Sunday, 22 March 2009

Australian 18 Foot Skiffs: Queen of the Harbour

Madeline Mitchell – 2009 Queen of the Harbour. Left to right: Richard Howard, Simon Nearn – skipper, Chris Cleary. Image copyright Christophe Favreau.

Sponsored by Shorty’s Liquor

by Frank Quealey

Madi Mitchell became the 2009 Queen of the Harbour when she teamed with Simon Nearn (skipper), Richard Howard and Chris Cleary to win the annual 18ft Skiff event on Sydney Harbour today.

The quartet brought their skiff De Longhi home a 1m 8s winner from Southern Cross Constructions (Michael Coxon) with Yandoo (Trevor Barnabas) just 2s further back in third place.

The Queen of the Harbour is a time honoured race which has been conducted by the Australian 18 Footers League since the 1930s in which the regular 3-man crew is joined by a female crew member.

Today’s race was contested over a 3-buoys course where three separate windward marks were used to create a handicap situation.

Sydney turned on a perfect day with full sunshine and a moderate north east wind.

The race for the early lead was a battle between Yandoo and Project Racing (Andy Budgen), with Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin), Southern Cross, Kinder Caring Home Nursing (Brett Van Munster) and De Longhi close behind.

Kinder Caring led De Longhi narrowly after the pair rounded the ‘red’ buoy.

On the downwind legs to Clarke Island, Kinder Caring retained a narrow lead from De Longhi with the challengers now 1m30s back.

Gotta Love It 7 was third, followed by Yandoo, Southern Cross, Smeg (Daniel Phillips), Macquarie Real Estate (Micah Lane) and Thurlow Fisher (Bruce Savage).

The two leaders raced upwind with just a few boat lengths between them before De Longhi gained the advantage at the next set of 3-buoys windward marks.

At the end of the second lap De Longhi had opened up a 1m15s lead over Kinder Caring and the race was as good as over.

While De Longhi was untroubled over the final lap, the battle for the next three placings was intense.

Positions exchanged several times before Southern Cross finally grabbed second place from Yandoo on the finish line.

Once again, all the girls gave a great account of themselves and certainly held up the tradition of the event.

A special mention must go to the Thurlow Fisher crew which finished in an excellent seventh position.

For the first time in Queen of the Harbour racing, the two male crewmen Bruce Savage and Greg Windust were joined by their wives Lyn Savage and Bec Windust.

Australian 18 Footers League

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