally got under way, after one recall, three teams (CST Composites, USA, Haier Appliances UK, and Fisher & Paykel, Aust.) were black flagged, which reduced the fleet to 31 boats.
Despite very light, variable wind, which forced the starter to move the windward mark, then shorten the course by one lap, the finish was a great triumph for the New Zealand team which recorded and 1-2 finish. Alex Vallings, Chris Kitchen, Joshua McCormack reproduced the form in C-Tech, which saw them take the San Francisco International Challenge late last year as the grabbed a 35 second victory today.
Fellow Kiwi team Yamaha (David McDiarmid, Andrew Archibald, Mark Overington) was a gallant second, just 5 second. ahead of Australia’s top team, Lumix (Jonathan Whitty. Aron Everett, James Hozack).
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) was fourth today and has now taken the regatta lead over defending champion Seve Jarvin’s Gotta Love It 7, which could manage only a distant 12th.
The top six placings on points going into tomorrow’s race 4 is Thurlow Fisher Lawyers on 9 pts., followed by Gotta Love It 7 on 14, C-Tech on 18, Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) on 19, The Kitchen Maker on 20 and Mojo Wine (Chris Nicholson) on 24.
Conditions were a huge test of all teams on the leg to the windward mark off Watsons Bay where C-Tech held a narrow lead over Yamaha, Lumix and The Kitchen Maker (Will Phillips).
At the bottom mark Lumix had shown great light wind speed under spinnaker to grab the lead and was 28 seconds ahead of Yamaha, with C-Tech back in third place. This trio had opened up a break over Mojo Wine, The Kitchen Maker and Coopers 62-Rag & Famish Hotel, which were also well ahead of the following group.
At this point, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was in 8th place and Gotta Love It 7 was only 17th and a long way from the leading group.
Lumix continued to lead Yamaha and C-Tech over the next lap of the course, as the trio clearly had the race to themselves.
After two laps, the starter was forced to shorten the course by one lap.
At the final windward mark, C-Tech had picked up better breeze than her opponents to lead Lumix by 45 seconds, while Yamaha had dropped back to 1m25s from the lead. The three teams fought hard in little wind all the way down the final leg and produced a great finish for the spectators.
Race 4 of the championship will be sailed tomorrow (Wednesday) with the following races on each day, except Friday, until Sunday 9 March.