After the fourth heat of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Trophy in Sydney, the British RMW Marine team has extended its lead

With a southerly change forecast for today’s racing at the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Trophy in Sydney, the weather was still undecided half an hour before the start. A good north-easterly in the morning had faded, and it seemed likely that a very light wind race was in prospect, with the possibility of a southerly gale before the afternoon was out. In the event, the north easter re-established itself at about 10-12 knots, giving reasonable conditions for this heat that could be very significant in the outcome of the championship.

Howie Hamlin and the US team on General Electric made another good start, and sailed an immaculate first leg taking maximum advantage from the stronger winds off the headlands. Other boats in the leading group were Flawless, Sunday Telegraph, Total Recall, Express Post and Casio Seapathfinder.

Rob Greenhalgh on RMW Marine had made a conservative start, but then sailed superbly to move through to second place behind General Electric. On the final windward leg, RMW Marine had closed to within a 100 metres and it seemed likely that General Electric was about to lose the lead, but Howie Hamlin judged his approach to the windward mark across the ebb to absolute perfection and extended his advantage to over a 100 metres. RMW Marine, as usual, was very fast downwind, but General Electric held on to win by 15 seconds.

The consistent Total Recall skippered by Tony Hannan finished third, ahead of Hugh Stodart on Express Post and Michael Coxon on Casio Seapathfinder.

An hour after the finish of the race, the forecasted southerly gale came through, and winds to 60 knots were recorded around Sydney.

The championship is going very much according to plan for RMW Marine, and their points lead becomes a little more comfortable after each succeeding heat. Behind them, the battle is still very close.

Results (heat 4)

1. General Electric, Howard Hamlin, USA

2. RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh, GBR

3. Total Recall, Tony Hannan, AUS

4. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, AUS

5. Casio Seapathfinder, Michael Coxon, AUS

6. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas, AUS

7. Computer Associates, Jack Young, AUS

8. Flawless, Pablo Soldano, ITA

9. Rag & Famish Hotel, Warwick Rooklyn, AUS

10. Aristocrat, Gary Phillips, AUS

Other British

16. Ernst & Young, Jarrod Simpson

18. Base 1, Rob Dulson

19. Computacenter, Neale Fitzgerald

20. Radii, Andy Richards

22. Hermes, Ed Browne

23. Link Associates, Tim Penfold

25. Ovington Boats, Dave Ovington

27. Ronstan, Geoff Carveth

Positions after 4 heats (no discard)

1. RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh, GBR, 19 points

2. Total Recall, Tony Hannan, AUS, 29.4 points

3. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas, AUS, 33.7 points

4. General Electric, Howard Hamlin, USA, 34.7 points

5. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, AUS, 37 points

6. Aristocrat, Gary Phillips, AUS, 42 points