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18ft Skiff Australian Championship at Sydney Harbour - Races 1 & 2

by Frank Quealey 28 Jan 07:59 GMT 28 January 2018

The first day's racing in the 2017-2018 Australian 18ft Skiff Championship was sailed on Sydney Harbour today in a 15-knots East-North-East wind and produced some close racing and a variety of placings in the 17-boat fleet.

In Race 1, Smeg (Michael Coxon, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey) cruised to a comfortable 18s win over Yandoo (John Winning Jr., Cam McDonald, Mike Kennedy) with Asko Appliances (James Dorron, Paul Montague, Trent Barnabas) just 2s further back in third place.

A capsize by Smeg during the lead up period to the start of Race 2 was disasterous to the first race winner when Smeg missed the start by several minutes.

After a strong finish in Race 1, the Asko Appliances team were quick to grab the lead in Race 2 and gave no other team a chance of victory as they powered to a massive 58s win over the short ENE course.

Yandoo backed up her first race runner-up placing with a similar result in Race 2 and shares the lead with Asko Appliances on four points after the first day's racing.

Smeg recovered from her horror start in Race 2 to finish that race in seventh place to be tied overall with (Brett Van Munster, Phil Marshall, Nick Hord) on eight points.

The young Rag & Famish Hotel team of Bryce Edwards, Jacob Broome, Rory Cox elected to sail with their smaller #2 rig and sailed brilliantly to grab third place in Race 2 for an overall total of 10 points, and fifth place on the leader board.

Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Cory Hamilton) are sixth overall on 11 points.

In Race 1 Appliancesonline won the start but Smeg's great windward leg saw the team take an 8s lead from Appliancesonline, The Kitchen Maker (Scott Babbage), Yandoo, Asko Appliances, Finport, Rag & Famish Hotel, Noakes Youth (Kirk Mitchell) and Triple M (James Ward).

Smeg extended her lead over the next two legs and headed for home with a 30s lead from Yandoo before going on to the 18s victory.

Asko Appliances came home very strongly in Race 1, and with Smeg out of contention, quickly established her supremecy to lead by 15s at the windward mark.

A faultless exhibition and great downwind boatspeed saw Asko race further away from the fleet before going on to her 58s win over the consistent Yandoo.

Races 3 & 4 of the Australian Championship will be sailed next Sunday, 4 February. The Australian 18 Footers League's Spectator Ferry will follow the race.

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