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Thread: The Kiwi's Are Coming! 2015 Int 18's on SF Bay!

  1. #1
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    The Kiwi's Are Coming! 2015 Int 18's on SF Bay!



    As we sit upon August waning days, we are just but 1 week roved from the 2015 International 18' Regatta at the StFYC!

    The Kiwi's have become a staple in this annual balls to the wall gathering of the fastest skiffs on the planet, and certainly the
    mots entertaining, capped off with the legendary Ronstan Bridge to Bridge regatta, smack dab in the middle of the action!





    New Zealands' Live, Sail, Die have just published a love note to the event, a nicely penned piece previewing the autumn high performance classic from a kiwi perspective:






    New Zealand send strong contingent to the San Francisco International 18ft skiff Regatta

    Six New Zealand 18ft Skiff teams are heading to this year’s San Francisco International Regatta held between the 31st of August to 4th of September. Thanks to Maersk Line the boats are just about to arrive at the venue.

    San Francisco is a favourite of the New Zealand teams, with teams attending every year for the past eight years. The regatta is hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club with racing taking place in the same patch of water recently made famous by the 2013 Americas Cup. The series will comprise of three races a day with the formidable Golden Gate Bridge to Bay Bridge race taking place on the evening of the 3rd of September.

    Yamaha is the odds on favourite NZ boat after a strong finish to the 2014-15 season. Alex Valling’s C-Tech, who is a double champion in San Francisco, will also be in contention as he continues to experiment with four man crew combination. Aon Racing has known success in San Francisco after finishing runner up there at the 2013 Youth America’s Cup, while mainsheet Harry Thurston won last year’s 18s regatta with an Aussie team.


    Maersk Line returns for another crack at the trophy with Graham Catley competing for the 6th time since the NZ fleet re-joined the world circuit. When asked what attracts him to keep returning he passionately explains that ‘San Francisco is without a doubt one of the most challenging and rewarding places to compete. Not only is it a tactical battle between competing boats, but also a battle within the boat to just get around the course with crew and boat in one piece’.

    San Francisco can be especially brutal for new combinations to the class where team work, fitness and skill are all key elements to keeping it together, let alone for up to three in one day. Stoke Beer and Events Clothing will be learning this baptism by fire as they look to develop as a team and keep the mast pointing to heavens and not completing impromptu tour of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    A three boat Aussie contingent will also be competing along with the 5-6 American based teams. Howie Hamlin (USA) is the pick of the international teams having won this particular regatta a number of times and also placing 3rd at this year’s JJ Giltinans in Australia.

    To follow the racing keep an eye on the Auckland Skiff league facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/aklskiffleague

    New Zealand teams:

    YAMAHA
    David McDiarmid, Matt Stevens, Josh McCormack.

    C-TECH
    Alex Vallings, Andrew Clarke, George Brasell, Scott Barnes.

    AON RACING
    Will Tiller, Harry Thurston, Tim Sneddon.

    MAERSK LINE
    Graham Catley, Murray England, Brad Collins.

    EVENTS CLOTHING
    Glen Sowery, Stephen Jones, Geoff England.

    STOKE BEER
    Tim Parsons, Sam Roil, Russell Wilson.
    Last edited by Photoboy; 09-03-2015 at 10:35 AM.
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  2. #2
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    18 Footers Warming Up For A Week of Action




    2015 International 18' SF Day1

    As San Francisco bids adieu to August, it simultaneously said hello to the 2015 International 18' Regatta, on San Francisco Bay. Classic early fall conditions were the rule of the day, with miniscule fog which disappeared before the 1st gun, scheduled for 11:00 AM. A noon 3.4 knot flood tide and 12-15 knots presented the 11 competing skiff teams for the 1st of 3 races. The teams, 6 from New Zealand, 1 from Australia and 4 from the US would quickly find themselves in a quest between current relief and the better breeze. With billiard table flat conditions, clearer and stronger air was the overwhelming choice and 6 boats, NZ's C-Tech, Aon , Maersk Line, and Yamaha along with the US teams of Harken and White Lightning would consistently reach the top in relative close proximity.








