Rob Greenhalgh and team have extended their lead at the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Trophy in Sydney

It was a big day today in Sydney Harbour. Twenty five knots of north easterly breeze gave the heavy weather experts an opportunity to put their skills to good use, but gave the rest such a hard time that only half the fleet completed the course. Number two rigs were the almost unanimous choice, the exception being the Italians on Flawless, who very soon realised their error.

The large fleet charged away at high speed from the start near Clark Island, and it was the defending champion Howie Hamlin from the USA who smashed his way to a good lead. However, on the downwind leg the General Electric team were the first leaders to succumb to a capsize, and Rob Greenhalgh then took up the running on RMW Marine. The British team rapidly opened up a good advantage, and were looking rock steady until they too took a tumble.

Next to hit the front was Trevor Barnabas on Omega Smeg, who also looked impregnable until he and his team mates joined the swimmers. At the incredibly high speeds the Skiffs were travelling, it took only the slightest mistake to bring about disaster, allowing the next in line to go streaking past. Aristocrat skippered by Gary Phillips now became the fourth leader, with the difference this time that he, Dave Gibson and Michael Shane kept it up to the finishing line, but only by the merest whisker from RMW Marine which was charging up at a very fast rate.

Tony Hannan brought Total Recall home in third position, with Omega Smeg recovering to fourth and General Electric taking fifth. It was breathless stuff, with thrills and spills being the order of the day to such an extent that Aristocrat was the only Skiff not to have taken a tumble.

Rob Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Peter Greenhalgh retain the leading team’s orange jerseys, and now hold a six-point margin over Trevor Barnabas, his son Trent and Daniel Phillips. The consistent Total Recall team of Tony Hannan, Cameron McDonald and Greg Windust are only 1.7 points further behind.

Heat 3 results

1. Aristocrat, Gary Phillips, AUS

2. RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh, GBR

3. Total Recall, Tony Hannan, AUS

4. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas, AUS

5. General Electric, Howard Hamlin, USA

6. Computer Associates, Jack Young, AUS

7. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, AUS

8. Churchill’s Sports Bar, Ben Austin, AUS

9. Link Associates, Tim Penfold, GBR

10. Yandoo, John Winning, AUS

Other British finishers

12. Ovington Boats, Dave Ovington

14. Ronstan, Geoff Carveth

Points after 3 heats, no discard

1. RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh, GBR, 16 points

2. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas, AUS, 22 points

3. Total Recall, Tony Hannan, AUS, 23.7 points

4. Aristocrat, Gary Phillips, AUS, 26 points

5. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, AUS, 29 points

6. Computer Associates, Jack Young, 40.4 points