Sunday, March 29, 2015

Howie Hamlin starting SAP 505 Worlds on back foot - Andy Rice

Port Elizabeth, South Africa (March 27, 2015) – Head-torches on, Howie Hamlin and Jeff Nelson were working another late night in the boat park, on the eve of the SAP 505 World Championships being hosted by the Algoa Bay Yacht Club on March 28-April 3.

Forced to fit out a brand new boat in record time, the former 505 World Champions are in a race against time to be ready for the first heat at midday on Algoa Bay. Hamlin wasn’t even aware of who had won the two-day Pre-Worlds which concluded yesterday, as he and Nelson, along with three local South Africans have been working round the clock to get the new boat ready for competition.

The winner of the Pre-Worlds was another team from California, Mike Holt and Carl Smit, who beat Ian Pinnell and Johannes Tellen on tie-break, with a score of 5,1 from the two races. Holt is the reigning World Champion, although he won last year’s Worlds in Germany crewed by Rob Woelfel. Now Holt sets out to claim a second world title, this time with his long-time regular crew Smit. The 2007 World Champion, Great Britain’s Pinnell, will be pleased to have settled in well with his crew for the week, Tellen, with solid scores of 4,2 from the warm-up regatta. In 3rd place were the Australians, Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh, who also racked up a consistent 3,4. Top South African team were Peter and Thomas Funke in 7th overall. Pre-Worlds results.Hamlin and Nelson tried to race in the Pre Worlds but equipment failure led to their main shroud breaking and the mast come alarmingly close to falling over the side. “Tack!” yelled Nelson to his helmsman, who responded quickly enough to get the boat on to starboard tack and keep the mast in the air. Even so, the aluminum mast had already bent, and while Hamlin managed to bounce it more or less back into alignment, it’s a less than ideal scenario for the usually meticulously-prepared, multiple World Champion from California.

It all went wrong for the team – and many other American competitors – when their shipping container was held up by a dockers’ strike in San Francisco a few weeks ago. While other notable competitors like former World Champion Mike Martin were left high and dry and forced to withdraw from the event, Hamlin at least had the option of a using a bare, brand new hull that he was already shipping from the UK to Port Elizabeth, en route to his home in California where he would have fitted out the boat at his leisure.

Instead, Hamlin decided to fit the boat out in haste in South Africa. “It was always going to be hard, but we’ve been really lucky to be helped out by Jim Foot, who lent us his garage, all his tools, and a lot of his time,” said Hamlin in the boat park this evening. “We’ve also been helped out by Andrew Blane and Ewen Hurter who’s racing in the fleet this week. It’s been five guys working solidly, a combined 200 hours over the last few days to try to get this boat ready. Couldn’t have done it without them! When it was reaching midnight I’d say it was time to get some sleep, but they never let up. There’s a great ‘can-do’ attitude here in South Africa.”

Asked if by some miracle if he could still win the Worlds, Hamlin would only reply: “Well we’re certainly on the back foot!” It will be fascinating to see what Hamlin and Nelson can accomplish this week.

The SAP 505 World Championships will be fully covered by SAP Sailing Analytics. The first three days will have live tracking and expert commentary, with the live online coverage coming in for the final three days of competition. To follow the action go to:

Story by Andy Rice,; Photos: © Christophe Favreau/SAP

Sunday, March 15, 2015

St. Francis Yacht Club Spring Dinghy - Bruce Edwards Report

The first major regatta of the season in California got off to a bang this past weekend in San Francisco. Though racing was postponed on both days, the wind filled in nicely and we were treated to summer-like conditions. Saturday was sailing in a nice 8 to 14 knots and Sunday kicked off with 10 knots from the NW building to 15-16 with puffs into the 20s according to the RC. A nice air temp in the mid 60’s capped off an amazing weekend.

Photo(s) by Chris Ray

With many of the fleets boats doing the Panama turn around instead of going to the worlds, several people borrowed boats and gear. Rob and Aaron were sailing the B boat while the beautiful new Waterat is taking a nice vacation to Panama. The northwest fleet was represented by Brain Trainor who made the 1000 mile trek south, and Davey Chatham taking time off from the Orchards of Washington. Ian O’leary and Dan Esdorn made great showings. Tim Murphy made it out on Sunday after nursing a sick kid on Saturday.

We felt bad that so many of our compatriots are suffering with sub zero temps and snow on the same weekend on the east coast, well not that bad ;-) We had a nice turn out of 12 boats and the racing was really tight, with the exception of Mike and Rob who seemed to be racing themselves on Saturday, as they took 3 bullets on the day. The racing was on the Bravo Course just to the west of Alcatraz. The rest of the fleet had some really close racing. Jeff Miller and Pat Diola pulled out a nice finish in race 1 in 2nd as past WC Mike Martin and Adam Lowry forgot to drop their chute at the last bottom mark. Bruce & Dave pulled off a 3rd, closely following by Bob and Rich, & JB and Tommy. Race 2 & 3 were held in nice steady building westerly. Race 2 showed an amazing comeback from zero to hero by Bob and Rich when the found nice current hard left on the last beat taking a well earned 2nd, closely followed by Bruce and Dave, and JB and Tommy.

Photo(s) by Chris Ray

On Sunday, Mike and Rob decided to race with the rest of us. The day dawned looking like no wind and with the time change it was looking grim, but the bay didn’t disappoint and a nice westerly that built all day began to fill in.  Jeff and Pat nailed the start then proceeded to sail inside Anita Rock and then round the top mark the wrong way, earning a nice discard in the process. Race 4 had the breeze building from the gate, and probably the tightest racing of the weekend. The race finish was a nail biter and saw the top 4 boats finish within 15 seconds, Mike and Adam got the win in the race, with JB & Tommy sailing a great race and getting a 2nd. They were closely followed by Mike & Rob in 3rd and Bob and Rich in 4th. Race 5 was again another close one with Mike & Adam getting the gun, closely followed by Mike & Rob, JB & Tommy, and Bruce and Dave. Race 6 saw an nice big puffs off the city front pushing into the 20 knot range at times, and Rob & Mike got back on it after a close race and took the win. Jeff Miller & Pat came back and repeated race 1 by taking 2nd, closely followed by Mike & Adam, and JB & Tommy.

Overall, Mike & Rob, won the event, followed by Mike & Adam, and Bruce & Dave / JB & Tommy tied on points for 3rd. Complete results below.

Photo(s) by Chris Ray

Next up on the schedule is the Worlds for those lucky enough to attend. Followed by the “Thrilla in Cabrillo” on April 25-26th at LAYC, and The Elvstrom/Zellerbach on May 2-3 at StFYC.

1 Rob Woelfel, Mike Holt Santa Cruz YC 9115 IO Integration
2 Adam Lowry, Mike Martin NHYC / StFYC 8714 greenie (Boat #8554)
3 David Shelton, Bruce Edwards StFYC 9073 Dog n Pony Rides Again
4 Tommy Fink, JB Turney StFYC 9042 Stimulus Package
5 Rich Mundell, Robert Tennant RVicYC CAN8970
6 Pat Diola, Jeff Miller SCYC 9082 Miracle (Boat #7875)
7 Ben Glass, David Chatham Bird Dog YC 8786
8 Rob Waterman, Aaron Ross Santa Cruz Yacht Club 8084 Rob's Old Boat
9 Chris Pittack, Brian Trainor Kitsilano Yacht Club CAN8755 Banshee
10 Geoff Gales, Tim Murphy TISC 8937
11 Chris Burleson, Ian O'leary BYC 7069 Tiburon
12 Ashley Lyon, Dan Esdorn StFYC 8931 Duesentrieb