Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs: Winning Appliances JJ Giltinan Race 4 - Easy Win for Thurlow Fisher Lawyers

The Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team make winning look easy. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

Australian champions Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas gave a faultless exhibition in Thurlow Fisher Lawyers to win Race 4 of the Winning Appliances JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.

The win gives the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers team the outright lead in the series on 9 points, three ahead of defending champion Seve Jarvin and his Gotta Love It 7 team of Sam Newton and Scott Babbage.

Smeg. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Second today was Smeg (Nick Press, Dan Phillips and Dave Ewings), which finished 1m20s behind the winner, while Western Australia’s SLAM (Grant Rollerson, Anthony Young and Peter Nicholson) was a further 1m5s back in third place.

Overall point scores behind Thurlow Fsiher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7 are US champion Howie Hamlin and his CST Composites team Fritz Lanzinger and Paul Allen on 18 points, Yandoo (John Winning, Andrew Hay, Dave Gibson) and Red Claw Wines (Matthew Searle, Archie Massey, Mike McKenzie) both on 23 and Smeg on 27.

Today’s race was delayer for 1h45m due to a lack of wind, but when the light north east breeze arrived another unpredictable race was on.

Howie Hamlin’s CST Composites and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers while Gotta Love It 7 was further back in the pack.

Thurlow’s boat speed was missing yesterday with the #2 rig, but it was soon obvious that boat speed was not going to be a problem with the bigger #1 rig.

Spectrum Trimming. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Half way up the first beat to the Beashel Buoy Thurlow Fisher Lawyers already held a good beak over CST Composites, SLAM, Panasonic (Jonathan Whitty), Spectrum Trimming (Luke Parkinson), Red Claw Wines, TF Collect (Mark Kennedy) De’Longhi (Simon Nearn) and New Zealand’s CT Sailbattens (Alex Vallings).

At the windward mark Thurlow Fisher led CST Composites by 30s with SLAM in third place, followed by Panasonic, Smeg, Spectrum Trimming, Red Claw, De’Longhi and Gotta Love It 7, which was 1m30s from the leader.

Queenslander. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

With a little more east in the breeze, all teams completed several gybes downwind to the wing mark where Thurlow Fisher Lawyers had opened up her lead to 55s. over Smeg and CST Composites, followed by De’Longhi and Gotta Love It 7.

Coxon and his crew took the lead out another few secs. At the bottom mark then went further away on the following windward beat back to the Beashel Buoy, where their lead was out to 1m30s.

Smeg chases Thurlow Fisher Lawyers. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

While Thurlow Fisher was dominating the race, the battle for the minor placings was intense with Smeg, CST Composites and Gotta Love It 7 racing with only a few secs. Separating the trio.

On the final windward leg to the Beashel Buoy all teams elected to sail to the northern shore and SLAM gained time to be within striking distance of Smeg, Gotta Love It 7 and CST Composites.

Gotta Love It 7 finished fourth and the American boat CST Composites, fifth. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

SLAM took a different line to the other three teams competing for the minor placings on the spinnaker run to the wing mark off Shark Island.

The move paid dividends as SLAM cut out Gotta Love It 7 and CST Composites, to finish third behind Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Smeg.

Waiting for the race to start. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

With three different winners so far, tomorrow’s Race 5 will be all important on the point scoreboard before the final races on Saturday and Sunday.

Aussie 18 Footers League