Yamaha claims Bridge to Bridge
Following winds of 20+ knots gusting to 25 blew New Zealand's David McDiarmid down the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge course Thursday evening and into a clear first place over countryman Alex Vallings in the Nespresso 18ft Skiff International Regatta for the Mark Foy Trophy.
McDiarmid, who led Vallings by only a tiebreaker a day earlier, drove Yamaha to 12th place overall among 70 entries in a mixed fleet of 18ft Skiffs, kiteboards, windsurfers and a couple of multihulls (no, not AC72s). Kiteboarders swept the first nine places, led by - who else? - the world's top kiteboarder, San Francisco's own John Heineken.
Other 18s in the 5.3-nautical mile run from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge were strewn through the fleet in the order of the USA's Howard Hamlin on CST Composites, 20th; Nick Press on Australia's Yandoo, 24th, Valling's C-Tech 29th and John Gilmour's unheralded Team Taughannock Aviation of the USA 31st.
McDiarmid's primary tactic was unique in the fleet but basically straightforward: "We sailed the whole race on starboard tack," he said. "Off Alcatraz the call was for everybody else to jibe. We just kept going and got a shift."
Hamlin, told of McDiarmid's strategy, said. "okay, that's why he was so far ahead after we all gybed."
The series ends with three races Friday, starting at noon Pacific time.
St Francis YC manages the skiff event, independent of the AC competition, while the event is being hosted in conjunction with the AC Open as part of the Summer of Sailing, taking place at the America's Cup Village on Marina Green.
While the JJ Giltinan regatta run annually in Sydney since 1938 is regarded as the class's world championship, the Mark Foy has gained global status entering its fifth year of spreading the skiff spirit to various world locations.
Results (after 7 of 10 races; one discard after 5, two after 9).
1. Yamaha, David McDiarmid, New Zealand, 1-(5)-2-1-2-1-1, 8 points.
2. C-Tech, Alex Vallings, New Zealand, 2-1-1-3-1-2-(4), 10.
3. CST Composites, Howard Hamlin, USA, (5)-4-3-5-5-3-2, 22.
4. Yandoo, Nick Press, Australia, 3-3-(8)-7-3-4-3, 23.
5. Fisher & Paykel, Grant Rollerson, Australia, 4-2-4-4-4-6-(9), 24.