The 25 boats competing for the JJ Giltinan Trophy in Sydney re preparing for the final two races of the championship at the weekend
After five of the scheduled seven heats, the 25 Super Skiffs competing for the JJ Giltinan Trophy are taking their second lay day and contemplating the final two races, which will be sailed tomorrow and Sunday.
With no boat having at this point established a commanding lead, whether the points scores are looked at as they stand counting all five heats or assuming a discard, it can truly be said that the championship will be won (and, by the same token, lost) over the weekend.
This situation sets the stage for an exciting finale, with the champion most likely to come from one of four boats – ‘Rag & Famish Hotel’ (skippered by the defending title holder John Harris), ‘General Electric-US Challenge’ (Howard Hamlin), ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ (Matt Felton) or ‘Derwent Racing’ (Daniel Phillips). That is how they lie after five heats without a discard.
If a discard is assumed (which is sometimes, but by no means always, a good guide with two heats still to be sailed) Daniel Phillips holds a 1.3 point advantage over Howie Hamlin, with John Harris another point behind, but Matt Felton is then a further 13.4 points adrift due to the fact that he has been consistently among the top six boats, but is the only contender not to have won a race (which the scoring system rewards).
Although Dan Phillips leads after a discard, he was disqualified in Heat 1, and therefore cannot afford another low position. Howie Hamlin has 2 firsts and a second in his total, but also an eleventh and a twelfth, so he would also probably fade from contention if he had another bad race. And so it goes on.