2021 Historical 18 Footer Australian Championship
By Bob Chapman, Sydney Flying Squadron.
Main photo: Tangalooma and Top Weight crossing tacks in Race 1. Photo Bruce Kerridge.
The 2021 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 23, 30 January and 6 February.
Nine skiffs were on hand to contest this event. The absence of Irish sailing legend Harold Cudmore due to the COVID dilemma left a vacancy on the helm of Yendys that was ably filled by Josh Porebski from Wellington, New Zealand. Josh’s sailing credentials rate highly as a top level 49er and 18ft skiff sailor, having won 2 races in the 2019 J.J. Giltinan series as skipper of the NZ entry ASCC where he finished 4th overall.
Yendys finished the series on 4 pts (2 wins, 1 second) from The Mistake on 5 pts (2 seconds, 1 win) and Australia IV on 10 pts (third, fourth, third). Race 1 was sailed in a light 8-12 kt E/NE breeze and Race 2 in a 10-15 kt NE breeze, with Yendys’ superior upwind performance under big rig the stand-out feature as they went on to score consecutive wins by a substantial margin in each race. Porebski was ably assisted by the regular crew made up of Andrew Buckland, Don Buckley, Russell Debney, Pierre Joubien, Adrian Dunphy, Grant Wakefield and Wes Batty.
Runner-up, The Mistake sailed by John Winning, scored a win in the final race sailed in 14 -18 kt NE breeze, raced under intermediate rigs. Yendys appeared to be heading for another comfortable win and a clean-sweep for the series, but a less than ideal approach at the last windward mark allowed The Mistake to make up time, then with some astute downwind sailing, take the lead at the gybe mark and consolidate on the final run to the finish.
The Sydney Flying Squadron is based at Careening Cove and conducts Historic 18 Footer skiff racing on Saturday afternoons, with a spectator ferry available to follow the racing. Race participation is not limited to expert sailors, these boats can accommodate “extras” – you just need to be prepared to get involved, get wet and bring your sense of humour.
SFS Website: www.sydneyflyingsquadron.com.au