Bill Beaver and I go way back; got to be close to 30 years now. Bill gravitates to tricky, hard to sail dinghies. He's mastered the International Canoe; he's proficient at the foiler Moth; he's blasted around on 505's and International 14's. Over the years, we've been involved together in many wacko sailing projects but this is one I have nothing to do with; it's all Bill.
In search of a new tippy dinghy challenge, Bill worked out a trade so he is now the owner of an Australian 18 foot skiff. Admittedly an old style Aussie 18, circa 1980's (correction - 90's vintage - see comments), but still an intimidating, powerful beast of a sailing dinghy. Any sailor browsing YouTube can't help but come across videos of 18's with three trapezing crew and assymetric spin careening across Sydney Harbor.
Bill's got a young family and the 18 has languished in his yard for most of the summer. Bill decided to enter the 18 in the Annapolis to Galesville distance race on the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Traditionally, this down the bay race was used as a feeder for the West River SC Labor Day regatta; but today it's mostly WRSC fleets, Chesapeake 20's, Flying Scots and the high powered catamarans, that are making the trek up to Annapolis and then racing back to West River.
I and a small cast of onlookers were there on the North Severn to watch the rigging and wait for the launch of this rare beast for these parts. I got the chance to take some pictures.......................
View of the 18 foot skiff with the sails up.
View of the 18 foot skiff from the transom
Big George Saunders and Bill Beaver rigging...........
A video of the launch.
Bill got the assymetric up at the start and was looking good bombing out of the harbor, but bit the dust shortly after gybing towards Thomas Point. The bottom of the mainsail tore in half during the capsize so Bill returned to Annapolis.
Breckenridge, Colorado, May 26, 2017
21 hours ago