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Lazarus, one to watch in the 2024 18ft Skiff JJ Giltinan Championship

by Frank Quealey 28 Feb 06:59 GMT 1-10 March 2024

With the JJ Giltinan (world) 18ft Skiff Championship due to start on Sydney Harbour on Saturday (2 March), we have a good idea about the likely performances of many, or most, of the 27-boat fleet, but there is one team which we don't know how it may perform.

The boat is Lazarus, which is part of the Australian 18 Footers League fleet and races regularly on Sydney Harbour. So why is it one to watch for in the JJs, and why is it a 'mystery'?

Lazarus, sponsored by Lazarus Capital Partners, which offers asset management and corporate advisory services globally, is a competitive boat which will go into the 2024 JJs with an entirely new crew of very talented sailors with good 18ft skiff experience. The JJs will be the first time they have all sailed together in the 18s.

The crew is Tom Cunich (skipper), Marc Chapon (sheet) and Tim Morishima (bow).

Tom Cunich is having his fourth season as a skipper in the 18s after coming from the 49ers,

He took control of the Vintec skiff for the 2020-21 season and his rookie team finished 15th in the 2021 Giltinan Championship, with a best race placing of sixth.

Impressed by the performance, League administrators offered him the opportunity of a more competitive skiff for the 2021-22 season, and his team on Noakes Youth put in a very good performance to finish 15th. The team recorded three top-10 results with a best race placing of seventh.

The 2022-23 season was a little better, and the results in the JJs were good. The Noakes Youth team finished 12th overall while recording four top-10 placings and a best race result of 5th.

This will be the first JJs championship for Marc Chapon, but he is far from a rookie skiff sailor in either the 49ers class or the 18s. He has filled in on several 18s over the past two seasons and has recorded many good results.

Tim Morishima, who was born in Australia and educated at primary school in Osaka, Japan, is definitely not new to the high-speed skiffs or high-speed international racing in big boats.

He began sailing with his father at six and moved through the classes including 29ers and 49ers, prior to joining the 18 Footers League fleet as an 18-year-old in 2016-17. He sailed in the bow on Pedro Vozone's Haier Appliances skiff for a part of that season, before going on to become a member of Kaijin Team Japan, the Japanese Youth America's Cup team in 2017.

Following the Youth America's Cup campaign, Tim was back into the 18s for the 2017-18 Season, sailing in the bow with former Australian Cherub champion Kirk Mitchel and Daniel Barnett, who will be competitors in the rival Vaikobi at the 2024 JJs.

He sailed with the same team again in 2018-19 before moving on to Shaw and Partners Financial Services with James Dorron and Harry Bethwaite for the 2019-20 Season, in which the team finished as runner-up, behind Jack Macartney's Tech2 in the Australian Championship.

In 2019, Tim began SailGP Season 1 as a member of the Japanese shore team in Sydney, but after a successful trial, he joined the crew full-time, making his debut at San Francisco SailGP. He was voted 'most improved team member during the inaugural campaign and was part of the starting line-up as grinder/jib trimmer for Season 2.

Tim accepted the challenge to skipper an 18 in the 2020-21 season and the young team practiced regularly in the pre-season. Things were on track for the trio until Alex Chittende dislocated a shoulder in the week leading up to the first race, which was a massive blow to the new team, forced to race each week with a variety of replacement sheet hands. The team never really recovered against the might of the League's fleet.

List of Entries for the 2024 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship:

  • Andoo (Aust) John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton
  • Finport Finance (Aust) Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Phil Marshall
  • Yandoo (Aust) John Winning, Fang Warren, Lewis Brake
  • Rag & Famish Hotel (Aust) Harry Price, Josh McKnight, Finn Rodowicz
  • Lazarus (Aust) Tom Cunich, Marc Chapon, Tim Morishima
  • Balmain (Aust) Henry Larkings, Fynn Sprott, Flynn Twomey
  • Black Knight (Germany) Heinrich Von Bayern, Thomas Martin, Andy Martin
  • ASCC (NZ) Eli Liefting, Adam Mustill, Josh Schon
  • Shaw & Partners Financial Services (Aust) Emma Rankin, Cam McDonald, Tom Quigley
  • Vaikobi (Aust) Kirk Mitchell, Andrew Stephenson, Daniel Barnett
  • Big Foot Bags and Covers (Aust-Q) Dave Hayter, Ben Roxburgh, Elliott Mahar
  • Fisher & Paykel (Aust) Jordan Girdis, Josh Feldmann, Jacob Broome
  • The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Aust) Jacob Marks, Alex Marinelli, Matt Doyle
  • Burrawang-Young Henrys (Aust) Simon Nearn, Cam Walker, Paddy Bannon
  • Marine Outlet (Aust) John Cooley, Cam Gundy, Charlie Gundy
  • Smeg (Aust) Nathan McNamara, Jed Cruikshank, Jack Taylor
  • Sixt (Aust) Nathan Edwards, Alex Leslie, Locky Pryor
  • C-tech (Aust-Q) Josh Sloman, George Morton, Angus Barker
  • The Kitchen Maker (Aust) Lachlan Steel, Jerome Watts, Ben Kirkby
  • Noakes (Aust) Bec Hancock, Lindsay Stead, Brandon Buyink
  • 18 Footers Bar and Restaurant (Aust) Hugo Stoner, Hugo Leeming, Hamish Vass
  • ASCC 2 (NZ) Craig Keenan, Sam Richardson, Gavin Ninnes
  • RAYC (NZ) Jack Frewin, Ollie Gilmour, Luc Gladwell
  • UK91 (UK) Luke Goble, Simon Toplak, Max Seydl
  • Bloody Dane (Denmark) Jesper Brondum, Tobias Hemdorf, Sebastian Byrsting
  • Hoefle Haus (Germany) Holger Hoefle, Camillo De Naris, Felix Gruse
  • Team Vic (Aust-Victoria) Scott Cunningham, Brody Riley, David Cunningham

Race dates are:

Friday - March 1, 2024 - Invitation Race
Saturday - March 2, 2024 - Race 1, George Calligeros Trophy
Sunday - March 3, 2024 - Race 2, Cliff Monkhouse Memorial Trophy
Tuesday - March 5, 2024 - Races 3 & 3, Alan Cole Memorial Trophy
Wednesday March 6, 2024 - Races 5 & 6, A.J. Reynolds Trophy
Thursday - March 7, 2024 - Race 7, Bill Miller Memorial Trophy
Saturday - March 9, 2024 - Race 8, Big Kite Memorial Trophy
Sunday - March 10, 2024 - Race 9, Ribbon and J.J. Giltinan Trophy

Racing on each day will start at 2:45 (On multiple race days, the second race will be as soon as practical after the completion of the previous race)

The Australian 18 Footers League's spectator ferry will follow each of the nine races of the championship, but NOT the Invitation Race, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.15pm, and SailMedia will livestream all the racing.

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