18ft Skiffs: Can Seve Jarvin do it again this season?

7 won the 2010 Giltinan, but it wasn’t always easy
Seeing Seve Jarvin in the rigging area on race day, you would never know the likeable, quietly-spoken 18ft Skiff skipper is a four times Giltinan champion as well as the present NSW champion and three times Australian champion.

Seve goes about his business with a minimum of fuss as he and his team prepares and rigs their ‘Gotta Love It 7’ skiff for the day’s racing. He seems more intent on shunning attention rather than seeking it, but once he gets onto the water he is as ruthless (and fair) as the other top competitors in the highly competitive world of 18ft Skiff Racing.

The 23-year-old has amassed a wonderful record since he first began sailing as a four-year-old, then racing at age five. His first victory coming as an eight-year-old when he won the Australian Sabot Championship in 1994.

His 18ft Skiff career began as a 17-years-old. He teamed (as sheet hand) with skipper Euan McNicol and Tim Austin (in the bow) on Club Marine to take out the 2005 Giltinan Championship. He again teamed with McNicol the following year (finishing third in the Giltinan) before being chosen by the great 18ft Skiff champion Iain Murray to skipper ‘Gotta Love It 7’ for the Seven TV Network in 2006-2007 Season.

The team, Jarvin, Sam Newton and Robert Bell, assembled by Murray was described as 'The New Generation' in Club Marine’s Newsletter. 'They are Australia’s youth match racing sensations. The trio recently delivered the CYCA its first major international trophy at the Governor’s Cup in California, then the Australian Youth Match Racing Championships'.

Seven's 2011 Giltinan winning team with Iain Murray

In their first attempt at the Giltinan (2007) the trio finished second to Michael Coxon, but the following year they reversed this result when they defeated Coxon’s Fiat.

While Robert Bell left the Gotta Love It 7 team at the end of the 2007-2008 Season, Seve and Sam Newton continued their long time association and friendship.

Seve, the son of Olympic, America’s Cup and Etchells World champion Steve Jarvin, moved up from the Sabots to Flying 11s, 29ers and then into the CYCA’s Youth Sailing Academy program where he excelled at match racing.

Sam, like Seve, began sailing Sabots at a young age then moved into Flying 11s, 29ers and Elliotts. At one time he held three simultaneous national championships, 29er in 2002-2003, 29er Youth Open in 2002-2003 and 2003 Youth Match Racing Championship.

Seve is quick to recognise the critical part played by Sam in the performance of the Gotta Love It 7 18ft Skiff Racing campaigns.

The 2009 Giltinan is regarded as one of the closest in its 73-year history. The final result coming down to a three way battle over the final leg of the course in the last race. Unfortunately for Seve, Sam and team newcomer Tom Clout, the ‘7’ team were relegated back to finish third overall behind the Euan McNicol and Matt Searle skippered teams.

Gotta Love It 7 in action on Sydney Harbour

Their disappointment of 2009, however, was quickly wiped away when they won each of the three major titles (Giltinan, Australian, NSW) in the 2009-2010 Australian Season.

During the Australian winter of 2010, Seve, Sam and new crew member Scott Babbage (who replaced Tom Clout), went to Lake Garda, Italy where they won the European Championship. On their return home, they dominated to win the NSW Championship.

After a less than memorable Australian Championship, spoilt by a start incident and gear breakage in two of the races, they came back strongly to defeat Michael Coxon’s Thurlow Fisher Lawyers in a tight Giltinan series. The result was actually decided on a count back after the two teams tied on points at the end of seven races.

Seve, Sam and Scott will team together again in the upcoming 2011-2012 Australian Season and are sure to be amongst the top competitors attempting to win the three major Australian regattas.

If the Gotta Love It 7 team win the 2012 Giltinan, it will give their sponsor, TV’s Seven Network, the remarkable record of ten Giltinan Championship victories since Iain Murray (Color 7) first won the championship in 1977.

Murray won six consecutive Giltinan Championships from 1977-1982, inclusive, while Seve has added three more in the ‘Team 7’ colours.

One of Iain Murray's Color 7 Giltinan-winning skiffs


Australian 18 Footers League website