There’s just two points between the top boats at the JJ Giltinan 18 foot Skiff International Championship in Sydney

A runaway win by Daniel Phillips on ‘Derwent Racing’ puts him into strong championship contention after he and his team mates Andrew Hay and Rod Howell showed the fleet the way round Sydney Harbour in glorious sunshine today (Thursday).

The wind was again from the south-east, but somewhat lighter than yesterday, and all the boats were using their Number 1 rigs. Almost immediately after the start ‘RMW Marine’, sailed by Rob Greenhalgh, suffered a broken jib track, which proved to be impossible to repair on the water and led to retirement.

‘Derwent Racing’ rounded the first windward mark with a lead which she was to hold throughout the race, although Tim Robinson on ‘Great Britain’ kept them on their toes during the early stages.

Eventually, defending champion John Harris brought ‘Rag & Famish Hotel’ up to second place, and ‘Great Britain’ just managed to hold off Michael Coxon on ‘Sunday Telegraph’, who had made considerable gains after being well down the order in the first half of the race.

Overall after 5 heats, ‘The Rag’ holds a two-point lead over Howie Hamlin’s ‘General Electric-US Challenge’ with Matt Felton’s ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ third and ‘Derwent Racing’ (which is carrying a disqualification from Heat 1) fourth.

However, when looked at assuming a discard, the order becomes ‘Derwent Racing’ in first place, followed by ‘General Electric-US Challenge’, ‘The Rag’, and then ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ and ‘Great Britain’ equal in fourth position.

Tomorrow is the second lay day, and the championship will then be fought out over Heats 6 and 7 on Saturday and Sunday.

Result of Heat 5

1. ‘Derwent Racing’ Daniel Phillips, AUS

2. ‘Rag & Famish Hotel’ John Harris, AUS

v 3. ‘Great Britain’ Tim Robinson, GBR

4. ‘Sunday Telegraph’ Michael Coxon, AUS

5. ‘Aristocrat’ Gary Phillips, AUS

6. ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ Matt Felton, AUS

7. ‘Omega Smeg’ Trevor Barnabas, AUS

8. ‘Express Post’ Hugh Stodart, AUS

9. ‘Avaya Communication’ Pietro Sibello, ITA

10. ‘Bell Partners, Tony Hannan, AUS

Points after 5 Heats (no discard)

1. ‘Rag & Famish Hotel’ 36 points

2. ‘General Electric-US Challenge’ 38 points

3. ‘Newport Arms Hotel’ 48.4 points

4. ‘Derwent Racing’ 51.7 points

5. ‘Express Post’ 61.4 points

6. ‘Sunday Telegraph’ 62 points

7. ‘Great Britain’ 76.4 points

8. ‘Omega Smeg’ 73.7 points

9. ‘d’Albora Marinas’ 78.4 points

10. ‘Aristocrat’ 84 points