    Choosing a quick jibe set would provide teams with clearer air and more favorable flood strength if properly achieved. The penalty for fouling a competitor or a bad set could cost bundles, but it was a risk the top teams accepted and accelerated ahead of the pack, stretching their leads in the process. This evolution would repeat itself over and over again, as the apparent wind strength continued to build into the high teens as the afternoon progressed. In all, a relatively calm day on San Francisco Bay. With just a couple slow motion capsizes, Mondays action came down to some tight downwind duels up and down the fleet, as covering the opponent made for some exhilarating moment whilst galloping towards the gate.









    It's worth noting, that the Kiwi contingent has become a bit of a force in recent years at this event, which, if memory serves is in it's 13th edition. Buoying the Kiwi 18' movement has been Graham Cately, sailing on SF Bay on his Maersk Line, which bears the name of one of the primary sponsors. They have been very generous with their sponsorship, " Graham notes " When we kick started the 18's some 8-9 years ago in Auckland, they were there to get us to and from events, and it has been a tremendous assist in getting teams to events abroad" . The 18 Skiff fever in Auckland has grown nicely in those few years and they regularly see 11-12 boats on the line during their weekly regattas during New Zealand's Spring/ Summer sailing season.

    It's not surprising that that type of commitment translates well onto the race course, at home and away, and that's exactly what we are seeing with the results as the Kiwis travel abroad for competition. 4 of the top 5 from today's 3 races are in fact teams from New Zealand. And they like it here. Tim Parsons, sailing on Stoke Beer is new to San Francisco Bay, hails from Taranga about 40 miles South of Auckland, was quite happy with their day, despite not being in the top of the fleet. " We were happy with our progress, and the conditions today were great all around, some challenges with the currents and picking the right angles. Feels a lot like home"

    Feeling right at home has become the norm for teams Like NZ'sAlex Valling's C-Tech, and David McDiarmid's Yamaha who along with Howie Hamlin's Harken, rounded out the top 3 finishers, each playing the shifts and handling the building breeze near flawlessly, each taking a bullet and never more than a trey.








    The Kiwi 18' movement is about to get even stronger, as Graham Catley pointed out. Having built the Auckland fleet of 18's via outstanding Van Muster builds, the Kiwis have digitally scanned the hull design so they can produce a mould via CNC machine, and begin building their own hulls right at home.

    This achievement should allow the Kiwi's the chance to build hulls at will and without the additional fees associated with importing a boat from across the Tasman. With the legendary rivalry with their antipodean counterparts already well established in all things sport down under, the Aussie vs Kiwi battle for supreme domination could be getting some additional kindling tossed into the bon fire.

    Yamaha's David McDiramid, for one would like to see some more Aussie's at this San Francisco 18' event: " Tell those lazy Ozzies to get their butts up here"

    I think we just did.

    Racing continues through Friday with 3 races each on Tuesday and Friday and the legendary Ronstan Bridge to Bridge set for Thursday!

    Current Standings
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  3. #3
    Nice piece. Why are the Aussie's no longer a big part of the SF event?

  4. #4
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    Day 2 International 18's: Microbursting Around The Race Track

    2015 International 18 Regatta Day 2



    "It was no doubt, the most challenging, difficult Skiff sailing I have ever encountered" Lamented veteran local skiff sailor Daniel Roberts, skipper of Notorious P.I.G., a well loved, vintage 18' that actually was able to complete all 3 races during Tuesdays racing on San Francisco Bay.

    An unusual southerly windflow over Northern California had ushered in September, with brisk, yet warm airflow in the mid to high 20's in the early hours. The direction meant the wind would be forced over the steep hills of San Francisco, then plummet down like run away freight trains, intermixing with the more traditional south westerlys creating 30 to 40 degree shifts, which tested crews and rigs like no day has before during a summer 18 event on San Francisco Bay.

