Please select your home edition
Edition
Sea Sure 2021 - FLO - LEADERBOARD

18ft Skiffs: Dave Porter, the unluckiest champion

by Frank Quealey 4 Jul 2020 06:44 BST
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

18ft Skiffs: Andoo sets the benchmark
A polished performance in difficult wind conditions in the NSW Championship opener The Andoo team of John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton have set a high benchmark to the rest of the 18 footer fleet competing in the NSW Championship, following a polished performance in very difficult wind conditions on Sydney Harbour last Sunday. Posted on 30 Nov
NSW 18ft skiff Championship Race 1
Championship season begins on Sydney Harbour The 18 footers 2022-23 championship season began today when the Australian 18 Footers League staged Race 1 of the NSW Championship in a mainly 8-10 knot North East wind on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 27 Nov
NSW 18ft skiff Championship starts Sunday
The first step of a long campaign towards becoming the world's best team Sunday's Race 1 of the NSW 18ft skiff Championship is the first step of a long campaign towards becoming the world's best team at the 2023 JJ Giltinan Championship next March on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 23 Nov
18ft Skiff Spring Championship race 7
Final race abandoned as 30-35 knot winds batter Sydney Harbour The Yandoo 18ft skiff team of John Winning, Fang Warren & Josh Porebski became the 2022-23 Spring champions after 30-35 knot westerly winds battering Sydney Harbour forced the abandonment of today's scheduled final race of the Spring Championship series. Posted on 20 Nov
Yandoo set to take 18ft Skiff Spring Championship
John 'Woody' Winning-led team has taken an almost unbeatable lead The John 'Woody' Winning-led Yandoo team of sheet hand Fang Warren and bowman Josh Porebski has taken an almost unbeatable lead in the Australian 18 Footers League Spring Championship as the fleet prepares to line up in next Sunday's final race Posted on 16 Nov
18ft Skiff Spring Championship races 5 & 6
Wins for Rag & Famish Hotel and Yandoo Races 5 and 6 of the Australian 18 Footers League's 2022-23 Spring Championship were sailed over two windward-leeward 3-buoys courses, on Sydney Harbour today and resulted in wins for Rag & Famish Hotel and Yandoo. Posted on 13 Nov
Latest 18ft Skiff for Rag & Famish Hotel
Launched at the Australian 18 Footers League clubhouse in Double Bay The latest in a line of Rag & Famish Hotel 18ft skiffs, dating back to 1996, was launched in the rigging area alongside the Australian 18 Footers League clubhouse in Double Bay on Sunday October 30 and continues the unbroken. Posted on 9 Nov
18ft Skiff Spring Championship race 4
Noakes Youth team come from behind to take Eric Bowen Memorial Trophy The Noakes Youth team of Tom Cunich, George Richardson and Jed Cruikshank took full advantage of the 3-buoys handicap system to come from behind over the final lap of the course and take out Race 4 of the 18 footer Spring Championship on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 6 Nov
18ft Skiff Spring Champs reach half-way mark
On Sunday when the Australian 18 Footers League conducts Race 4 The 2022-23 Spring 18ft skiff Championship reaches the half-way mark on Sunday (November 6) when the Australian 18 Footers League conducts Race 4 of the seven-race series, for the Eric Bowen Memorial Trophy, on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 2 Nov
18ft Skiff Spring Championship race 3
Racing for the Mick Scully Memorial Trophy on Sydney Harbour The first championship-style race of the 2022-23 Australian 18 Footers League season was sailed on Sydney Harbour today in a 10-15 knot North east breeze and was won by the classy Andoo team of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton. Posted on 30 Oct