Monday, June 1, 2009


By Ross Tibbits:
Day 2 of the 2009 American Sailing League’s Championship Series at San Francisco’s PIER 39, on Sunday May 31, provided lots of exciting 18’ skiff racing for the hundreds of spectators watching throughout the afternoon.

Foggy skies and light air in the morning threatened to reduce the regatta to a day of slow sailing as the sailors worked hard to get every advantage out of what little wind there was in the first race. By the start of the second race, big breeze developed on the far side of the course making it one lane sailing with everyone chasing the breeze. Later in the day it filled-in across the entire course, providing excellent racing conditions for the 18’s and great spectating on shore.

After the crashes and the big breeze on Day 1 of the event, all six teams worked feverously Saturday evening, repairing snapped carbon fiber bowsprits, torn sails and other equipment. No one wanted to miss Sunday’s regatta. Five teams made it to the start line, Gym Class Fitness, Harken, Skiff Sailing, Switch Clothing and West Marine. Team Spot made it to the racecourse but before they could get into a race, equipment issues forced them back to the beach for continued repairs.

Team Harken, leading the series from Saturday, had to switch-out their forward hand, Matt Noble, who’s knee was injured on a spinnaker take down that day. Paul Allen stepped in to Matt’s position and Team Harken continued to dominate throughout the day on Sunday. Race 3 was the only race they failed to win as they fell behind teams West Marine and Skiff Sailing. Howie Hamlin, Harken’s skipper, Paul Allen and Fritz Lanzinger performed nearly flawlessly and took four bullets with huge leads on the competition.

Hamlin said of the event, “It’s so much fun to sail in a short course format, with all the boat traffic and the City front, it’s like sailing in Sydney harbor.”

As with any 18er regatta, capsizes kept spectators riveted to the racecourse while crews worked to right their skiffs and/or repair damage done while their skiffs lay over in the chilly Bay water.
The last race of the day was four laps. Teams already tired from two days of strenuous racing gave it their all. Given their best efforts, more capsizes ensued in the final lap for those boats still trying to catch Team Harken.

The victory went to Team Harken going away. That was a great way to end their regatta and position themselves for the Fall ASL Championship regatta to be held August 29th & 30th.
1. Harken 12
2. West Marine 23
3. Gym Class Fitness 34
4. Skiff Sailing Foundation 37
5. Switch Clothing & Apparel 43
6. Spot Satellite Messenger/Toyota Sunnyvale DNC
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