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18ft Skiffs back on Sydney Harbour this week

by Frank Quealey 7 Jan 06:26 GMT 10 January 2021

The 18ft Skiff fleet will be back on Sydney Harbour this Sunday when the Australian 18 Footers League will conduct the 4th race (Race 5) of the 2020-2021 NSW Championship.

The championship was originally scheduled to finish this week with Race 5 of the series, before extreme wind conditions forced the postponement of Race 2 on November 29.

The re-sail of Race 2 will now be sailed on January 17 to complete the championship.

Despite the need to re-schedule, due to weather conditions and a local COVID-19 'lockdown' in parts of Sydney, the Australian 18 Footer League officials have managed to continue regular racing on Sydney Harbour and complete the planned race schedule.

As League Commodore, Simon Nearn says, "It's been a challenging time, but the club's directors were determined to do everything possible to maintain the long tradition of the class and keep racing whenever possible. Our priority has been to adhere to the government guidelines as they change, and ensure the correct COVID protocols are in place to keep everyone safe."

"I'm proud to say we have a great team, as well as excellent, loyal sponsors, competitors and supporters."

With just two races still to be sailed in the 2020-2021 NSW Championship, current Australian champion tech2 (Jack Macartney) leads the fleet on two points, closely followed by the defending champion Winning Group (John Winning Jr.) on three points.

Also, strongly in contention are Finport Finance (Keagan York) on six points, followed by Smeg (Michael Coxon) and Andoo (Marcus Ashley-Jones) equal on seven, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines Aron Everett) on eight and Yandoo (John Winning) on ten points.

Early weather predictions for Sunday indicate a light Easterly wind which will add to the pressure on the leading teams, as light Easterly winds often create uncertain race conditions and some unusual results.

Following the regular mid-season break and the cancellation of the annual Sydney-Hobart Race, when many of the 18ft Skiff sailors compete in the blue water classic, all teams will be ready to go on Sunday when they restart their campaign towards the 2021 JJ Giltinan Championship in March.

Spectators can follow the racing on board the club's spectator ferry, however due to the COVID-19 policy, numbers are limited. It is essential to book online through the club's website

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