The 2023 Historic 18 Footer Australian Championship for the Galloping Ghost Trophy was conducted by the Sydney Flying Squadron (SFS) in conjunction with the Australian Historical Sailing Skiff Association (AHSSA), on Sydney Harbour over 3 races on 14, 21 January and 4 February.
Entries were down this year with just seven skiffs able to compete in all races.
The skiffs enjoyed a variety of conditions for the three races along with the usual challenge in managing the harbour courses, fortunately with no capsizes during this event. Reigning champion Yendys sailed by a very experienced crew had a very consistent series, excelling on the upwind legs, particularly in the last race under full size big rig in an erratic and puffy westerly.
Yendys finished the series on 4 pts (2 wins, 1 second) from The Mistake on 6 pts (1 win, 1 second and 1 third) then Alruth on 9 pts (1 second, 1 third and 1 fourth).
Race 1 was sailed in a fresh 17 – 20 kt NE breeze and run-out tide under no.3 rigs, where Yendys led for the first lap with The Mistake taking the lead at the bottom mark spinnaker drop where they sailed away in the freshening breeze on the final lap for a comfortable win from Yendys and Alruth. Race 2 was sailed in a moderate easterly breeze and run-in tide with Alruth the early leader for the first lap with Yendys moving into first place for the second lap to score the win from Alruth and The Mistake. Race 3 was sailed in a very challenging and at times erratic westerly and run-out tide where Yendys pulled-off a port hand start and was never headed, working the wind shifts to good effect to pull away on the upwind legs for a comfortable win from The Mistake and Britannia.
2023 Historical 18 Footer Australian Championship © Christophe Favreau
The Yendys team recruited Barry Watson to take the helm for this event ably supported by regular crew Russell Debney, Don Buckley, Andrew Buckland, Michael Van Stom, with the addition of Andrew Hay, while Diana Bridgford, Ann Prosser and Jack Tang each sailed one race.
The Sydney Flying Squadron is based at Careening Cove and conducts Historic 18 Footer skiff racing on Saturday afternoons from October to March. SFS Website, www.sydneyflyingsquadron.com.au.
|2||The Mistake||John Winning||1||3||2||6|
|5||Australia IV||Terry Stewart||6||4||5||15|
|8||Top Weight||John Tierney||10||9||10||29|
2023 Historical 18 Footer Australian Championship – photo © Christophe Favreau
by Bob Chapman