Forbes continues dominance of San Juan 24 championships / Sailing

Oak Harbor’s Dave Steckman and crew guide Renaissance around a buoy. (Photo by Jan Anderson/Jan’s Marine Photography)

The Oak Harbor Yacht Club may want to get ahead of the game and engrave Ryan Forbes’ name on the first-place trophy of the 2019 North American San Juan 24 Championship regatta.

Forbes, from Orcas Island, skippered Ekona Juan to its fourth North American title in five years during the 2018 championship event last weekend in Oak Harbor. The one year Forbes didn’t win the championship, 2015, he “slipped” to second.

Forbes dominated the regatta this year, winning eight of the 11 races held during the two-day event.

Of the three he didn’t win, two were claimed by Oak Harbor’s Dave Steckman aboard Renaissance.

Steckman, after taking fourth overall the past two years, climbed to third this summer.

Seattle’s Kenneth Johnson, skippering Grauer Geist, finished second; he had the only other individual race win.

Johnson powered his way to second place on the strength of finishing second in three of the 11 races and third in four others.

Steckman was second twice and third twice and never posted a finish below sixth.

Bellingham’s Mike Kleps on Bruce and Seattle’s Mark Bradner aboard Return nabbed fourth and fifth in the overall standings.

In all, 15 boats competed.

Two other Oak Harbor skippers took part: Steve Hucke and Separator finished 13th, and Allan Wilson and Toto took 15th. Both were competing in the championship regatta for the first time.

Hucke’s top finish was ninth; Wilson’s best mark was 11th.

“Perfect sunny skies with steady breezes and stiff competition made for an incredible weekend of racing,” Steckman, who doubled as the race chairman, said. “It was great to see 15 boats on the start line this weekend. There were many lead changes among the top five competitors in each race.

“Racers not only had to battle for clean air, they had to navigate through some strong currents due to the extreme tidal changes this weekend. Many boats were a quick study to the changing conditions and found the side of the race course that gave them the best advantage.”

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