Please select your home edition
Edition
CoastWaterSports 2014

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

Change of fortune needed for rookie 18' Skiff team
Birkenhead Point Marina campaign suffers from bad luck As the championship end of the 2020-2021 Australian 18ft Skiff Racing Season moves toward the JJ Giltinan world Championship on Sydney Harbour in March, one team looking for a change of fortune is Birkenhead Point Marina. Posted on 22 Jan
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Final Race
Re-sail of Race 2 decides the title on Sydney Harbour The tech2 team of Jack Macartney, Charlie Wyatt and Lewis Brake became the 2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff champion following an impressive all-the-way victory in today's re-sail of Race 2 of the championship on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 17 Jan
2020-21 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship Final preview
Sunday's final race on Sydney Harbour will decide who wins the title Next Sunday's final race to decide the 2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship should be a dramatic race as the defending champion Winning Group team goes head-to-head with the current Australian champion tech2 team on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 15 Jan
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Race 5
Racing resumes after the Christmas-New Year annual break Racing resumed today, after the annual break over the Christmas-New Year period, when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted race 5 of the 2020-2021 NSW 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 10 Jan
18ft Skiffs back on Sydney Harbour this week
For Race 5 of the 2020-2021 NSW Championship The 18ft Skiff fleet will be back on Sydney Harbour this Sunday when the Australian 18 Footers League will conduct the 4th race (Race 5) of the 2020-2021 NSW Championship. Posted on 7 Jan
18ft Skiffs: An ideal racing partnership
A reason for 128-year success of 18ft skiff racing is the competitors' attitude towards the sport Two of reasons for the incredible 128-year success of 18ft Skiff Racing on Sydney Harbour are the competitors' attitude towards the sport and the clubs which have conducted the racing Posted on 3 Jan
New sponsor, new team for the 18 Footers
Lazarus Capital Partners link up with one of the new, young teams Lazarus Capital Partners, the latest sponsor to join the strong Australian 18 Footers League's fleet, has linked up with one of the new, young teams setting out on their challenge to become one of the best on Sydney Harbour. Posted on 23 Dec 2020
18ft Skiffs: Busy Time Ahead for Noakesailing Team
Crew members prepare JJ Giltinan and Rolex Sydney Hobart The next three months will be a busy time for the Noakesailing 18ft Skiff Racing team as crew members prepare for a Sydney-Hobart Race campaign, the JJ Giltinan while still maintaining the Noakes Group business activity during the present difficult time. Posted on 17 Dec 2020
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Race 4
The great racing action continues on Sydney Harbour The 2020-2021 NSW Championship continued to produce some of the best 18ft Skiff action seen on Sydney Harbour for several seasons when the defending champion Winning Group team hung on grimly to score a narrow win. Posted on 13 Dec 2020
18ft Skiff NSW Championship Update
Decison still pending on abandoned race 2 With a decision still pending about the outcome of the abandoned Race 2 of the NSW 18ft Skiff Championship, the series is in an unusually unclear position as it goes into Race 4 on Sydney Harbour next Sunday. Posted on 10 Dec 2020