    The predetermined course, has a bit of wiggle room, but in general is designed to take advantage of the 99% reliable breezes that filter in from off the Ocean and into San Francisco bay before fanning out towards the Sacramento delta and points beyond. Tuesday's conditions lay testament that Mother Nature plays by her own rulebook and humans just need to adjust.
    The sudden microbursts were in full effect by the noon 1st gun, as the fleet dispersed on port tack and were launched into mid bay with winds in the high teens, gusting and shifting at will. "If you fell on the wrong side of one of the microburst, you might take a 30 degree knock followed by little to no wind in your sails. Hit the impulse just right, you get a great lift and accelerate right at the weather mark," Daniel explained.






    These sudden bursts of energy not only took a toll on the position of boats as they worked their way around the track, hammering the unfortunate and hurtling others past competitors in a sling shot pattern, but also managed to expel and extraordinary amount of damage in a short amount of time.

    Before the 2 lap of race 2 was even completed, 4 boats had retired to the beach, unable to compete any further during the day. Will Tillers AON, Keagan York's Compass Markets and Tim Parson's Stoke Beer all took enough damage to knock them out for the afternoon. Also taking a major blow was Howie Hamlin's Harken that suffered a jib lead failure while in mid bay. The resulting bang was so loud and violent the crew instinctively capsized the boat, preventing a catastrophic rig failure. The crew of Daniel Philips and Skip McCormack spent the better part of 30 minutes removing the mainsail from the mast while the rig was submerged, before limping the boat back to shore on a jury rigged jib alone.




    With 4 boats on the beach, the fleet was reduced to 7 for the rest of the day, an opportunity for the older boats to do some catching up or pass their less fortunate counterparts, and several of the top boats to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. Riding a 3 bullet afternoon,
    David McDiarmid's Yamaha utilized 3 outstanding starts to get to clear air and accelerate ahead of Alex Valling's C-Tech, who was nipping on their heels throughout the day and collecting a trio of deuces for the 4 man team. Was the unusual 4 man crew a help or hindrance? " Definitely a plus going upwind "Alex commented , " Downwind it probably wasn't as effective and ended up with a crew in the boat and not on the wire as much as we would have liked"





    Graham Catley and crew on Maersk Line had a 4-3-3 afternoon, and one of the most amazing unintentional jibe sets ever witnessed. After rounding the weather mark in race 3 , they were set for a bear away and were met with unrelenting header and then lull, the boat spun to port and the crew ejected,. with the boat on edge of capsize the managed to get back on board and pull the kite around, a puff quickly grabbed the kite and off they went, rocketing to clear air and ahead of the nearest competitor!



    Chad Frietas has been the leader of the RYC's Skiff Sailing Foundation and has arguably logged on the most time on eighteens of any San Francisco Bay. Nursing the old and tired 18's is what the Skiff Sailing Foundation does, spending countless hours putting humpty dumpty's back together again for another stab at this annual right of passage for extreme apparent air junkies to engage on. With Hamlin sidelined, Chad and company stepped up to the plate and reeled off a steady 3-4-4 on White Lightning, and are currently within striking distance of a podium position, just 3 point off the pace with 6 races under their belt, and 4 more scheduled before the fat lady sings!



    By far and away, the most wickedly amazing interactions of the day occurred during race one, when two of the Skiff Sailing Boat met just east of the windward mark. Daniel Roberts and crew on Notorious P.I.G. had been having a hell of a time getting the beast that swims back on her feet while JV Gilmour and crew on PINK were bearing away and getting set to launch the kite when they took an unexpected knock and sailed right into the path of P.I.G. whose sprit interlocked with their racks sending the crew of PINK into the drink.
    It was a day of attrition and determination. And even though they are much heavier than their more modern counterparts, and lack the modern sails and rigs, the never say quit attitude of the Skiff Sailing crew managed to keep it together and put some numbers on the board. As James Clappier, Bowman on the P.I.G. stated " With all the boats blowing up around us, were more determined than ever to finish the races."

    Wednesday is a lay day and action resumes on Thursday with the legendary Bridge to Bridge in the late afternoon and 3 additional races on Friday!

    Current Standings

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  5. #5
    That last frame looked like a mess.

  6. #6
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Ronstan Bridge to Bridge this evening @ 5:30!

