The skill of three of the most experienced 18ft Skiff sailors was on show today as John “Woody” Winning, Andrew Hay and Dave Gibson tamed the 25-knot Southerly wind to bring Yandoo home a winner of the Alice Burton Memorial Trophy race on Sydney Harbour.
As the wind battered the fleet, Yandoo was one of the few teams to negotiate the course without capsizing at least once.
The official winning margin was 4m30s from another highly skilled team of Brett Van Munster, Paul Williams and Shaun Moran on Kenwood-Rabbitohs.
Third place went to Lumix, with Trevor Barnabas, Tim Webster and Greg Dixon on board, a further 40s away.
The wind was close to the maximum strength the skiffs could habndle and it wasn’t surprising that there were some capsizes before the start.
Once away, the race to the windward mark (first set of three-buoys) at Clarke Island was extremely close.
Taking advantage of the ‘handicapping’ of the marks, De’longhi-Rabbitohs (Matt Searle) grabbed a narrow lead from Pure Blonde (Tom Clout) while Yandoo was first to the blue buoy.
Spectators were treated to an awesome display by the flying 18s as they powered down the spinnaker run from Clarke Island to Obelisk Bay.
De’longhi-Rabbitohs and Pure Blonde exchanged the lead in a thrilling exhibition before Pure Blonde capsized.
Matt Wark, Pure Blonde’s for’ard hand, broke his finger in the capsize forcing the skiff to retire.
Yandoo grabbed the lead on the beat back from Obelisk into Rose Bay and continued to head the pack until Lumix took over after rounding the Clarke Island (3-buoys) mark.
Lumix capsized near Obelisk Bay and this time Yandoo opened up a big break and was set for victory.
Kenwood-Rabbitohs took advantage of the Lumix capsize to go into second place and for the final three legs of the course these positions remained unchanged.
Backmarker, Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) came back strongly after an early swim to finish fourth ahead of The Kitchen Maker, skippered by James Francis.
Andrew Chapman’s Fisher & Paykel went out with a 4-person crew, which included 29er sailor Jessica Hansen, and managed to get around the course in sixth place, ahead of De’longhi-Rabbitohs.
More images will be published on www.18footers.com.au and www.flying18s.com
Video coverage of the race can also be seen on www.18footerstv.com