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18 footers to start championships this weekend

by leigh maloney on 23 Nov 2000
The cream of Australia's Flying 18s will take to the water for the inaugural Computer Associates Australian Championships beginning on Sydney Harbour next Saturday.

Racing will be held each Saturday and Sunday 25/26 November, 2/3 December and 9/10 December from the Australian 18 Footers Sailing League at Double Bay. Racing commences at 4:00pm Saturdays and 2:30pm Sundays.

For the first time in a decade, skiffs from the Kirribilli-based Sydney Flying Squadron will join in the Saturday racing with their wings reduced from 17' to 14' and the same rig configuration of two headsails and two mains.

'It will be nice to see the two clubs sailing together again and embracing the one set of 18-footer rules as they have in the past,' said Tony Reynolds, Secretary of the Australian 18-footers League. 'The Australian 18-footers League has invested around A$1.5 million over the last two years to establish a quality 18-footer fleet as basically a one-design class.

We've developed a strong following for the competition throughout the world, with 70 of these boats sailing throughout Italy, USA, France, UK, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany. On Sydney Harbour, we provide a spectacle each week for the many sailing enthusiasts with a passion for 18' skiff racing.'

Set to become one of the most prestigious events on the 18-footer calendar, the Computer Associates Australian Championship is the key selection process for the up-coming J J Giltinan Trophy, recognised world-wide as the unofficial world championship of 18-footer skiff racing, held over 7 heats from 5-14 January 2001.

The top 15 placed Australian18-footer League skiffs from the Australian Championship will go on to represent Australia for the prized Giltinan Trophy, with the remainder of the fleet to be skippered by some of the world's most elite small boat sailors. Despite competing in some of the races of the Australian Championship, the Sydney Flying Squadron boats will be ineligible to qualify for the J J Giltinan world championship event as they do not meet the International League 18' hull design requirements.

Current Sydney Harbour Sprint Champion John Harris' Rag & Famish Hotel will go in as favourite for the Australian Championship title, with strong challenges expected from young guns Matt Felton on Microsoft, Hugh Stodart's Express Post and Malcolm Page's Bell Partners.

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