JJ Giltinan Trophy: America's Cup yacht collides with two 18ft skiffs

Yamaha White sailing under spinnaker on Auckland harbour

The first race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for 18ft skiffs got off with a bang on Sydney harbour this afternoon after two competitors were hit by an America's Cup yacht.

IMG 8317 - Vice Admiral's Cup 2012
The incident occurred before the start of the first race in the series when two yachts Yamaha White (Sam Marshall, New Zealand) and Southern Cross (Oliver Hartas, Australia) were struck by the former America's Cup 12 Metre Steak n Kidney. The New Zealand crew were about to have their first ever race in a JJ Giltinan Trophy series.

Southern Cross was written off in the incident, and her crew will have to sail a spare boat bought down from Brisbane.

The New Zealand yacht was fortunate to escape with just a badly ripped mainsail, and is expected to compete in the rest of the series once that is repaired.

Conditions on the harbour were ideal for 18ft skiff sailing and both skiffs were under spinnaker, on starboard, heading out for the start, when the 12 Metre class yacht on port tack, hit both boats. The crews escaped serious injury, in what was a very serious situation.

It is not known if there will be further action from the incident.

The race was won by local favourite Gotta Love It 7, after a lot of lead changing created by first a ferry going through the course and then a container ship.

Organisers have scheduled racing to start later in the day, at 4.00pm to avoid the worst of the weekend harbour traffic, however even this measure seems to have not resolved the issue.

Southern Cross Constructions flying - 18 footers Sydney Feb 8th 2009
Allan Barron