John Harris, Craig Ferris and Chris Cleary win Race 2 of NSW 18ft Skiff champs on Sydney Harbour 13/11/06

The 2001 Giltinan winning crew of John Harris, Craig Ferris and Chris Cleary were at their best yesterday when they piloted Rag & Famish Hotel to an easy victory in Race 2 of the Ssangyong Winning Appliances NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour.

Rag & Famish Hotel defeated Ssangyong Yandoo (John Winning) by 1min 24secs with AAPT (Sean Langman) a further 1min 6secs back in third place. Minor placings went to Fiat (Michael Coxon), which finished fourth, Club Marine (Trevor Barnabas – replacing Euan Mc Nicol) fifth and Omega Smeg (Daniel Phillips) sixth.

Rag & Famish leads the pointscore after the two races sailed to date with a score of 5 points, followed by Race 1 winner Club Marine on 6 and Fiat, also on 6 points.

The race began in a light NE breeze with all teams electing to sail with their No 1 rigs. Hugh Stodart sailed a great tactical first leg of the course when he decided to sail Asko Appliances to the left of the course. At the windward rounding mark Asko Appliances held a narrow lead from the young Gotta Love It 7 team led by Seve Jarvin, followed by Rag & Famish, Fiat, Ssangyong Yandoo, AAPT and Club Marine. Spinnaker problems saw Fiat drop off the pace. Asko maintained their advantage over Gotta Love It 7 on the downwind legs back to the start mark but the race took a dramatic turn shortly after.

Gotta Love It 7’s crew were forced to capsize their skiff to free a jammed halyard while Asko relinquished the lead after a poor mark rounding. Rag & Famish took over at this point from Ssangyong Yandoo and from then on was never in danger of defeat. Asko never recovered and fell back to come home in seventh place while Gotta Love It 7 lost all hope and only managed a disappointing 16th.

With an ounce of luck Jarvin and his crew will feature shortly in the major placings as they certainly have the boat speed to match it with the top contenders.

New skiff Active Air-2UE was having her first outing in ‘normal’ sailing conditions and showed some form while former Interdominion 12ft Skiff champions Nick Press and his rookie 18ft skiff crew (Pure Blonde) also showed more pace.

Race 3 of the five-race regatta will be sailed on the harbour next Sunday.