Legendary 18 footer sailor and former JJ Giltinan world, Australian and NSW champion John ‘Woody’ Winning (Yandoo), along with Fang Warren and Josh Porebski, lowered the colours of the previously unbeaten Andoo, skippered by his son John ‘Herman’ Winning in a wonderful Race 3 of the 2022-23 NSW 18ft skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour last Sunday.

The battle between the two champion teams actually began the week before when the Andoo teams of John ‘Herman’ Winning, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton got the upper hand of a battle which saw the two teams racing with just a few seconds separating them for the first half of the course.

That day Andoo went on to win the 18-knot North East wind race by 2m48s.

On Sunday, with similar conditions on Sydney Harbour, the “70½”-year-old ‘Woody’ got bragging rights back from ‘Herman’ when his Yandoo team led for almost the entire course before going on to a 45s victory over Andoo.

The Australian 18 Footers League fleet now goes into a four weeks break (until January15) until the NSW Championship continues with the final two races.

Andoo leads the points table at the moment with a total of 4 points, followed by Yandoo on 9, Smeg (Michael Coxon) on 15, Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price) 19, Shaw and Partners Financial Services (Jim Colley) on 21, Fisher & Paykel (Jordan Girdis) 22, Birkenhead Point Marina (Kirk Mitchell) 23, Lazarus (Marcus Ashley-Jones) 26, Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn) 29 and Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings) on 30.

‘Woody’, who continues to prove that age is just a number on a piece of paper, the “70½”-year-old not only races and wins championship races in the modern 18s fleet each Sunday on Sydney Harbour he also skippers an Historical 18 (named The Mistake) each Saturday from the Sydney Flying Squadron.

When followers of the sport, those that know him and even his fellow competitors use words like “amazing”, “unbelievable” and “phenomenal” they don’t exaggerate.

When asked about Sunday’s victory, ‘Woody’ paid tribute to his team mates Fang Warren and Josh Porebski.  “I have a great crew and we have good boat speed.”

He added, “They drive me and tell me to get out on the wing (outrigger extension) because we need you.”

Two other positives came out of Sunday’s race.

The first full race performance of the brand new Balmain Slake hull for the 2017 and 2018 Australian 29er Australian champion Henry Larkings and his team of Miles Davey and Flynn Twomey.

Larkings, who also finished 3rd at the 2018 Youth World Championship at Corpus Christi, California, is having only his second season in the 18s and gave notice of his talents when his team finished fourth on Sunday, just 1m46s behind the Yandoo.

Also, after some very good performances over the past two months by a new team, put together by Cam Gundy and John Walton, the skiff has secured the sponsorship of Marine Outlet for future racing.

The NSW Championship continues (for two more races) on January 15, followed by the Australian Championship (January 25-29) and the JJ Giltinan World Championship, from March 4-12.

Frank Quealey
Australian 18 Footers League Ltd