18ft Skiffs: Rob Greenhalgh


18ft Skiffs: Rob Greenhalgh

by Frank Quealey Aug 22, 2020 10:36 PM PDT

Fat Face Team Members © Frank Quealey

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RMW Marine wins the first round of the 2004 JJ Giltinan Trophy © Bodyworx Agency

Rob Greenhalgh, Dan Johnson and Peter Greenhalgh on RMW Marine win invitational race ahead of Ssangyong JJ Giltinan Championship for 18ft single sculls © Frank Quealey & Allan Barron

The 2004 champion, Briton Rob Greenhalgh is one of the long list of super-talented skippers to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft single scull championship.

Rob, one of only three northern hemisphere skippers to win the inaugural 18-foot World Championship, and his RMW Marine sponsored team totally dominated the 2004 regatta with an average two-minute victory margins. .

For Greenhalgh and his teammates Dan Johnson and Peter Greenhalgh it was a sweet victory after the RMW Marine trio were narrowly beaten (by less than a point) in previous JJs.

Rob had sailed the Optimist, 420 and 49er classes as well as the nine-man Ultra 30 trapeze before making the decision to face the world’s best 18-foot single scull teams in Sydney Harbor. “The 18s have always been the pinnacle of single scull racing so I jumped at the chance to campaign with an 18.”

Greenhalgh’s first challenge for the Giltinan Championship came in 2001 when he sailed a former Sydney dinghy as the Fat Face.

He immediately caught the ‘bug’ and had a new hull built by Ovington Boats for another challenge in the 2002 regatta. Richard Woof came on board as a sponsor (via his company RMW Marine) and a team of Dan Johnson and Johnny Mears was formed.

Despite some new problems starting the boat, the team performed well and finished in the top group, but Rob’s competitive nature was now determined to win ‘the big one’.

Rob’s brother Peter joined the team in place of Mears and he was back in Sydney Harbor to compete in the 2003 Championship.

Before the final race of the 2003 championship, the very fast and consistent RMW Marine held a lead that seemed to be good enough to take the title.

The American Howie Hamlin, defending General Electric-US Challenge champion, was the closest challenger and was tasked with finishing first or second in the race while hoping that RMW Marine would finish worse than fifth.

RMW Marine was leading early in the race and was still fourth at the last lap mark, and appeared to win the championship.

As the fleet sailed through the harbor to the finish line off Clark Island, the RMW Marine team got caught on the wrong side of a change in the wind and were overtaken by two other competitors, resulting in relegated the team to sixth place.

The incredible finish gave Howie Hamlin the 2003 championship by just 0.35 points.

Hamlin actually returned to shore believing that Rob Greenhalgh’s team had won the title and had to be convinced the result was correct, and his team had in fact retained the title they won with the same boat in 2002. .

Considering the heartbreaking result, it might have caused Greenhalgh to give up on his dream of winning the 18ft JJ Giltinan World Single Scull Championship, but Rob’s competitive nature was so strong that it actually made him come back – and this time nothing, not a team, was going to prevent the RMW Marine team from becoming the 2004 champion.

Rob recalls: “The 2003 JJ was ours and losing it by such a small margin was a shock, but we knew we would have another chance so we went and came back a little better.”

Rob is quick to point out the support he received from Richard Woof of RMW Marine. “Richard Woof has been central to my 18ft sailing and professional sailing career. Without sailing enthusiasts like Richard, sailing would not be what it is today.”

According to Rob, the decision to play in the 2005 championship was a last-minute decision, and a tight third place (just two points behind the winner) was a great result.

“After winning the JJ I think there was a natural progression to take a step back and not campaign so hard. We had always planned to come back in 2005, but at this point I was heavily involved with ABN. AMRO Volvo Ocean Race, so we had very little training time. The Australian fleet was trying to win back the JJ and we encountered some stiff competition but also a regatta in a much lighter wind than before. ”

“My last 18 year old ‘Benny’ premiered in 2008 and is named after the late Benny Walsh of Sydney, one of our most committed supporters when we played JJ. I have always missed the 18 years and I couldn’t wait to come back. ”

(Benny Walsh was not only a staunch supporter of 18 Footers on the League spectator ferry every Sunday until the day he died, Benny was the owner of 1963 World Champion Giltinan Schemer, who was skippered by Ken Beashel)

In June 2009, Rob, Dan Johnson and Phil Harmer competed in the inaugural Mark Foy Trophy regatta at the Yacht Club in Carnac, France, and beat a top-notch fleet after winning four of 11 races.

There were no plans to return to Sydney for JJ 2010, but when shipping support from PSP Worldwide Logistics and Aust-Asia Worldwide Shipping arrived, the Mark Foy Trophy winners made a last-minute decision and finished seventh overall behind Seve Jarvin’s Gotta Love. He 7.

Rob Greenhalgh is a great sailor who has had great success in a variety of boats. In addition to winning the Giltinan Championship and many UK National and European Championships in the 18s, he won the 14th International World Championship in 2003 as well as national and European titles in the Moth International Class.

Rob has competed in five Volvo Ocean Races, winning with ABN AMRO ONE in 2006 and finishing second on two other occasions, and won the Extreme Sailing Series 2007. He was also a member of the Comanche team which broke all transatlantic records. .

Rob chose Sydney as his home port and joined the North Sails team in Australia.

Asked about the possibility of returning to the 18 in the future, Rob did not rule out: “Professional sailing has kept me away from the fleet for several years now, but I hope to come back to the fleet at some point. to organise.”

Hopefully we can see Rob Greenhalgh again in an 18ft single scull in Sydney Harbor in the near future.

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