18′ Skiffs take a rough afternoon off

Published on September 8th, 2013

San Francisco, CA (September 8, 2013) – Coming to grips earlier with the race schedule for the Nespresso 18′ International Skiff Regatta for the Mark Foy Trophy on merciless San Francisco Bay, a veteran competitor had this comment: “Yikes!”

Howard Hamlin knew what to expect, and his qualms came so true on practice day Saturday that Sunday’s pair of opening races following the two America’s Cup matches were postponed until Monday, when the 18s will have the bay to themselves.

“That’s why we set up all the reserve days,” Hamlin said, “because we didn’t know how it would play out.”

While Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA take a day off Monday from their contest, which the Kiwis now lead, 3 to minus-1 (never mind), the 18s will be able to start at noon Pacific time instead of 3:30 in the afternoon.

Saturday’s launch debacle and subsequent outbreak of flips in 22 knots of chilly breeze sweeping down the bay may have entertained the AC spectators who hung around in the Marina Green bleachers, but the St. Francis Yacht Club race committee saw the problem.

Hamlin, with crew Matt Noble and Paul Allen, were among those suffering multiple capsizes. Their boom broke in the last one.

“The wind peaks between 4 and 6 [p.m.],” Hamlin said, “but it was the wind combined with the worst sea state … an ebb tide going out against the wind making for steep waves close together.”

Another sailor called it “basically unsailable,” more than even the best skiffers can handle.

So they’ll take the AC72s’ days off Monday, Wednesday and Friday to start their races at noon. Those were scheduled to be days off for everybody leading into the windups next Saturday and Sunday, but as of this report nothing further had been decided.

Principal race officer Robbie Dean posted a notice that “a revised schedule for the rest of the week will be posted by 2000 hours [8 p.m.] this evening.”

Look for it in the Sailing Instructions.

“All I know is we’re sailing tomorrow [Monday] at noon,” Hamlin said. “I don’t know about the rest of the days.”

The postponement is a rare one for the 18-footers’ regatta. Only one race had been called off in the first 11 years.

Presently unchanged is the traditional and mostly downwind 5.3-nautical mile Bridge to Bridge race from the Golden Gate to the Bay bridge, open to a wide array of entries.

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.

Complete results, previous reports, Notice of Race, schedule and other information

High-res photo gallery 
Video by Vince Casalaina
Chris Ray photo gallery
Christophe Favreau photo gallery
St. Francis Yacht Club

Robbie Dean

Rich Roberts

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