Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

18ft Skiffs: Dave Porter, the unluckiest champion

by Frank Quealey 3 Jul 2020 22:44 PDT
Hard driving by Dave Porter and his team © Frank Quealey

David Porter became the 1975 JJ Giltinan world 18ft Skiff champion when he skippered KB to a brilliant victory on the Brisbane River, but fortune didn't always smile on the great sailor. Aside from the lone 1975 victory, David was runner-up on five other occasions between 1973 and 1979.

Despite his lack of good fortune in some of the regattas, David doesn't complain and simply says how ecstatic he was to win the 1975 championship with team mates Bob Ferris and Bob Tearne.

"It was the first time any of our crew had won the championship so it was very special to each of us. We knew we had a good boat and crew and we prepared thoroughly for the regatta on the Brisbane River."

"We capsized in Race 1 and finished only seventh, but we soon got back on track and won the remaining four races of the regatta. We partied hard and long afterwards."

While David was reluctant to say he had bad luck, the fact remains, on at least two occasions it was a matter of how he lost, in 1977 and 1978.

Any recall of his career in the 18s should focus more on the positives of a wonderful career. In nine seasons, he was six times in the top two placings at Giltinan Championships.

Aside from his results at the Giltinan Championship, David Porter won three Australian Championships, five NSW Championships and numerous Club Championships with the two Sydney 18 Footer clubs.

Like many 18 Footer champions, David joined the class in the 1970-1971 Season after winning the Inter-Dominion 12ft Skiff Championships with Aussie in 1966 and 1967.

With financial help from his father (David, senior) his first 18ft Skiff also carried the Aussie name, which was the name carried by his father on his successful 12 Footer in 1930.

The Aussie hull was designed by John Chapple and beautifully built from cedar veneer by Ian Perdriau. The bare hull, including decks and buoyancy tanks, weighed 170 lbs.

Although Aussie won two races at the 1971 Giltinan regatta in Auckland, unfavourable conditions resulted in two DNFs, which proved too costly in the overall result.

The following year, the family business supported the campaign and the boat raced as Porter Marine.

It wasn't until the 1972-1973 Season before KB came along to support his campaign.

Although he doesn't admit it, Dave Porter and KB was an awesome combination over the next six years.

The 1977 and 1978 JJ Giltinan world Championships must make him wonder about luck, and what might have been.

With a lead of 5 half minutes over Iain Murray (his nearest rival in the championship) at the final rounding mark at Auckland in 1977, Porter and the rest of the fleet elected to sail a safety-first course to the finish in a 20-knot northerly wind and big seas.

Realising he had nothing to lose, Murray pulled off the 'impossible' when he decided to sail the direct course to the finish and grabbed the title away from Porter.

As if that defeat wasn't bad enough, the following year Porter was incredibly unlucky before losing to Murray in a sail-off on the Brisbane River.

After taking a strong grip on the series with wins in each of the first two races, Porter's KB suffered a broken mast in Race 5 and was forced to use a borrowed rig in the sail-off.

KB took an early lead, but when Iain Murray's team set a brand new super-lightweight spinnaker on Color 7, the KB crew could do nothing but watch as Color 7 sailed past to victory.

Regardless of his Giltinan Championship disappointments, during the 1970s, David proved himself to be one of the greatest 18 Footer sailors in the sport's history and, in his gold-coloured KB skiffs, was The King of Sydney Harbour.

Related Articles

Vaucluse Amateur 12ft SC - Pathway to 18 footers
It's a link which goes back almost 100 years When nine times JJ Giltinan world 18 footer champion Seve Jarvin recently presented the prizes to the junior sailors of the Vaucluse Amateur 12 Foot Sailing Club, he was not only returning to his former club. Posted today at 4:04 am
18ft Skiffs: John 'Woody' Winning, 70 years young
The legendary 18ft Skiff champion celebrates his birthday this week Australian 18 Footers League President and legendary 18ft Skiff champion John 'Woody' Winning celebrates his 70th birthday this week but you would never know it as the dynamic 'Woody' prepares for his 38th season of 18 footers racing on Sydney Harbour Posted on 19 Jun
18ft Skiff Mark Foy Trophy 2022 set for Lake Garda
Named after the 'father' of the class on Sydney Harbour back in 1892 When the 2022 Mark Foy Trophy international 18 footer skiff regatta is contested on Lake Garda, Italy from July 18-20, it will become the 14th regatta of the championship series to honour the name of the man who was the 'father' of the class. Posted on 15 Jun
Jamie Mears, 18 footers lose a champion
Following a tragic mountain bike accident in Italy last month The 18 footers class lost one of its champion sailors last month when UK and European champion Jamie Mears lost his life following a tragic mountain bike accident in Italy. Posted on 5 Jun
18ft Skiffs: David Witt 'ticks all the boxes'
There is a lot more to the David Witt story than many people know For 130 years 18 footer sailors have been regarded as talented larrikins who like to challenge the elements, go fast, win at all costs, have a drink and place a bet on the races. Posted on 25 May
18ft Skiffs: Gambling on the 18s
A unique part of the sport has been the gambling which has gone hand-in-hand with the sailing The nature of the boats and the men who have sailed them over the past 130 years always made 18-footer racing unique in the sailing/yachting world and one of the unique parts of the sport has been the gambling which has gone hand-in-hand with the sport. Posted on 11 May
Myra Too & Bill Barnett
Two great 18-footer champions Champion 18 footer skipper, designer and boat builder Bill Barnett won the 1948-49 Australian Championship on Sydney Harbour in a 6ft beam boat he designed and built himself, named Myra. Posted on 4 May
Christophe Favreau loves the 18ft Skiffs
French photographer made it down under to cover the world's biggest annual 18 footer event Christophe Favreau believed that he probably wasn't going to make it to Sydney for the JJ Giltinan 18 footer Championship in 2022 because of the Covid restrictions, which were being placed on international arrivals into Australia at that time. Posted on 27 Apr
18ft Skiffs: William 'Bill' Fisher
Master boat builder, champion skipper William 'Bill' Fisher was a foundation member of the League and sailed his boat Australia in the club's first. Posted on 17 Apr
The 2021-22 League 18 Footer Season review
A very successful racing season has come to an end When the Smeg team with Charmaine Hill on board won last Sunday-week's Queen of the Harbour race on Sydney Harbour, it brought a very successful Australian 18 Footers League 2021-22 racing season to an end. Posted on 30 Mar
Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px2 BOTTOMDoyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOMSea Sure 2021 - RED - FOOTER