Australia's John Winning holds a close cover on California's Howie Hamlin on the last leg to the finish

Australia's John Winning holds a close cover on California's Howie Hamlin on the last leg to the finish

Winning ways

Computer Associates back in the lead at the 18ft Skiff International Regatta in San Francisco

Friday September 3rd 2004, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
The forecast for 35-knot winds failed to materialise on a brilliantly sunny day on the Bay Thursday when John Winning's Computer Associates won the three-lap buoy race by 15 seconds over Howie Hamlin's West Marine to leave the top three contenders within three points after seven of nine races in the third annual 18 Skiff International Regatta.

The fleet returned to the beach to await the change-of-pace Bridge to Bridge Race late in the afternoon - a downwind contest of five nautical miles from the Golden Gate to the Oakland Bay Bridge when they would be joined by kite boarders and windsurfers.

Hamlin, with Mike Martin and Rod Howell as crew, appeared to have a strong lead for the first half of the buoy race, sailed in a moderate breeze of 15 knots, but halfway down the second run he gybed to the left side of the course toward Angel Island, leaving the right side open to his Australian rivals.

Winning, sailing with Euan McNicol and Jack Young, said, "When he gybed away we were in a puff so we kept on going."

When they crossed near Alcatraz Island, the Aussies were in front, and they held their lead with some tight covering.

"He's a slippery little bugger," Winning said. "We couldn't let him go."

The third boat in contention was also Australian - Trevor Barnabas' red Omega Smeg, with Trent Barnabas and Robert Greuter as crew. They had to return after crossing the starting line early but recovered nicely and even led Hamlin at the last windward mark.

The regatta is one of the class's three international events, along with the European International Championship and the JJ Giltinan Trophy Championship, the class's premier event contested annually in Australia since 1938.

Standings (after 7 of 9 races, one discard):
Pos Boat Name Skipper Crew Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Tot
1 Computer Associates John Winning Euan McNicol Anthony Young 3 3 1 1 2 3 1 3 11
2 West Marine Howard Hamlin Mike Martin Rod Howell 2 2 6 4 1 1 2 6 12
3 Omega Smeg Trevor Barnabas Trent Barnabas Robert Greuter 1 1 3 2 4 4 3 4 14
4 Sunrise Patrick Whitmarsh Paul Allen Chad Freitas 5 7 2 5 3 2 5 7 22
5 Fisher & Paykel Grant Rollerson Paul Williams Glen Raffael 6 4 5 3 9 9 4 9 31
6 Vodka Cruiser Dalton Bergen Jeff Nelson Kevin Richards 4 5 4 9 5 9 6 9 33
7 Canada 1 Fred Eaton Dan Cunningham Rob Patterson 9 9 8 6 6 9 7 9 45
8 Emery Worldwide Dana Jones Jon Bell Campbell Rivers 9 6 7 7 9 9 8 9 46

Below: A brown pelican shows John Winning and his Computer Associates team the way to first place

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