Monday, 14 December 2009

Aussie 18 Foot Skiffs: Syd Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy

Smeg enjoying the breeze. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

by Frank Quealey

Newly crowned NSW champions Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Trent Barnabas continued their excellent form when they brought Thurlow Fisher-City home a comfortable winner of the Syd Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour today.

The trio gave a near perfect performance in the 18-20 knot southerly wind to defeat Yandoo, guest skippered by Trevor Barnabas, and crewed by Andrew Hay and Gary Phillips.

While the pair staged an exciting duel throughout the race, the Thurlow Fisher-City team finished too strongly to take victory by 1m27s.

Third home was Thurlow Fisher-Bankstown, Bruce Savage, which finished a further 1m4s behind Yandoo.

Yandoo takes off. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

The strong wind took a toll on the fleet with leading contenders Gotta Love It 7 (Seve Jarvin) and Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) both forced out with gear damage.

With the 3-buoys handicap system in operation for today’s race, the fleet was closely bunched for the first spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay.

By the end of the run Rag & Famish Hotel (with her #1 rig) held the lead from Yandoo, appliancesonline (John Winning Jr.), Thurlow Fisher-Bankstown, Thurlow Fisher-City and De’Longhi (Simon Nearn).

Yandoo’s smaller #2 rig was an advantage on the work to the Rose Bay YA mark.

Rag & Famish Hotel and Yandoo went around the mark together but Yandoo was a clear leader as the fleet completed the first lap of the course.

Thurlow Fisher-City made her move on the following windward leg back to the 3-buoys Clarke Island mark where she gained a 15s break on the chasers.

Yandoo, Smeg (Nick Press) and Rag & Famish all went around together, followed by De’Longhi, Thurlow Fisher-Bankstown, Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Cuddihy) and appliancesonline.

Thurlow Fisher City won again. Image copyright Frank Quealey.

Smeg and Yandoo crews each set spinnakers shortly after rounding this mark while Coxon and his crew decided to 2-sail reach before setting their spinnaker.

The move was a winner and from that point Thurlow Fisher-City was never really in danger of defeat despite the persistence of Yandoo whose crew pushed hard to the very end.

There will now be a break over the Christmas-New Year period before racing resumes with Race 1 of the Australian Championship on Sunday, 10 January.

Aussie 18 Footers League

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