Spreading the word


Howie Hamlin (left) with Mike Martin and crew Jonny Meers at Weymouth 2003
 

Howie Hamlin (left) with Mike Martin and crew Jonny Meers at Weymouth 2003

We talk to former 505 and 18ft skiff world champion Howie Hamlin about his campaign to bring skiff sailing to the USA
Howie Hamlin is currently on a crusade to get racing sailors from his native Califorrnia round to his way of thinking: that when it comes to thrill factor and bang for buck afloat, there is little to beat performance dinghy sailing be it in either of his two favoured disciplines - the 505 or the 18ft skiff. From Long Beach, Hamlin was something of a late developer in sailing. During his youth he was exposed to the sport by his father, a long term 14 and Dragon sailor. However it wasn't until aged 21 when he went for a blast in a 505 that he was fully bitten by the bug. "I got a ride on one and I thought ‘this is fun’. Previously I’d been into racing motorcycles and go-karts and going fast. 25 years ago it was the fastest thing in the States - it was the 18 of sail boats." Once committed to the 505 he took part in all the regattas he could, including regular participation at the Worlds where ever they might be, but it still took him a long time to reach the top of his game. It wasn't until 1990 when he'd been in the class 15 years, that he won his first North Americans sailing with Steve Rosenberg. He has won the North Americans several times since, once with Cam Lewis who he sailed with for two season beginning his spate of second places in the Worlds - he has finished runner-up at the Worlds on six occasions now. His most successful partnership has been with Mike Martin, the person most responsible for upping his game. With Martin he finally won the 505 Worlds in Quiberon in 1999 - remarkably his 20th participation at the Worlds. "It took forever, but I started

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