Gotta Love It, loving it

The young Aussie team took another victory at the 18ft Skiff International regatta in the US

Thursday August 14th 2008, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United Kingdom
Seve Jarvin's boat name Gotta Love It sums up his performance so far in the seventh 18' Skiff International Regatta hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, although the young skipper - and certainly not defending champion Howard Hamlin - may not agree.

"It was bloody tough today . . . more windy today," Jarvin said on the beach Wednesday after he and crew Sam Newton and Tom Clout - all 22 - posted their fourth win in as many races to stretch their lead to 11 points over fellow Aussie Brett Van Munster.

Meantime, Hamlin, the winner from Long Beach, California the last three years, took another second place in Wednesday's first race before his carbon mast snapped in two while streaking downwind in 20 knots of breeze early in the second race.

"The shroud broke at the upper spreader," Hamlin said as he inspected the damage and hustled to find a replacement before Thursday's next two races.

As the scoring goes, the 12-point DNF (did not finish) dropped Hamlin to fourth place behind Australia's John Winning, but he should discard that after the fifth of ten scheduled races Thursday, if he can find another mast.

Hamlin's misfortune helped Van Munster climb to second place with no finish worse than fourth, and European champion Grant Rollerson of Australia will drop a ninth on Thursday after finding his legs with a third and a second Wednesday.

"It's a fantastic place to sail," Van Munster said with a grin as wide as the Golden Gate. "Awesome!"

Winning made one of the slickest moves of the day in the first race when he pulled off a pin-end start on port tack and crossed the fleet, only to wind up fifth after getting tangled up with Matt Searles' Active Air in a port-starboard incident.

"We had to do a [penalty] turn at the second windward mark," Winning said, a rare incident in a class where protests are even rarer.

Other competitors are here to gain experience in a technically difficult class. Dan Brandt, skipper of the hometown Natural Blues team, checked his GPS to find that he and crew Cooper Dressler and Pike Harris had raced 32.57 nautical miles in Wednesday's two races at an average speed of 10.7 knots with a top burst of 24.3 knots while capsizing only once. That meant that although tenth in next-to-last place, they were having fun.

"Always," Brandt said. "It was a good day. We're getting our downwind planing speed." They wear black drysuits with skeletal images on the front. The meaning? "We're bare bones," Harris said.

Six more races are scheduled over the next three days, including the annual Ronstan Bridge to Bridge classic late Friday afternoon when the 18s will join the kite boarding and windsurfing crowds for the 5 1/2-mile downwind dash from under the Golden Gate to the Oakland Bay Bridge inside the bay. Racing starts at 1pm. PDT, conditions permitting.


1-Gotta Love It, Seve Jarvin/Sam Newton/Tom Clout, Sydney, Australia, 1-1-1-1, 4 points.
2-Kinder Care Home Nursing, Brett Van Munster/Paul Montague/Ayden Mezies, Sydney, 4-4-4-3, 15.
3-Yandoo, John Winning/Andrew Hay/David Gibson, Sydney, 3-5-5-4, 17.
4-Wild Oats, Howard Hamlin/Mike Martin/Paul Allen, Long Beach, Calif., 2-2-2-12/DNF, 18.
5-SLAM, Grant Rollerson/Matt Noble/David Mann, Perth, Australia, 5-9-3-2, 19.
6-Active Air, Matthew Searle/ Dan Wilsdon/Archie Massey, Sydney, 6-3-6-6, 21.
7-Panasonic, Jonathan Whitty/Tom Anderson/John Herman Winning, Sydney, 7-7-9-5, 28.
8-Harken, Joey Pasquali/Chad Freitas/Rory Giffen, Santa Cruz, Calif., 9-6-8-7, 29.
9-Cabot Cheese, Patrick Whitmarsh/Danny Cayard/Joe Penrod, San Francisco, 10-8-7-8, 32.
10-Natural Blues, Dan Brandt/Cooper Dressler/Pike Harris, San Francisco, 12/DNF-10-12/DNF-9, 43., Jonny Goldsberry/Jay Scott/Andy Casey, Alameda, Calif., 12/DNF-12/DNF-12/DNF-12/DNF, 48.

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