18-ft Skiff International The 18-ft skiffs sailed their International Regatta out of St. Francis YC August 2126, and the all-American team of Howie Hamlin, Matt Noble and Paul Allen aboard CST Composites USA closed things out with a great final day to take the regatta, despite being 30 kilos light! Hamlin has now won the event six of the ten times it has been sailed, but the trio's clutch finish was one of the closest ever. Going into the last day, Noble and Allen carried a one-point lead over Australia's John Winning on Yandoo, and a five-point lead over Michael Coxon's Thurlow Fisher Lawyers – all three of which were at the top of the pile all week long. The latter performed like the defending champions they were, winning two of six races when Coxon, suffering from a neck injury, turned the tiller over to the veteran Trevor Barnabas. Hamlin Noble and Allen led early in the first of Friday's final races, ultimately falling to Coxon by 47 seconds while keeping an eye on Winning, who was third. With the breeze building to the low 20s, Hamlin led again in the second race until nearly giving it away at the leeward mark. "I called for the drop a couple of boatlengths too soon," he said. "Then you have to run real square and slow. It was my mistake. We went from first to sixth in a matter of 30 seconds. That's how good As usual, the 18-footers provided some great viewing off the Cityfront on even the lighter days.
this fleet is." As Coxon seized the lead and all but disappeared into the misty fog, Hamlin's prospects for the regatta suddenly looked less than rosy. Winning cruised into second place with three boats between him and his longtime American rival — enough margin to give him the overall win. But as the pack trailing Coxon ran downwind, Winning jibed out toward Alcatraz to set up his final layline. Hamlin had also played that route successfully, but this time he couldn't jibe because Australian Nick Press' SMEG, was on his port quarter as the two ran on starboard tack. In what was a very happy accident, Press pushed Hamlin the right way, and the two rounded 13 seconds ahead of Winning. "It's easy when you have a little boat speed and you go the right way," Hamlin said. Suddenly CST Composites USA was in second place again, but Thurlow Fisher was getting ready to tack to the finish. "I looked up and saw they were stalled," Allen said. "I wondered what was going on, and then I saw one of their sailors 20 boatlengths behind them in the water, swimming. I was like, 'here's our chance.'" Thurlow Fisher's Trent Barnabas had a trap line fail and by the time Coxon could collect him, CST had blown by for a three-point win. But it wasn't just luck that gave the West Coasters the win — Hamlin is fr om Souther n California, while Noble is from Pt. Richmond and Allen Santa Cruz. "Jay Glaser built us a second version of our spinnaker and that made a big difference," Hamlin said. "[John]
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Late August and early September were about as frenetic as you get on the water: skiffs, big boats, dinghies, shorthanded, you name it. So rather than run it all down here, we'll go ahead and let you have at it. Cheers!
Woody [Winning] always used to crush us downwind, and now we were faster than him downwind." "We're light," Hamlin said, "Thirty kilos lighter than the heavies. If we can still go with the heavies that's good." "That all just goes to show that in skiff racing it isn't over until you cross the finish line," Hamlin said. "Early in the week we were fast on the wind," Wining said, adding that he was encouraged by the turnout of five local boats from the decidedly grass-roots Skiff Sailing Association and the 15-boat fleet
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