The Australian 18 Footers League took a step back into history on Sydney Harbour today when it staged a non-point score Sponsors’ Race, with each competing skiff carrying a fourth hand representative of the boat’s sponsor, and used the original Mark Foy handicap system where boats started individually on their designated handicap instead of the usual fleet starting as a group and being ‘handicapped’ throughout the race.
The race was sailed in a light easterly breeze which never got above 10knots and the first boat to cross the start line today (off a 10mins handicap), under the Mark Foy system, was also the first boat to cross the finish line after leading all the way on a gloomy, overcast harbour.
It was an excellent performance by the winning 18 Footers Bar & Restaurant team and gave all crew members, Hugo Stoner (skipper), Hugo Leeming and Hamish Vass, their first 18 footer victory since joining the fleet three seasons ago.
Joined in the boat for the day was Australian 18 Footers League CEO, Warren Sare, the team grabbed a big early lead and increased the margin continually throughout the course before scoring an impressive 4m11s victory.
While the race lacked the close fleet racing and lead changing we see regularly in the 3-buoys racing format, the race behind the winner amongst the next three boats, which all started off a 6mins. handicap, produced a good battle behind the winner.
Marine Outlet (Micah Lane, Cam Gundy, Charlie Gundy) finished in second place, 30s ahead of The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Jacob Marks, Alex Marinelli, Matt Doyle), with last week’s winner Smeg (Nathan McNamara) another 29s back in fourth place.