Gemmell Sails – 2012 Variety Port Jackson Sprint Champions

The actioned packed short race format of the Variety Port Jackson Championships was unanimously deemed a stunning success by all competitors, who were excited by the tight racing on the harbour and delighted to be doing it whilst raising awareness for Alopecia Areata. A sensational day was had by all fifteen skiffs and crew, enjoying the seemingly rare sunshine that beamed down on Sydney harbour.

Gemmell Sails (Murray Press & Ben Gemmell) started the day with high hopes for their new big rig- an investment that did not disappoint winning 3 of the 4 short races. Their speed and experience in the shifty big sail East North East breeze was enough to beat consistent performer Garde (Brett Hobson & Alex Johnson) who had 1 win and 3 podiums.

Race one was not a clean start with Variety a tad too keen jumping the gun by 1 second, having to return and restart. All other skiffs got away cleanly, with Gemmell Sails looking the goods straight off the start line, building a solid lead up the first work. Their top mark rounding was one of only a few blemishes on an otherwise faultless day. Garde extended her lead down the kite run, and left Gemmell to fend off Lincoln Crowne and Geotherm. Gemmell Sails displayed true speed up the next work, reeling Garde in before blasting past them on the final run. This was a great come from behind win separating the two by a few seconds. Lincoln Crowne picked up 3rd and Geotherm 4th.

This set the scene for the next race. Gemmell Sails had another flawless start and first work, leading at the first mark, this time with no mistake in their rounding. They were untouchable and went on to record another win. The minor placing’s were again close, with LCC coming home 2nd, Garde 3rd and Variety (Adam Forbes and Richie Johns) in 4th.

There were some changes in the order of things for race three, just to keep it interesting. Garde snuck around the first mark just ahead of the chasing pack. They defended their position gallantly just managing to hang on to first place from a final downwind run challenge from Vantage Real Estate (Jack Winning and Brett Phillips). Vantage had a stellar race to score 2nd place. Gemmell finished 3rd keeping them at the top of the leader board and Lincoln Crowne finished 4th.

Going into the fourth and final race, Gemmell Sails only needed to beat Garde to take out the Inaugural Variety Port Jackson Championship. Right from the start they were focused and looking strong. They continued to do all the right things, once again leading at the first mark with Garde buried back in the pack. Lincoln Crowne was looking comfortable in second place with Pennyliss in third. Garde made a charge on the last lap, but were too late to catch Gemmell Sails, instead picking up another 2nd place, Lincoln Crowne hanging onto 3rd, and Pennyliss having a great race coming home 4th.

Final podium results were Gemmell Sails first, second Garde and third Lincoln Crowne. Handicap podium results were first Vantage Real Estate, second Penny Liss and third Variety. David Small commented on the day saying: “The 12’ skiffs looked spectacular in close racing as they flew across Sydney Harbour for the Port Jackson Championships, the last race of the 2012 season. Variety, the Children’s’ Charity is honoured to have been part of the Port Jackson Championships thanks to the generous support of Lincoln Crowne and Company & Nicholas Assef. Based on Sunday’s experience, bring on the 2013 season, which Variety looks forward to being part of!”

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