Australian Champions' Triumph Comes with Challenges Ahead
The Finport Finance team, reigning Australian 18ft skiff champions, clinched a notable victory in the first race of the Spring Championship last Sunday. However, their success puts them in a challenging spot for the upcoming races. As the series advances with its second race on Sydney Harbour next Sunday, they'll be facing a majority of the 17-boat fleet sailing from the maximum limit, as per the 3-buoys championship rules.
Launching from the scratch mark last Sunday, the trio - Keagan York (skipper), Matt Stenta (sheet), and Phil Marshall (bow) - carved their way through the competition, seizing the win in the final lap of the three-lap North-East course.
Remarkably, York's team will give maximum starts to ten out of their 16 rivals this coming Sunday. This includes allowing a three-minute head start to the 2023 JJ Giltinan World champions, the Andoo team led by John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin, and Sam Newton.
Ever since Keagan York acquired the hull from Van Munster Boats last December, Finport Finance's performance has been extraordinary. Despite a tight timeline to get ready for the 2022-23 major championships on Sydney Harbour, they clinched the Australian Championship title and finished a close second to Andoo in the 2023 JJs.
The winter months saw Keagan York, Matt Stenta, and Phil Marshall secure the Mark Foy Trophy, narrowly defeating the Australian Yandoo team in Lake Garda, Italy. The 14-race contest ended with both teams locked at 23 points. However, Finport Finance emerged victorious, thanks to a count back - they had seven wins to Yandoo's three wins and seven second-place finishes.
The previous Sunday's race yielded a similar outcome, with Finport Finance outpacing Yandoo by 37 seconds, even though Yandoo had dominated most of the race.
York is understandably enthusiastic about the team's accomplishments and optimistic about the rest of the season. He commends his team members, highlighting Phil's outstanding bowmanship and dedication to boat assembly. He mentioned, “We have a solid team dynamic on Finport. While we felt the absence of Angus Williams, having Matt Stenta onboard has been a significant advantage.”
The recent race showcased exhilarating highlights and fierce competition throughout the fleet, with an unpredictable ENE breeze over the harbour. Notable performances included debut skippers Emma Rankin and Nathan Edwards, as well as the young and talented Balmain team helmed by Henry Larkings.
The upcoming forecast indicates similar wind conditions for the next race, heightening the anticipation for tight fleet racing. The winner will earn the title of the 2023-24 Alf Beashel Memorial Trophy champion and will mark the second race for the coveted Season Point Score.
Scheduled to compete in the next race are teams such as Andoo, Balmain, Finport Finance, Fisher & Paykel, Yandoo, and many others.
In light of ongoing renovations at Double Bay Wharf, the Australian 18 Footers League has introduced an 'Alternative' Ferry. Spectators won't miss out, as a massive screen will broadcast the SailMedia Livestream at the 18 Footers Double Bay clubhouse, accompanied by special food and drink offers.
It’s an innovative way to kick off the 2023-24 season, and supporters of 18 footers are warmly invited to join at the clubhouse 'Alternative' Ferry.