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Melges 2023 - Melges 15 LEADERBOARD

18ft Skiffs: Legendary veteran vs. the 18 footer rookie

by Frank Quealey 25 Oct 2023 04:05 BST

Thirty nine season veteran, the legendary 18ft skiff skipper John 'Woody' Winning, and three-race rookie skipper, Jacob Marks are the two skippers leading their teams at the half-way mark of the 2023-24 Australian 18 Footers League's Spring Championship when the 17-boat fleet lines up for Race 4 of the series on Sydney Harbour next Sunday.

'Woody' will be at the helm of Yandoo while Jacob will lead The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines.

It will be the second consecutive week when Winning has shared the lead with a skipper who has had only a couple of races in the 18s. Last week Emma Rankin (Shaw and Partners Financial Services), had competed in only two races while sharing the lead in the series.

Asked about the unusual situation, 'Woody' was impressed and optimistic "It's terrific that we are getting such talented newcomers into the class and I couldn't be happier."

"Like any club, in any sport, the League administration is conscious of the need to introduce new talent into its ranks to secure its future."

He added, "We are fortunate to have so much young talent in our fleet and my team (Fang Warren and Josh Porebski) knows that we will have to stay at our best if we want to retain our position at the top of the points table."

While Jacob and the Oak Double Bay-4 Pines team of Alex Marinelli and Matt Doyle are giving away a big advantage in experience to the Yandoo crew, they are confident in their teamwork under pressure and are looking forward to the challenge in Sunday's race.

It's not too surprising that Jacob has taken so quickly to the demanding 18ft skiffs.

Just three months ago, he teamed with Ben Crafoord to win five of the seven races, and overall winner of the 2023 International 29er Q Series at Weymouth UK, then followed this with seventh place in the gold fleet at the worlds, which followed the Q series.

Wind conditions didn't suit the team but the boys still managed a podium finish in one of the races.

Conditions over the first three weeks of the Spring Championship have been consistently light and things could change if stronger winds face the fleet on Sunday.

Only four points separate the leading six teams and only two points separate the next six teams.

Progress points, after the first two races of the six-race Spring Championship are:

16 - The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines, Yandoo
18 - Fisher & Paykel, Smeg
19 - Balmain
20 - Shaw and Partners Financial Services
26 - Marine Outlet
27 - Sixt, Burrawang-Young Henrys
28 - Finport Finance, The Kitchen Maker, Lazarus
30 - 18 Footers Bar and Restaurant
33 - Andoo
44 - Your Name Here
45 - Noakes Red
46 - Rag & Famish Hotel

Don't forget, you can join the Australian 18 Footers League's 'Alternative Ferry in the League's clubhouse and enjoy all the racing action LIVE on the massive screen broadcasting the SailMedia Livestream camera cat coverage of the racing, and there will be special drinks and food offers for those attending who wish to support their favourite team.

It's a really unique way to celebrate the great racing we have seen at the start of the 2023-24 season and all 18 footer supporters are welcome to come down to the clubhouse 'Alternative' Ferry.

If you can't get out onto Sydney Harbour to see the action-packed racing, or come to the club's 'Alternative' Ferry', you can catch it LIVE by going to the direct link here.

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