The first of six heats for the 18 foot Skiff Australian Championship, which are scheduled to take place on consecutive Sundays, was held on Sydney Harbour this afternoon (Sunday) under a grey sky with a southerly breeze averaging 15 knots.
Michael Coxon on 'Sunday Telegraph' led round the first windward mark , Beashel Buoy, and never seriously looked like being overtaken throughout the race.
As always in a southerly wind on the harbour, the critical factor factor was judgement of the best course to take on the tight spinnaker reaches, and, in particular, when to hoist and lower the spinnaker. In this respect, the decisions made on board 'Sunday Telegraph' were impeccable, while most other boats got things wrong at one time or another.
In the early stages, John Harris on 'Rag & Famish Hotel' appeared to be the most likely threat to 'Sunday Telegraph' but it was not to be, and 'The Rag' was involved instead in skirmishes with 'Newport Arms Hotel' , skippered by Matt Felton, and Tony Hannan on 'Bell Partners'.
John Winning on 'd'Albora Marinas' made spectacular gains on the second lap to move into second position, but fell back again to fourth behind 'The Rag' and 'Bell Partners' before the finish.
This national championship assumes additional importance, as the final positions will count for the first time for points in the world ranking system that was introduced last year for 18 foot Skiffs.
Heat 1 Results:
1. 'Sunday Telegraph' Michael Coxon
2. 'Rag & Famish Hotel' John Harris
3. 'Bell Partners' Tony Hannan
4. 'd'Albora Marinas' John Winning
5. 'Express Post' Hugh Stodart
6. 'SP Sysytems-Team Alfa' Tim Webster
7. 'Avaya Communication' Peter Morrison
8. 'Newport Arms Hotel' Matt Felton
9. 'Omega Smeg' Trevor Barnabas
10. 'Derwent Racing' Daniel Phillips