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44 • September 12 - 25, 2014 • The Log


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Australians thrive in rough times


Aussies win 2014 Skiff International Regatta.


By Rich Roberts


SAN FRANCISCO — After a wild week of inflicting its fury on the 13th 18’ Skiff International Regatta, San Francisco Bay got the message and greeted com- petitors with a modest 15 knots of summery breeze through the Golden Gate.


“The first two races today were


postcard sailing,” said Brett Van Munster, the Australian skipper who with crew Paul Montague and Harry Thurston overcame a few capsizes and difficult competition to edge America’s Howie Hamlin by a single point, 15-16. “But then that third race was some-


thing else,” the Aussie added. The wind was a comfortable 15 knots with a flood tide and no white- caps — certainly not capsize condi-


Pictured from left to right, sailors battle it out in the annual 18’ Skiff Internatioanl Regatta on San Francisco Bay. Champion ASCC Skipper Brett Van Munster with crew Paul Montague and Harry Thurston.


tions — for the first race at noon, when Van Munster led Hamlin by more than a minute over the 6.7-nautical mile, twice-around windward-leeward course.


The second race started similarly, but soon built to 21 knots, knocking ASCC flat and from first to third at the windward mark as Skip McCormack, the local sailor skippering New Zealand’s Events Clothing-sponsored entry, held off Hamlin for the win. But it was still a two-boat contest


between ASCC (Australian Solvents and Chemicals) and Hamlin’s aged Harken/CST entry, which he and his crew of Matt McKinley and Cameron McDonald tweaked and patched up as they went along. Hamlin said, “We wanted to beat


[Van Munster] in the first two races, but he’s twice as fast and he just sailed around us. Matt and Cameron did ter- rific work keeping things together. We did very well to get second place with a 10-year-old boat and mainsail and a six-year-old jib.” They were sailing Hamlin’s “B” boat, with a carbonated old mast. His newer “A” boat and sails were delayed in ship- ment from Italy where he placed third in the European championships in July.


But the older boat was the only one that never capsized all week … until all the racing was done after they won the 10th race. McDonald said, “We lost a jib clew just after we finished.” Without a jib, they were left to


struggle through an awkward tack in 20-plus knots of crosswind to the beach, which they almost reached before a gust blew them over—-their only capsize of the week. Irony, anyone? Meanwhile, Van Munster was still


struggling ashore after sailing the last downwind leg without a spinnaker, which didn’t prevent his final capsize. After the ninth next-to-last race, with a second throwout still in the bank, he thought he might already have victory assured and wouldn’t need to sail. “But we weren’t sure,” he said, “so


we sailed.” But cautiously, placing third to


Hamlin’s third win of the week and a second place by the local Only 18 boat skippered by David Liebenberg, who wound up third overall. “We broke a lot of stuff today, but not enough to make us retire,” Liebenberg said.


See FINAL RESULTS page 45


Rich Robert photos


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