Competitors at the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff event in Sydney enjoyed close racing today in a fresh southerly breeze

After overnight storms, today’s heat on Sydney Harbour was held in a good number two rig southerly breeze of Force 4-5.

The result could not have been closer, with yesterday’s winners Howie Hamlin, Mike Martin and Rod Howell on General Electric getting the verdict by just one second, ahead of a dead heat between Trevor Barnabas, his son Trent and Matt Felton on Omega Smeg and Rob Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Peter Greenhalgh on RMW Marine.

Best away from the start were Base 1, Rag & Famish Hotel, Casio Seapathfinder, Computer Associates and General Electric. Michael Coxon took Casio Seapathfinder round the windward mark in first position, hoisted the spinnaker, and was away to a good lead. General Electric and Omega Smeg moved up gradually, and a close battle between them and Casio Seapathfinder ensued.

Once again RMW Marine had started conservatively, and took until the final lap to get get anywhere near the leading group. Having got the better of Casio Seapathfinder, they were at least 50 metres behind General Electric and Omega Smeg as they rounded the final leeward mark to begin the relatively short windward leg to the finish, and it seemed impossible that they could threaten the leading pair. However, they sailed the leg magnificently, and just before the line it looked as though they might even snatch the victory.

However, the Americans took it by the narrowest of margins from Omega Smeg and RMW Marine, inseparable in joint second place.

Casio Seapathfinder finished 38 seconds behind, with Tony Hannan on Total Recall fifth after recovering from a capsize on the starting line, and Jack Young showing good form on Computer Associates in sixth place.

The American team have come back strongly into contention for the championship after their second consecutive heat victory, but the British boys’ fifth consecutive second place on RMW Marine keeps them in the lead. Tomorrow’s lay day report will examine the situation taking the discard into account.

Results (heat 5)

1. General Electric, Howard Hamlin, USA

2= Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas, AUS

2= RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh, GBR

4. Casio Seapathfinder, Michael Coxon, AUS

5. Total Recall, Tony Hannan, AUS

6. Computer Associates, Jack Young, AUS

7. Express Post, Hugh Stodart, AUS

8. Rag & Famish Hotel, Warwick Rooklyn, AUS

9. Yandoo, John Winning, AUS

10. Avaya, Peter Morrison, AUS

Other British

15. Radii, Andy Richards

18. Ovington Boats, Dave Ovington

19. Base 1, Rob Dulson

21. Ronstan, Geoff Carveth

23. Hermes, Ed Browne

26. Computacenter, Neale Fitzgerald

Points after 5 heats, no discard

1. RMW Marine, Rob Greenhalgh GBR, 22 points

2. General Electric, Howard Hamlin USA, 34.7 points

3. Omega Smeg, Trevor Barnabas AUS, 36.7 points

4. Total Recall, Tony Hannan AUS, 39.4 points

5. Express Post, Hugh Stodart AUS, 50 points

6. Aristocrat, Gary Phillips AUS, 59 points