A totally new crew on the 2015-2016 Gotta Love It 7 but the result was all too familiar in Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour today.
John Winning Jr., Nick Catley and Josh Porebski replaced the all-conquering 2014-2015 crew of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage but the new crew showed the class required to reproduce the brilliant performances of the former team.
Gotta Love It 7 grabbed the lead midway through the race to defeat Appliancesonline.com.au (David Witt, Tom Clout, Tom Anderson) by 1m8s and has taken the overall lead in the championship, on three points, with two more races still to be sailed.
Smeg (Lee Knapton, Mike McKensey, Ricky Bridge) finished third a further 39s behind Appliancesonline.com.au and shares second place on the points table with defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) on six points.
Compassmarkets.com (Keagan York) finished sixth today for a total of 10 points while Coopers 62-Rag and Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney) was fourth for a total of 11 points.
After an even start in the 20-knot Southerly wind in Athol Bay, Coopers 62-Rag and Famish Hotel led by 5s from The Kitchen Maker (Andrew Chapman) at the windward mark off Double Bay, with Compassmarkets and Gotta Love It close behind.
The flying machines treated spectators to a brilliant spectacle on the long spinnaker run to the bottom mark at Obelisk Bay, towards the Sydney Heads.
David Witt and his team handled the conditions superbly and grabbed a narrow lead from Gotta Love It 7 with The Rag relegated back to third position ahead of The Kitchen Maker and Smeg.
The two leaders continued to race almost side by side on the work back into the Rose Bay rounding mark with only 10-15s separating the pair.
Never one to die wondering, Witty and his team were quick to set their spinnaker while the Gotta Love It 7 team decided to wait and make sure they were clear of Bradleys Head.
Again, the spinnaker run produced some brilliant rides for the teams and exciting vision for spectators.
Michael Coxon and his Thurlow Fisher Lawyers crew almost collided with the spectator ferry as the skiff raced towards the Bradley headland then moments later almost capsized when the wind momentarily left them.
It was total speed when the crews showed their highly skilled ability as they threw everything into some great sailing.
A windshift on the following windward leg back fro Athol Bay to Clarke Island saw a major change come over the race.
Gotta Love It 7 gained one minute on the fleet and was 45s ahead of Appliancesonline.com.au as spinnakers were set for the start of the final lap.
There was still plenty of action and some great sailing by many crews but the result was never really in doubt from that point as the ‘7’ crew were faultless in the testing conditions.
Race 3 of the NSW Championship will be sailed next Sunday and the Australian 18 Footers League will have a Spectator Ferry, leaving Double Bay Wharf, alongside the clubhouse, at 2.00pm, following all the action.