    Along with the 11 Eighteens, there are 24 Foil Kites, 2 Formula Kites, 11 Formula Windsurfers and 2 Kiteboats registered at this point, and more yet to sign up!
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  7. #7
    That's a lot of foils!

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    The amazing flying Notorious P.I.G.
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    A Fine Friday Finale For 18's

    After 7 races spread out over 4 days time, including the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge the evening before, Friday broke with the promise superb conditions to wrap up this 2015 edition of the International 18' Regatta hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club. 11 boats were present, including the solitary Aussie entry, Keegab Yorks Compass Markets boat, which had suffered mast step damage on Tuesday , and looked for all intents and purposes, done for the regatta.


    With a deep, early season low pressure system rotating off the coast of Oregon, the isobars were stacked tightly over Northern California, and by dawns light, the Pacific was looking anything but pacified. On San Francisco Bay, the early signs of brisk conditions gave the fleet of Eighteen optimism that the regatta would end with a bang instead of the fizzle at the bottom of the course the previous evening.









    The noon 1st start was sailed in the high teens on the course, with a fast flood throughout race track, there was little incentive to head to the beach for relief. The WNW offshore presented a more reliable and consistent breeze than the fleet saw the prior Tuesday. The tight battle between David McDiarmids Yamaha and Alex Valling's C-Tech would continue were it left off on Tuesday, with Yamaha taking another bullet in race 8, with C-Tech nipping at her heels around the course. Fresh off repairs to the forestay attachment and mast forestay strut, Hamlin's Harken was back in form, and feeling great after a Bridge to Bridge class win the night before. In the mix and crossing paths with the leaders in the 1st race of the day, Team Harken would finish 3rd in the 1st race of the day and take the bullet in the 2nd.









    Winds would exceed 20 -25 for the 2nd race and the top of the track began to show some counter current as well as building swell filtering in from offshore, where a full on maelstrom was building and building. Conditions became more spirited in the second race with capsizes and close calls a plenty, mixed in with several spectator boats getting in the action along with a couple of the local tourist boats cutting across the course added to the color. Will Tiller's Aon would join Glen Sowry's Event Clothing and Daniel Roberts Notorious P.I.G. on the disabled list. Alex Valling's C-tech also would end up back on the beach, having suffered some jib sheet problems, but managing to limp around the course with enough chutzpa to hang onto a 3rd.


    By the 3rd race, pressure had increased to the high 20's and low 30's, with established rollers streaming through the top of the course. The 6 remaining boats would find themselves sailing extremely cautiously, but even so, conditions were getting on the edge of out of control, and the simple task of bearing away at the weather mark became an adventure. We witnessed two completely submarined boats as the bows dug in and the boats followed suit. As Graham Catley mentioned the night before,
    "To finish 1st, you have to first finish"... Graham and crew on Maersk would join JV Gilmour and crew on Skiff Sailing's PINK in the physically unable to finish category in the final race of the regatta.









    There would be but 4 boats to complete the final race, number 10 of the week, if you are counting, 1 Kiwi boat,( Yamaha) 1 Aussie boat ( Compass Markets) and two American entries( Harken & White Lightning). David Mcdiarmid's Yamaha would finish the regatta on a high note with yet another bullet and overall victory with a mere 11 points. Alex Valling's 4 man crew sat out the final race yet netted a 2nd place overall with 16 points and Hamlin and crew would ride into final day with a 3-1-2 flourish to take 3rd overall. Not bad for having to swallow 2 dnc's and a dnf on day 2!








    All in all a glorious finish to yet another superb year for the 18's on San Francisco Bay. The Kiwi's have become a powerhouse in the San Francisco event and despite most of them sailing much heavier and outdated rigs with battered sails, the American crews have shown themselves legit contenders, proud, unwavering and non relenting. It's great theater!
    Now if we can just get the Aussie's to bring a few more teams next year, we would have something extra special!






    Final Results

    Gallery In Progress (Still much editing to do!)


    Huge thanks to Keith for the flying and Howie for the support!
    Last edited by Photoboy; 09-05-2015 at 10:22 AM.
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  10. #10
    friggen awesome! thanks for sharing!

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