The 18′ Skiff International Regatta wasn’t quite a changing of the guard, Howard Hamlin, 53, was the winning skipper for the third time in five years -but if runner-up Samuel (Shark) Kahn, 17, is the wave if the future, that’s fine with Howie.
‘It’s great to see Shark doing so well,’ Hamlin said after wrapping up the title with first and second places Saturday. ‘Maybe it will draw other young kids into the class.’
Kahn passed former winner John Winning, 54, for second place on the last day, and the Australian indicated that he, too, would welcome an influx of youth, although he will continue to campaign around the world ‘if the body’s up to it.’
Saturday saw the lightest winds of the five-day regatta—15 knots over the middle of the course and 19 at the leeward mark—but it was still a test of skills and equipment.
At the start of the day Winning’s Yandoo was the only boat that hadn’t flipped all week, but that distinction vanished midway of the second three-lap race around the 1 ½-mile windward leeward course. While attempting a jibe one of his crew accidentally knocked the tiller out of his hand and over Yandoo went. Winning read that incident as a signal to call it a regatta and head for the beach.
That left the race to Kahn, with Hamlin finding himself second in a race he didn’t even have to sail.
‘We were just trying to stay out of everybody’s way [in fourth place],’ Hamlin said, ‘and then we got a puff downwind and there we were.’
Kahn fell back to third after finishing fourth in Saturday’s first race, but recovered with a purpose to improve on his third place of last year.
‘Second place is awesome,’ Kahn said. ‘The first race we were a little nervous and stressed. The second race we realized we had to sail really hard to put a boat between us [and Yandoo]. We were just kind of lucky. I didn’t know what happened to John.’
Hamlin ended the week winning five of the last seven races, and the victory sustained his spectacular roll sailing a variety of skiffs this summer. He already had won the European 18 Skiff title on Italy’s Lake Garda, finished a close second in the 505 worlds in Great Britain and won the International 14 Nationals at Long Beach—all with different but exceptionally strong crews. This week it was Mike Martin of Newport Beach, Calif. and Trent Barnabas of Australia.
Next month Hamlin will compete in the I-14 Worlds in his hometown of Long Beach, Calif.
‘This was a great series against Yandoo and Shark,’ he said. ‘It was really tight all the time and it was windy all week, which is what we live for.’
The class leaves town for another year with its legend of camaraderie intact. As usual, there were no protests—is there ever?—and during the week even teams that had dropped out of races with broken boats were back down on the beach at Crissy Field helping more fortunate opponents carry their craft up through the sand onto the grass staging area.
Saturday morning Great Britain’s Peter Barton and crew Martin Borrett returned the bowsprit and dagger board they had borrowed from rival Pegasus Racing’s arsenal of equipment, not to mention the boat Hamlin loaned them but by week’s end was too damaged to continue.
Hamlin won his two JJ Giltinan world championships in that boat but figures it’s still repairable as a loaner, if it means putting another competitor on the water.
Barton plans to return.
‘Sailing a skiff on San Francisco Bay is like hiking on the slopes of Mount Everest,’ he said. ‘Sailing upwind and downwind is achievable, but across the wind is the death zone. You can survive there momentarily but you can’t live there.’
Winning had a warning for potential new campaigners: ‘In many classes you can read a book and go out and do it. They’ve made sailing too easy. The difference makes this class special.’
This is one of the class’s three major events each year, along with the JJ Giltinan World Trophy Championship in Sydney and the European champion held last June on Lake Garda in Italy.
FINAL STANDINGS (10 races; two discards):
1. Pegasus White, Howard Hamlin/Mike Martin/Trent Barnabas, Long Beach, Calif., Newport Harbor YC, (2)-(3)-2-1-1-2-1-1-1-2, 11 points.
2. Pegasus Black, Samuel (Shark) Kahn/Cameron MacDonald/Paul Allen, Honolulu, Waikiki YC, 1-2-3-(5)-3-1-2-2-(4)-1, 15.
3. Yandoo, John Winning/Andrew Hay/’Geoff Bauchop, Sydney, Aust., Australian 18 Footers League, (3)-1-1-2-2-3-3-3-2-(DNF/8), 17.
4. DeLonghi, Grant Rollerson/Simon Nearn/Dan Wilsdon, Sydney, Australian 18 Footers League, (DNF/8)-(DNS/8)-4-3-4-DNF/8-5-6-3-3, 36.
5. Vodka Cruiser, Patrick Whitmarsh/Mark Breen/Ben Glass, Alameda, Calif., Monterey Peninsula YC, (DNF/8)-(DNS/8)-7-DNF/8-5-4-7-4-5-4, 44.
6. West Marine, Peter Barton/Martin Borrett/Ian Turnbull, United Kingdom, Royal Lymington YC, (DNF/8)-(DNS/8)-5-4-6-DNF/8-4-DNF/8-DNS/8-DNS/8, 51.
7. Skiff Sailing Foundation White, Chad Freitas/Dan Malpas/Matt Noble, San Francisco, St. Francis YC, (DNF/8)-4-6-(DNF/8)-7-DNF/8-6-5-DNF/8-DNF/8, 52.
