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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Change in intensity for the 18s

by Frank Quealey 8 Feb 06:08 GMT 3 February 2023

In the midst of the lead up to the 73rd JJ Giltinan World 18ft Skiff Championship next month, the Australian 18 Footers League staged a three-race short-course series last Friday evening on Sydney Harbour, which featured former 18 footer skippers sailing boats from the current fleet.

The 'Supercup' series of races, sponsored by Balmain Private, was sailed in an 8-12 knot South East breeze and resulted in a victory for 2005-06 Australian 18ft Skiff champion Hugh Stodart, and his Balmain Slake team of Miles Davey and Flynn Twomey.

Balmain Slake won the first two of the three races, and finished third in Race 3, to finish with a total of five points overall.

Second place in the series went to Smeg, skippered for the day by 1985 Sydney-Hobart line honours winner, and NSW 18ft skiff champion in the 1990s, Warwick Rooklyn.

Rooklyn had Smeg's regular team of Ricky Bridge and Tom Anderson with him on the skiff which finished with a total of 12 points from the three races.

Third place overall went to Rag & Famish Hotel, which had 2001 Giltinan world champion John Harris in charge. It was a blast-from-the-past for Harris, who was sponsored by Rag & Famish Hotel when he won the world's greatest 18 footer trophy.

Harris's team included the skiff's usual skipper Harry Price and Josh McKnight.

A win in Race 3 for 'The Rag' team was enough to give it third place on a count back, with a final total of 14 points, over the present Giltinan world champion skiff, Andoo, skippered by young Joel Beashel.

2018-19 Australian 18ft Skiff champion James Dorron finished fifth on Lazarus, with a total of 18 points, ahead of Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page, skippering Shaw and Partners Financial Services, on twenty points, in sixth place.

Other 'guest' skippers in the fleet included twice Giltinan world champion Michael Spies (The Kitchen Maker-Caesarstone), twice Australian 18ft skiff champion Jack Macartney (Birkenhead Point Marina), Olympic gold medallist Tom Burton (Finport Finance), as well as other leading 18 footer skippers Nick Press (Noakes Blue), Gary Phillips (Fisher & Paykel), Andrew Cuddihy (Burrawang-Young Henrys) and Michael Carter (Marine Outlet) from the past.

Friday's victorious skipper, Hugh Stodart was delighted with the win and had nothing but praise for everyone concerned with the event.

"Firstly, I was lucky to team with such talented young sailors as Miles and Flynn in a great new skiff, which just happened to be sponsored by the event sponsor."

"I really enjoyed the whole experience. Most of the guest skippers came from the same era as I did, and the atmosphere at the League was great."

"I'm so thankful to the club, the Balmain Slake team, and the boat's sponsor, for the opportunity to sail such a great skiff so close to the major championship next month."

Each boat's regular skipper was back on board again last Sunday when the fleet resumed its charge towards the Giltinan World Championship, which will be sailed on Sydney Harbour from March 4-12.

Sunday's race was a great boost for the Rag & Famish Hotel team, which won the start and led all the way for a 45s victory over Smeg and an 18-boat fleet.

It's been a lean time recently for the talented Rag & Famish Hotel team, but Sunday's win and the recent Australian Championship victory by Finport Finance has added another dimension to next month's championship

With just two more races to be sailed prior to lining up for the 'worlds', Sunday's race becomes even more important than being another race for the Australian 18 Footers League Club Championship.

Images by Michael Chittenden, along with drone images from the Sail Media livestream video coverage of 18 footer racing, are attached.

Spectators can follow the action on board the club's spectator ferry, as they have done for the past 87 years, which leaves Double Bay Wharf alongside the clubhouse at 2pm.

Booking online through the club's website is essential,

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