It was a game of snakes and ladders for the minor podium places today in race four of the 18 Footers Australian Championship in a 9-12knot ESE. Lee Knapton’s Smeg led at the top mark the first time but David Witt’s appliancesonline.com.au came through on the long reach from Shark Island to Robertson Point to take the lead.
From there they extended their lead and held on to it comfortably while Smeg and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon) battled it out for second. Never far behind was Asko Appliances (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Coopers 62 Rag & Famish (Jack Macartney).
After the first lap of the course, there was little change. But after the windward return, there was plenty of action at the front of the pack.
Coopers 62 Rag & Famish and Asko Appliances put the pressure on the race leaders and when appliancesonline.com.au got stuck during a tack at the top mark, they closed the gap. But Witt’s team was able to hang on to take the win after a long reach and work up to the finish line at Clark Island.
It was a photo finish between Asko Appliances and Coopers 62 Rag & Famish, which saw the red boat take second by one second.
After the race, Macartney was happy with their performance today and ahead of the JJ Giltinan.
“This is only our third time sailing together so it was like the beginning of the season for us,” he explained. “We made a few changes to the big rig this morning and it definitely felt better. It is a real joy sailing with Pete and Sharko, we are great mates and love sailing together.”
After race four, Smeg holds a narrow lead on seven points with appliancesonline.com.au one point behind in second and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in third on nine points. Asko Appliances is on 11 points in fourth with Yandoo on 13 points in fifth.
Results are provisional pending protest following today’s race.
The final race of the series, race five, will be sailed next Sunday, February 5. The regular spectator ferry will follow the racing. It will leave Double Bay Wharf at 2:15, tickets can be bought from reception.
WORDS: Kimberley Wilmot
PHOTOS: Michael Chittenden