Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90
Product Feature
Allen 30mm Dynamic Tii-On Block
Allen 30mm Dynamic Tii-On Block

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 Skiff Club Championship resumes on Sunday
The fleet will be back on Sydney Harbour for the President's Trophy Conditions on Days 1 and 2 of last week's Australian 18ft Skiff Championship set up what could have been one of the best finishes to the title for several years, but unfortunately it was marred by a lack of wind on the final day. Posted on 1 Feb
18ft Skiff Australian Championship overall
No racing was completed on Sydney Harbour today The Finport Finance team of Keagan York, Angus Williams and Phil Marshall became the 2022-23 Australian 18ft Skiff champion after a controversial day when no racing was completed on Sydney Harbour today. Posted on 29 Jan
18ft Skiff Australian Championship Races 3 & 4
Producing some of the best, action-packed, speed sailing for the spectators Races 3 and 4 of Australian 18ft Skiff Championship were conducted over two windward-leeward courses in NE winds which ranged between 10 and 22 knots on Sydney Harbour today and produced some of the best, action-packed, speed sailing for the spectators. Posted on 28 Jan
18ft Skiff Australian Championship Races 1 & 2
Finport Finance start the event strongly on Sydney Harbour Racing on Day 1 of the 2022-23 Australian 18ft Skiff Championship was conducted over two two-lap windward-leeward courses in a 10-12 SSE wind on Sydney Harbour today and it was the new Finport Finance skiff which took the overall honours. Posted on 27 Jan
NSW 18ft skiff Championship overall
Andoo team officially becomes the 2022-23 NSW 18ft Skiff Champions The Andoo team of John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton officially became the 2022-23 NSW 18ft Skiff champions after today's final race of the championship was cancelled due to zero wind on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 22 Jan
18 Footer Championship Season 'hots up'
Sunday's final race of the NSW Championship still holds tremendous importance Although the Andoo team of John Winning Jr, Seve Jarvin and Sam Newton have already secured a victory in the 2022-23 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship, Sunday's final race of the championship still holds tremendous importance for all the leading teams Posted on 18 Jan
NSW 18ft skiff Championship Race 4
John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Matt Stenta wrap up the series win The Andoo 18ft Skiff team of John Winning Jr., Seve Jarvin and Matt Stenta, wrapped up the 2022-23 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship after finishing in third place in today's action-packed Race 4 of the title on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 15 Jan
NSW 18ft Skiff Championship returns this Sunday
The story of John 'Woody' Winning and his son continues on Sydney Harbour The incredible story of John 'Woody' Winning and his son John 'Herman' Winning Jr. continues on Sydney Harbour this Sunday when the two skippers lead their teams in the quest to win the 2022-23 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship. Posted on 11 Jan
18ft Skiffs: High achiever in an era of champions
Hugh Stodart is a champion skipper whose statistical record doesn't truly reflect his talent Hugh Stodart is one of those champion 18 footer skippers whose statistical record doesn't truly reflect his talent and successes, and therefore doesn't get the recognition that his performances in the 18s really deserves. Posted on 4 Jan
18ft Skiffs: Rides, capsizes and other incidents
Occasionally the competitors get thrown off their out-of-control beasts The competitors racing the 18ft skiffs each weekend in the Australian 18 Footers League's fleet on Sydney Harbour are very talented and prepared to go ten-tenths to claim the big prize. Posted on 21 Dec 2022