Sunday, 22 February 2009

18 Foot Skiffs: JJ Giltinan Championship Race 6 - winner of Race 6. Supplied image.

by Frank Quealey

Giltinan Championship - Sponsored by Winning Appliances and SLAM
Race 6 sponsored by Fisher & Paykel
Saturday, 21 February 2009
Sydney Harbour

Another win by and a dramatic last minute manoeuvre by the Gotta Love It 7 team have set the scene for the closest finish in the 70-year history of the Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship.

With only tomorrow’s race left to be sailed in the championship, the leading five teams are separated by just five points and it will be almost a case of whoever wins the race will win the title.

Southern Cross Constructions (Euan Mc Nicol, Aaron Links, Trent Barnabas) leads with a total of 14 points, followed by Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton, Tom Clout) on 15, Active Air-2UE (Matthew Searle, Dan Wilsdon, Archie Massey) on 16, (John Winning Jr,. Dave Ewings, Tim Austin) on 17 and Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris, Peter Harris, Scott Babbage) on 19 points.

Southern Cross Constructions. Supplied image.

After a slow start to the regatta when appliancesonline recorded only one sixth and two seventh placings, their last three placings have been two wins and one second placing.

A continuation of this form will see them seriously challenge the three teams ahead of them now on points.

Today’s race was yet again sailed in a light breeze and the appliancesonline team was quickly in the lead as the fleet worked its way from the start in Taylors Bay to the Rose Bay windward mark.

Appliancesonline led Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty, Dan Higlett and Tom Anderson) by 20s as spinnakers were set for the spinnaker run to Robertson Point.

The American team of Obama-Nation (Chad Freitas) was in third place, ahead of Southern Cross Constructions, Gotta Love It 7, Active Air-2UE, Yandoo (John Winning), Pure Blonde (James Francis), SLAM (Grant Rollerson) and Asko Appliances (Evan Walker).

Little changed on the run although Southern Cross moved into third place ahead of Obama-Nation.

Appliancesonline increased her lead to 1m at the Clarke Island mark while the Americans fought back to regain third place ahead of Gotta Love It 7 and Southern Cross.

While the light breeze and overcast sky made for a less than exciting image, the battle for every point amongst the leading teams was enthralling.

Little separated Gotta Love It 7 and Southern Cross for most of the course and it was only on the final spinnaker run from Rose Bay to Robertson Point where 7 edged ahead.

With only 200 metres left to sail on the windward leg, Gotta Love It 7 was secure in second place and it appeared certain that Southern Cross would finish third.

Close racing on Sydney Harbour. Supplied image.

Yandoo was fourth and closing fast on the leaders when Gotta Love It 7’s crew sailed away from the wind towards Southern Cross and Panasonic, which were vying for third place.

With Southern Cross beneath Gotta Love It 7, Yandoo came fast on a starboard tack and gained the all-important third placing behind 7.

There are protests pending (one against Gotta Love It 7), which will be heard by an independent committee tomorrow morning prior to Race 7.

Two spectator ferries have been organized by Australian 18 Footers League to follow this all important Race 7 of the Giltinan Championship.

Australian 18 Footers League

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