Written by Frank Quealey
20 March 2023
Karly Zinga became the Australian 18 Footers League’s Queen of Sydney Harbour when she teamed with John Winning, Fang Warren and Josh Porebski on Yandoo to win the annual event on Sunday 19 March.
Yandoo’s crew grabbed the lead soon after the start and led for the entire course before crossing the finish line 20s ahead of Smeg (Michael Coxon, James Dorron, Tom Anderson and Nicole Mensforth) with The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines (Ryan Ewings, Matt Doyle, Dave Ewings and Caitlin Hartnett) finishing a further 27s back in third place.
Balmain Slake (Henry Larkings) finished in fourth place, ahead of Finport Finance (Keagan York), Lazarus (Ash Rooklyn), Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn), Birkenhead Point Marina (Kirk Mitchell), Rag & Famish Hotel (Harry Price) and 18 Footers Bar & Restaurant (Pedro Vozone).
Sunday’s race was sailed in a 8-10-knot North East breeze over a three-lap windward-leeward course, using the 3-buoys handicap system.
The experienced Yandoo team soon had the skiff in the lead off Bradleys Head and led the fleet at the first set of weather marks, from Smeg, Lazarus and Finport Finance, all at the ‘white’ rounding mark.
The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines led the group at the ‘blue’ mark from Balmain and Burrawang-Young Henrys.
At the bottom mark to end the first lap of the course, Yandoo had built up a lead of 35s from Smeg, Balmain, The Oak, Lazarus and Burrawang-Young Henrys.
With three of the leading group in contention for the Season Point Score, positions were critical as the fleet completed the next lap of the course.
Yandoo continued to increase her lead on the beat to the second set of weather marks where she led Smeg by 40s.
While Yandoo continued to hold the 40s lead over the next lap of the course, most interest centred on the race for the next six placings and the overall position for the Season Point Score.
Burrawang-Young Henrys held a six-points lead over The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines going into the day’s race and both teams were separated by four placings for most of the course so it was critical for the Burrawang-Young Henrys team to maintain close contact with The Oak, which was in fourth place until the final lap.
As the breeze faded in the closing stages of the race, The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines edged her way into third place but the Burrawang Young Henrys crew managed to finish in seventh place which was enough to give the team the coveted Season Point Score, which is the result of consistently good performances throughout the entire season.
Burrawang-Young Henrys (Simon Nearn, Warren Sare, Brandon Buyink) finished with a total of 120 points, followed by The Oak Double Bay-4 Pines on 122 and the winner Yandoo, on 126.
Sunday’s race was the final of the season. The Australian 18 Footers League’s 2023-24 season will commence in October and a spectator ferry will follow the racing as it has done for the past 88 years, leaving Double Bay Public Wharf, alongside the clubhouse at 2pm.