18 Footers Giltinan International Championship

The Australian and NSW champions Seve Jarvin, Robert Bell and Sam Newton have shown other competitors what to expect in the 2008 Giltinan International Championship, the World 18 footer titles, when they sailed Gotta Love It 7 to victory in the Invitation Race on Sydney Harbour today.

Gotta Love It 7 grabbed the lead on the third leg of the course and were never seriously challenged before taking victory by 43secs from the defending champions Michael Coxon, Aaron Links and Nathan Ellis in Fiat.

Third placing went to Omega Smeg (Trevor Barnabas, Daniel Phillips and Jim Beck), a further 35secs behind Fiat.

The race was sailed in a moderate south-east breeze with all teams electing to use their bigger #1 rigs.

SX Projects, sailed by the young American crew led by Joey Pascali, led the fleet at the windward mark by 20secs and the US made it a double with Howie Hamlin's Wild Oats Chardonnay in second place.

Wild Oats Chardonnay held a narrow lead after the long spinnaker run but Gotta Love It 7 was already flexing her muscles to be close behind in second place.

Fisher & Paykel, Kinder Caring Home Nursing and Thurlow Fisher headed the next group closely followed by a majority of the fleet.

Gotta Love It 7 was ahead after the next windward leg but there were several changes among the leading group.

Kinder Caring Home Nursing (Brett Van Munster) was in second place followed by New Zealand's Maersk Mainfreight Owens (Graham Catley), Wild Oats, Omega Smeg, Asko Appliances (Hugh Stodart) and SX Projects.

Gotta Love It 7 held off a challenge by Omega Smeg at the Rose Bay mark and then withstood a late move by Fiat.

Most interest centred on the battle for minor placings as Fiat, Asko Appliances and Rag & Famish Hotel (John Harris) charged through the fleet after being way back in the fleet at the first windward mark.

Race 1 of the championship will be sailed tomorrow (Saturday 16 February) with Race 2 on Sunday.

Finish Placings
1 Gotta Love It 7
2 Fiat
3 Omega Smeg
4 Asko Appliances
5 Rag & Famish Hotel
6 Kinder Caring Home Nursing
7 Maersk Mainfreight Owens
8 Pure Blonde
9 Club Marine
10 Fisher & Paykel
11 CST Composites
12 SX Projects
13 Macquarie Real Estate
14 Maytag
15 Ssangyong Yandoo
16 Thurlow Fisher
17 Wild Oats Chardonnay
18 Active Air-2UE
19 Southern Cross Constructions
20 Panasonic
21 appliancesonline.com.au
22 Keith Piggin Estate Agents

Giltinan International Championship Sponsored by SLAM and Winning Appliances
Today's race sponsor: Red Bottle