They went into the 2020 JJ Giltinan 18′ Skiff Championship on limited training and racing practice, but that didn’t stop Honda Marine team mates Dave McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins from giving it everything they had to take out their third title on Sydney Harbour. Pure class.
It was a very strange ending to what is normally a week long event which ends with a massive party and the winning mainsheet hand doing a run through the yacht club in a mankini then jumping into the water. Non of that took place due to the social distancing now in place, and even the JJ Giltinan trophy itself was forced to keep her distance.
But with attention to be focus on the winners, rather than the political discussion around the trophy itself, winner helmsman Dave said “It feels better and better every year [to win], we’re getting used to it!”
When asked if they wanted to see the JJ Giltinan raced in their home waters and at their club, Royal Akarana Yacht Race, Dave said “yeah absolutely, we’ve put our best foot forward and done the best we could possibly do. We’ve got another regatta coming up in New Zealand next year in 2021, the America’s Cup, and we want to align the regattas together.
“The JJ’s regatta is so important that it doesn’t matter what’s going on. This is the last regatta in the world that’s still happening!” laughed Dave.
The best 18′ skiff bowman in the world, Brad Collins said the feeling to win three JJ’s back to back was “awesome and amazing and so good.”
“I’m gutted my Mum and Dad couldn’t be here to watch but with the virus going on it’s best that they are home and I want to say thanks to them, and we will be home soon and after 14 days of quarantine I might see them!” said Brad.
Matt Steven, mainsheet hand on Honda Marine said that he had two weeks of fishing ahead of him, also due to being in self isolation for 14 days after returning to New Zealand.
In a double whammy for New Zealand, the youngsters on Maersk Line (Peron Pearse, Eli Liefting and Harry Clark), took out the overall handicap honours, meaning New Zealand was at the top of both leaderboards after nine races.
“It’s feels bloody great to have taken out the handicap win, and just goes to show that we are improving as a team,” said Peron.
“We’ve been sailing together now for two seasons and it’s encouraging to know we are on track for the next JJ’s, no matter where that might be, but hopefully in New Zealand,” continued Peron.
The prize giving for the JJ’s took place in the boat park at Double Bay, with the Kiwis then frantically packing up their boats, and boosting to the airport to get home.
However the trophy won’t be joining them and won’t be on display at Royal Akarana Yacht Club, as it was swiftly locked up after the prize giving.
On a side note, a massive pat on the back needs to go to the event organisers to pushing through and getting a full series. An unprecedented three races were raced on Tuesday, something that has never happened in the history of 18′ Skiff racing, backed up with two more days of two races a day. Bravo to all those involved, and a shout out to the team at AeroMedia for broadcasting the racing to the world.
Check out the full report from the final day of racing thanks to Frank Quealey.
Defending champion Honda Marine team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins took out the third consecutive JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship after another impressive performance in the final two races of the regatta on Sydney Harbour today.
Going into today’s final two races, Honda Marine held a four point lead over Winning Group and the scene was set for a spectacular finish between the two champion teams.
Conditions were perfect for the day’s racing on Sydney Harbour. A warm sunny day with a 10-15 knots North East wind, perfect for the teams to use their big #1 rigs.
Honda Marine, as she had done so often during the series, came from behind with brilliant boat speed to take out the first race (Race8) by 33s, which was enough to take the title before going into the final race (Race 9).
In Race 9, Winning Group led all the way to defeat Honda Marine by 22s, with Tech2 finally producing somewhere near her best form to finish in third place, a further 19s behind Honda Marine.
The final pointscores for the championship are: Honda Marine 14, Winning Group 18, Smeg (Micah Lane, Ricky Bridge, Peter Harris) 41, Shaw & Partners Financial Services (James Dorron, Harry Bethwaite, Tim Tim Westwood) 43, Tech2 (Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt, Trent Barnabas) 44, Finport Finance (Keagan York, Matt Stenta, Angus Williams) 61.
In the day’s first race, Winning Group, with a 4-times JJ winning crew of Seve Jarvin, Sam Newton and Scott Babbage, sailed a great race but couldn’t hold out against the speed of Honda Marine over the final lap of the two-lap course.
Noakesailing (Sean Langman, Nathan Edwards, Ed Powys) was 36s behind Winning Group in third place, followed by Bird & Bear (Tom Clout), URM (Marcus Ashley-Jones) and Australian champion Tech2 (Jack Macartney).
Determined to reverse the result of the earlier race, the Winning Group team were quick to get into a strong position ahead of Honda Group and, after trailing the early leader Shaw & Partners Financial Services, were 12s ahead of Finport Finance at the top mark, ahead of a tightly bunched group of Smeg, Shaw & Partners and Honda Marine.
Winning Group increased the margin to 30s at the bottom mark and this time were able to retain the lead over the final lap of the course to defeat Honda Marine by 22s, with Tech2 coming home ion third place, a further 19s behind Honda Marine.
Smeg finished in fourth place, ahead of Finport Finance and Shaw & Partners Financial Services. Smeg’s fourth place in Race 9 enabled the team to finish third overall in the championship, just two points ahead of Shaw & Partners.