The JJ Giltinan international championship in Sydney will go down to the wire in the final heat tomorrow

The JJ Giltinan international championship will go down to the wire in the final heat tomorrow, after the four leading boats in the series packed the first four positions of Heat 6 in a southerly breeze gusting to over 20 knots on Sydney Harbour this afternoon (Saturday).

Two of the contenders, John Harris on ‘Rag & Famish’ and Matt Felton on ‘Newport Arms Hotel’, got away to excellent starts and this pair streaked away from the remainder of the 25 boat fleet.

‘Newport Arms Hotel’ took the upper hand in the early stages, and established a long lead, but ‘The Rag’ set about reeling them in and got within six seconds of them at the finishing line.

Daniel Phillips on ‘Derwent Racing’ did well initially on the first windward leg, then lost quite a lot of ground, but finally finished in a comfortable third place.

Howie Hamlin and his team made things difficult for themselves by starting in the second rank, and then had to watch their main adversaries disappear into the distance, but they battled hard and gradually made it to fourth position to keep themselves in the hunt in the final heat.

So, counting all six heats sailed so far, ‘The Rag’ leads ‘General Electric-US Challenge’ by 7 points, with ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ a further 2.4 behind and ‘Derwent Racing’ (still carrying a disqualification) another 9 points behind them.

Taking the discards into account, the situation is much closer, with ‘The Rag’ only 0.7 ahead of ‘Derwent Racing’, who are 3.3 ahead of ‘General Electric-US Challenge’. Despite winning today’s heat, ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ is probably just a bit too far away from the other three to be a serious threat.

Tomorrow, then, will see a straight fight between ‘The Rag’ and ‘Derwent’, while ‘GE-US Challenge’ will need a boat or two between themselves and their opposition if they are to win.

Results of Heat 6

1. ‘Newprot Arms Hotel’ Matt Felton, AUS 2. ‘Rag & Famish Hotel’ John Harris, AUS 3. ‘Derwent Racing’ Daniel Phillips, AUS 4. ‘General Electric-US Challenge’ Howard Hamlin, USA 5. ‘d’Albora Marinas’ John Winnig, AUS 6. ‘Express Post’ Hugh Stodart, AUS 7. ‘ Bell Partners’ Tony Hannan, AUS 8. ‘Sunday Telegraph’ Michael Coxon, AUS 9. ‘Omega Smeg’ Trevor Barnabas, AUS 10. ‘Computer Associates’ Alistair Saunders, AUS

Points after 6 Heats, no discard

1. ‘ Rag & Famish Hotel’ 39 points

2. ‘General Electric-US Challenge’ 46 points

3. ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ 48.4 points

4. ‘Derwent Racing’ 57.4 points

5. ‘Express Post’ 73.1 points

6. ‘Sunday Telegraph’ 76 points

7. ‘d’Albora Marinas’ 87.2 points

8. ‘Great Britain’ 88.4 points

9. ‘Omega Smeg’ 88.8 points

10. ‘Avaya Communication’ 105.7 points