Photos: Rich Roberts

Winning Jnr continues to dominate

Bold sailing on day two of the 18ft Skiff International Regatta in San Francisco

Monday August 23rd 2010, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States

There's some gambling going on at the ninth annual 18ft Skiff International Regatta, and it's paying off bigtime for the boys from Down Under.

Australian sailors - Herman Winning, Michael Coxon and Winning's dad Woody - have been rolling the waves on port tack starts and now occupy the top three positions in the 13-boat fleet.

Port tack starts with no right of way hoping to cross starboard tackers are risky at best, but when it works the payoff has been huge by eliminating a laborious tack - always tricky on an 18 - and launching the perpetrators directly into the best breeze on the right side of the course and victories in the first four of 10 races scheduled through Thursday.

"Port tacks have reached the top mark first both days," said Michael Coxon, who popped out into quick leads to win both races going away Monday. "It was a glorious day. We figured there would be more boats doing it, but we just got out on top of them."

Coxon, a two-time winner of the JH Giltinan Trophy - the 18s' world championship, is sailing with an confident crew of Aaron Links and Trevor Barnabas, who have won three and five Giltinans as crew, respectively, so they understand calculated risks. Their only slip so far was a capsize that cost them an eighth place in the first race, but they'll discard that as one of two throwouts after the fifth race Tuesday and potentially close their seven-point gap behind Herman Winning, who followed Sunday's pair of aces with a solid set of seconds Monday.

Woody Winning (3-2-3-5) and defending champion Howie Hamlin (2-4-5-4) are next.

The St. Francis Yacht Club race committee has tilted the line to slightly favor the committee boat end, but the possible payoff starting from the pin end has been too tempting to ignore.

Herman Winning said, "Some people probably thought port was not a conservative way to start."

His dad said, "The port tack [opportunity] is there. It's whether they close you out or not."

But Coxon, a first-time visitor to The City, said his opening error may have been because "the San Francisco night life was too tempting. We made a lot of mistakes yesterday, but last night I had a good night's sleep."

The fleet is sailing a 1 1/2-mile windward-leeward course past the host St. Francis Yacht Club between the Golden Gate Bridge and the city front. Racing is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. daily, although the first two days were postponed to 2:30 because of unsettled breeze that soon developed into 12 to 15 knots.

Wednesday's race for the 18s will start at 5 to precede the Bridge to Bridge race for a mixed fleet including sailboards and kite boards.

Current leaders
(13 boats; after 4 of 10 races; discards after 5 and 9 races)

1. Appliances Online, Herman Winning/Peter Harris/Euan McNicol, Australia, 1-1-2-2, 6 points.
2. Thurlow Fisher Lawyers, Michael Coxon/Aaron Links/Trevor Barnabas, Australia, 8-3-1-1, 13.
3. Yandoo, John (Woody) Winning/David Gibson/Andrew Hay, Australia, 3-2-3-5, 13.
4. CST Composites, Howard Hamlin/Matt Noble/Fritz Lanzinger, USA, 2-4-5-4, 15.
5. JF Hellebrand, Phil Airey/Murray England/Sam Tretheway, New Zealand, 6-7-6-6, 25.
6. Maersk Line, Graham Catley/Riley Dean/Nick Catley, Australia, 5-14/DNF-4-3,, 26.
7. CT Sailbattens, Alex Vallings/Chris Kitchen/Josh McCormack, New Zealand, 4-5-14/DNF-7, 30.
8. Harken Black, Skip McCormack/Paul Allen/Jodi McCormack, Australia, 9-9-7-8, 33.
9. Panasonic, Jonathan Whitty/James Hozack/Tom Anderson, Australia, 7-6-14/DNF-10, 37.
10. Skiff Foundation Red/Hogin Sails, John Gilmour/Pike Harris/Cooper Dressler, USA, 14DNS-14DNF-9-9, 42.
11. Tangles' Harken Express, Patrick Whitmarsh/Joe Penrod/Mark Breen, USA, 14/DNS-8-8-14/DNF, 44.
T12. Chad's Angels, Mallory McCollum-Bozina/Yvonne Galvez/Katie Love, USA, 14/DNS-14/DNF/14-14/DNF-14DNF, 56.
T12., Chad Freitas/Dan Morris/Tangles, USA, 10-14/DNF, 56.

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