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18ft Skiff Supercup on Sydney Harbour

by Frank Quealey 13 Dec 2019 10:44 GMT 13 December 2019
From left to right Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge, Mike McKensey in action on SMEG © Frank Quealey

The Australian 18 Footers League officials conducted the second 'Supercup' on Sydney harbour this evening when they invited eight former JJ Giltinan (world) champions as well as several other top names from the world of 18ft Skiff Racing to become guest skippers, for the day, of the club's 2019-2020 fleet.

Among the former JJ Giltinan (world) champions invited were Michael Coxon, Lee Knapton, David Witt, John Winning, Michael Spies, Seve Jarvin, and Phil Barnett. Other well known former 18ft Skiff competitors, and top class sailors, including Chris Nicholson, Adrienne Cahalan, Anthony Scali, Adam Beashel, Emmett Lazich, Andrew Divola and Olivia Price were also invited to take the tiller.

Unlike the original 'Supercup' series in 2018, this evening's short course races were sailed in clear skies and a 10 knot ENE. breeze.

Lee Knapton showed that he had lost none of his 18ft Skiff racing skills, when he teamed with Ricky Bridge and Trent Barnabas. to bring Smeg home the overall winner with placings of 1, 3, and 4.

Race 1 had Smeg leading the first leg followed around the top mark by The Oak Double Bay (MIchael Coxon), tech2 (David Witt), Shaw & Partners (Chris Nicholson), Finport Finance (Andrew Divola), AppliancesOnline (Adam Beashel), Noakes Blue (Olivia Price), Rag&Famish Hotel (Dave O'Connor), theKitchenMaker (Jordan Girdis), Dal Zotto (Michael Spies), Birkenhead Point Marina (Anthony Scali), Yandoo (John Winning Snr), RMarine Pittwater (Adrienne Cahalan). Smeg led easily on the second leg with no change in the top 3 as they passed through the gate. Knapton showed the fleet the way to the top mark a second time with a substantial lead with Shaw & Partners edging through before tech2, with AOL and Finport swapping places. Smeg ran home ahead of The Oak Double Bay in second then Shaw & Partners doing battle with tech2 but holding their placing.

Race 2 saw Smeg start well again and Rag & Famish Hotel and Tech2 looking to challenge. At the top mark roundings were in order The Oak Double Bay, Rag & Famish Hotel, tech2, AppliancesOnline, Finport Finance, Shaw & Partners, Yandoo, Smeg, Bird & Bear. the Kitchen Maker, Noakes Blue, Birkenhead Point Marina , Vintec and Dalzotto. Finport Finance fought well to cross the finish line first followed by The Oak Double Bay, Yandoo, Smeg, Shaw & Partners, tech2 and Appliances Online. The rest of the fleet finished within good enough time for the race committee to hold a third sprint race.

After an initial general recall for race 3, the fleet lined up in a 6 knot breeze and a small tangle between the Kitchen Maker and tech2 with 30 seconds before the start. 3 skiffs were again deemed over - Finport Finance, Rag & famish and Birkenhead Point Marina. They elected to sail with the fleet to the end despite the black flag. Th fleet was hunting pressure on the first leg and at the top mark placings were Bird&Bear, Appliances Online, Noakes Blue, The Royal Oak Double Bay. Bird& Bear led the pack back down the track being chased by Appliances Online. Bird & Bear then took control of the race and crossed the line first in their very first day out on Sydney Harbour.

Overall results saw Lee Knapton win the series for Smeg in the very same boat that he won the 2016 JJ Giltinan Series with.

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