The Lumix team of Jonathan Whitty, James Hozak and Greg Dixon used good tactical sense to come from behind and win Race 2 of the N.S.W. 18FT Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
They took full advantage of a match race battle between Thurlow Fisher Lawyers and Gotta Love It 7, which took those two teams well away from their mark to score a convincing 2m51s victory over Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Aaron Links, Trent Barnabas).
Appliancesonline.com.au (Micah Lane, Tom Anderson, Dean Curtis) was a further 1m57s back in third place, ahead of Fisher & Paykel (Andrew Chapman), Mojo Wine (Archie Massey) and Yandoo (John Winning).
Kenwood-Rabbitohs (Brett Van Munster) was seventh, followed by Smeg (Trevor Barnabas) and Gotta Love It.
Wind conditions before the start were uncertain as the direction continually varied and the strength was more than predicted.
Finally all teams, with the exception of Fisher & Paykel, chose their smaller #2 rigs and the race began in a moderate WSW breeze over a 3-lap windward-return course between Rose Bay and Garden Island.
Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Fisher & Paykel, Smeg and Mojo Wine won the start at the favoured pin end of the line.
Typically with Westerly winds on Sydney Harbour, the breeze was uncertain and the fleet were quickly spread across the harbor on the first windward beat.
The Thurlow Fisher team were always near the lead throughout and led by one and a half minutes over the Panasonic-sponsored Lumix skiff as spinnakers were set for the return run back to end the first lap of the course.
Race favourite and defending champions Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage were in third place on Gotta Love It 7, followed by Mojo Wine, Appliancesonline, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs (Simon Nearn) and Smeg.
Thurlow Fisher retained her lead over Gotta Love It 7 and Lumix downwind, while Smeg had made up ground to be ahead of Mojo Wine, Appliancesonline, De’Longhi-Rabbitohs.
On the next windward beat, Thurlow Fisher went to the north while Gotta Love It 7 elected the southern side of the course.
The move was a winner for the ‘7’ crew as they crossed Thurlow Fisher when the two skiffs met.
In a surprising move, Gotta Love It 7 then went further north in Athol Bay and Thurlow Fisher regained the lead at the windward mark.
With little between the two leaders at the end of the second lap, a ‘match race-style’ battle developed between the pair in the fading breeze.
Whitty and his Lumix crew realized that their best chance of victory was to stay on the southern side of the course as Thurlow Fisher and Gotta Love It 7 sailed well into Athol Bay.
The move was a winner as Lumix sailed straight to the windward mark – opening up a lead of around 2½ minutes over a closely bunched fleet.
From that point, the race was all over for the victory but the placings behind Lumix were turned upside-down in the disappearing breeze.
With Race 1 being abandoned last Sunday, the series has been reduced to four races with all to count for total points.
Under the circumstances, Gotta Love It 7’s 9th placings has made their task of defending the title even more difficult.
Race 2 Highlights Video:
More images will appear on www.18footers.com.au and www.flying18s.com
Full video coverage of the race can also be seen on www.18footerstv.com
Race 3 of the N.S.W. Championship will be sailed next Sunday 4 December with the following two races on 11 December and 18 December.
The usual spectator ferry will follow every race, leaving Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse and rigging area, at 2.15pm.