Complete results and photos: www.stfyc.com (click successively on Regatta Information … 2006 Racing Calendar … August)
by Rich Roberts
St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco
Aug. 21, 2006
Bring on the big breeze for the 18 skiffs on the Bay
SAN FRANCISCO—Last year’s top three finishers have returned to San Francisco Bay for the fifth windy, wet and wild 18′ Skiff International Regatta Tuesday through Saturday.
Skippers of those three-man crews range in age from 2005 winner Howard Hamlin, 53, of Long Beach, Calif. and runner-up John Winning, 54, of Australia to Samuel (Shark) Kahn, 17, the latter a clear exception in the tightly knit class dominated by veterans.
This is one of the class’s three major events each year, along with the JJ Giltinan World Trophy Championship in Sydney and the European champion held last June on Lake Garda in Italy. Hamlin, with crew Mike Martin and Trent Barnabas, dominated the latter event with first place in 8 of 11 races and didn’t need to sail the next two. They were fifth in the Giltinan in February.
They’ll be challenged by Winning, Kahn and four other entries, including a team from the United Kingdom’s Royal Lymington Yacht Club led by Peter Burton, with Martin Borrett and Ian Turnbull as crew. Only Borrett has sailed here before, in International 14 regattas in 1989 and 1997.
“It’s spectacular,” he said. “We had a little taste of it [in practice] yesterday but it was only 15 knots.”
Twenty-plus is likely and the reason why the 18s—in any breeze the fastest monohulls on the planet—have given up using their taller masts here.
“We don’t need the big rig here,” said Hamlin. “Everyone’s used it once—and got smashed.”
Martin said, “At Garda we used only the big rigs. At Sydney we use the big rigs about 5 out of 7 days.”
Borrett said, “When we talked yesterday at breakfast I told Pete that we’re tying the big rig to the trailer and it’s not moving this week.”
Nevertheless, they’re here sailing 18s because, Borrett said, “we’re addicted to speed.”
The schedule calls for 10 races over five days starting at 1 p.m., twice around a 1 ½-mile windward-leeward course set for ideal spectator viewing from just inside the Golden Gate Bridge past the Crissy Field staging area and the host St. Francis Yacht Club. The exception will be a later start Friday followed by the annual Bridge to Bridge race when the 18s will mix it up with kite boards and windsurfers.
The British trio has borrowed Hamlin’s extra boat but has been sailing 18s for three years. Barton, 38, won the European Grand Prix series in 2005 and finished fifth in the European Championships won by Hamlin’s team this summer.
Hamlin and Martin also are on individual rolls. Sailing with other crew, Hamlin was second in the 505 Worlds last month and won the International 14 U.S. Nationals at Long Beach a week ago.
Martin won the 505 North Americans in 20-25 knots here last week with seven wins in 11 races.
ENTRIES (10 races, 2 discards):
DeLonghi, Grant Rollerson/Simon Nearn/Dan Wilsdon, Sydney, Australian 18 Footers League.
Pegasus Black, Samuel (Shark) Kahn/Cameron MacDonald/Paul Allen, Honolulu, Waikiki YC.
Pegasus White, Howard Hamlin/Mike Martin/Trent Barnabas, Long Beach, Calif., Newport Harbor YC.
Skiff Sailing Foundation Blue, Patrick Whitmarsh/Kevin Richards/Ben Glass, Alameda, Calif., Monterey Peninsula YC.
Skiff Sailing Foundation White, Chad Freitas/Dan Malpas/Matt Noble, San Francisco, St. Francis YC.
West Marine, Peter Barton/Martin Barrett/Ian Turnbull, United Kingdom, Royal Lymington YC.
Yandoo, John Winning/Andrew Hay/’Geoff Bauchop, Sydney, Aust., Australian 18 Footers League.
Complete results and photos: www.stfyc.com (click successively on Regatta Information … 2005 Racing Calendar … August)
cell (310) 766-6547
– St. Francis Yacht Club
There were 103 boats racing in four IRC and five one-design classes at the Rolex Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay, and they got what they came for. Although much of the regatta was sailed in wind of under 20 knots, it was full breeze-on for the two races on Saturday when the anemometers kicked into the 30 knot range. Philippe Kahn’s new Transpac 52 Pegasus 52 won five of the seven races in the nine boat IRC-A Class to score a nine point win over the Gavin Brady-driven R/P 72 Beecom,owned by Isao Mita. Pegasus was awarded the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy.
The J/105s had the biggest class in the regatta with 33 boats. Scott Sellers’ Donkey Jack won three of the seven races and logged all single digit finishes to score a five point win over Tim Russell’s Aquavit. Sellers won the Commodore’s Cup perpetual trophy for his victory, plus one of the specially engraved Rolex timepieces that was awarded to each of the six perpetual trophy winners:
– City of San Francisco Trophy, Robert Youngjohns, IRC B, DK46 Zephyra
– Richard Rheem Perpetual, John Siegel. IRC C, Wylie 42 Scorpio
– Keefe-Kilborn Memorial Trophy, Gary Mozer, IRC D, J/109 Current Obsession
– Atlantic Perpetual Trophy, Steve Madeira, J/120 Mr. Magoo