The Australians fought back after previous domination by the New Zealand teams when Finport Trade Finance took out Race 3 of the Winning Group JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Angus Williams) had a race-long dual with the winners of the two earlier races in the championship (Maersk Line and Honda Marine) before crossing the finish line an 18s winner.
Honda Marine (Dave McDiarmid, Matt Steven, Brad Collins) finished second, just 4s ahead of third placed Maersk Line (Josh Porebski, Jack Simpson, Dave Hazard).
Although finishing behind Finport today, the two New Zealand teams share the lead with a total of seven points, followed by Finport on 12 points.
Harken, of the USA, (Riley Gibbs) finished fourth today and is also in fourth place overall on 19 points. Two more New Zealand teams, Knight Frank (Riley Dean) and C-Tech (Alex Vallings) round out the top six overall on 20 and 25 points respectively.
Once again, the strong Southerly wind gave all teams some great rides but was also responsible for some capsizes during the first half of the race.
Finport Trade Finance and Knight Frank won the start narrowly, but it was the Finport team that held the lead at the windward mark off Clark Island.
There was nothing between Finport and Maersk Line as the two skiffs raced side by side (without spinnakers) on the downwind run to Obelisk, with the young Vintec (Kirk Mitchell) team in third place, ahead of Honda Marine, Knight Frank and C-Tech.
Over the next lap of the course, the positions at the head of the fleet changed a few times but there was never much difference between the leading three teams.
Honda Marine had narrowly trailed Finport and Maersk Line for three legs of the course before grabbing the lead after a brilliant spinnaker run from Clark Island to Obelisk.
The Honda Marine lead was short-lived as Finport Trade Finance came back on the work into the Rose Bay mark where she led Honda Marine by 8s.
Young Riley Gibbs and his team made great time on the leg and managed to get into third place, just ahead of Maersk Line.
The bear-away by the Finport team was executed brilliantly and the local team managed to extend their lead, which they had little difficulty holding over the final two legs of the course.
It was a great credit to all teams as 23 of the 24 starters managed to complete the course.
The only non-finisher was Triple M which lost a crewman just before the race and had to substitute a last minute replacement, then had a collision only a few seconds after the start.
by Frank Quealey