The Triple M 18ft Skiff team of James Ward, Adam Gillson and Huon Oliver totally dominated race two of the Australian 18 Footers League Spring Championship, which was sailed in a light Easterly breeze on Sydney Harbour today.
Ward and his team were prominent from the start and took the lead at the first set of windward marks after a battle for supremecy with Smeg (Lee Knapton) and The Kitchen Maker (Stephen Quigley) shortly after the start.
Triple M soon raced away to a clear lead on the first spinnaker run and only John Winning, Cameron McDonald and Michael Kennedy on Yandoo looked likely to be able to put pressure on the runaway leader.
At the end of the first lap of the course, Triple M led Yandoo by 1m30s and had the same lead at the conclusion of the following lap.
The team on the leader were faultless omn the final lap and went on to score a 2m2s victory over Yandoo.
While the two leaders were rarely challenged for their positions throughout the entire race, the battle for the minor placings was quite the opposite.
Finport Trade Finance (Keagan York, Scott Babbage, Kurt Warner) fought back strongly after being placed ninth at the end of the first lap and finish third, 2m36s behind Yandoo, and narrowly ahead of Aron Everett’s Quality Marine Clothing, Panasonic Lumix (Jordan Girdis) and Coopers-Rag and Famish Hotel (Bryce Edwards).
James Ward and his team were disappointed last week when they were forced out of the race with a torn mainsail while in a battle with Smeg for third place.
Before today’s race Ward was quietly confident about the team’s chances and his confidence was well founded.
Several of the new and young teams impressed again and last week’s winning Panasonic Lumix, on six points, holds a one point lead over Yandoo and Finport Trade Finance in the seven-race championship.
Another young team on Coopers-Rag & Famish Hotel is next on eight points, followed by Smeg on 13, Quality Marine Clothing on 15, and ILVE (Oliver Hartas) on 16.
Today’s light conditions on Sydney Harbour test the fitness of all teams as they come to grips with the tricky winds at the Rose Bay end of the course.
Race three of the Spring Championship will be sailed next Sunday, 22 October. The Australian 18 Footers League’s Spectator Ferry will follow all the action, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf at 2.15pm.
by Frank Quealey