Friday, 28 January 2011

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs: Race 4 sees Championship Win for Thurlow Fisher Lawyers

First spinnaker run. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers took out today’s Race 4 of the Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour to clinch the title with one more race still to be sailed.

Skippered by Michael Coxon and crewed by Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers trailed early but grabbed the lead on the second windward leg and went on to take the victory by15s from arch rivals Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage in Gotta Love It 7.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, winners of the Aussie 18 Foot Skiff Championships 2011: Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Third place went John Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson in Yandoo, which finished a further 1m13s back.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers has an unbeatable points lead (after discarding her worst result) on 4 points, followed by Yandoo and Red Claw Wines (Matt Searle, Archie Massey and Mike McKenzie) on 11, Smeg (Nick Press) on 13, defending champion Gotta Love It 7 on 14 and Project Racing (Andy Budgen) 15.

Today’s race was also part of the Australia Day Regatta and produced extremely testing conditions for all teams.

Start of the race. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

High temperature over the cool water produced a fog haze and the lack of a decent breeze didn’t help on a crowded Sydney Harbour.

A light (5-8 knots) North-East breeze then settled and after two general recalls the race finally got under way more than 40m later than scheduled.

Light wind. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

It was a slow ride across from the start at Double Bay to the first tack off Bradleys Head where Kenwood-Rabbitohs narrowly led from Thurlow Fisher Lawyers.

Several skiffs, including Gotta Love It 7, Asko Appliances, Smeg and Rag & Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) tacked early and the fleet was soon spread across the course.

Project Racing led a tightly bunched fleet at the first windward mark and continued to lead by 20s at the bottom mark.

Rag & Famish. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Thurlow Fisher Lawyers was in second place, followed by (Jeremy Wilmot), Gotta Love It 7, Asko Appliances (John Harris), Red Claw Wines, Smeg and Yandoo.

On the next windward leg Thurlow Fisher Lawyers overhauled Project Racing and from that point her victory look assured as the team opened up a break of 1m10s at the bottom mark for the second time.

The last race of the championship will be sailed next Sunday, 30 January, with the usual spectator ferry leaving Double Bay Wharf at 2.10pm.

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs