Lew GUNN is the eldest of the Masters racing this weekend in the St Francis Yacht Club annual International Masters Regatta. With an age minimum of 60 for skippers, and 45 for crew, this invitational regatta gets more popular each year.
It is hosted annually by the St. Francis Yacht Club and has drawn several of the world's legendary sailors including Paul ELVSTRÖM, Pelle PETTERSON, Roy DICKSON, Bruce KIRBY, Chris BOUZAID, Lowell NORTH and two-time winner John JENNINGS - just to name a few. The 2003 Class includes Petterson and Lars-Erik MOLSE from Sweden, Double winner Jennings, and San Franciscans Bruce MUNRO, Terry ANDERLINI, John SCARBOROUGH, and event founder Don TRASK.
The event is sailed in J/105s; rotating boats each day. Seventeen generous Fleet One owners lend the use of their yachts for the championship and in turn get to sail with three of these prestigious individuals and their respective teams. Racing gets underway today (Friday) with two races, two races on Saturday, and one final race on Sunday. Spectators can view the racing from the Marina Green and Crissy Field in San Francisco.
Bruce MUNRO is skippering for his ninth time. "I crewed for Don TRASK 5 or 6 times before becoming old enough to skipper. I have skippered each year since 1993 except one year when they scheduled the event the same week as my daughters wedding."
Munro had to replace one crew this week, as "Paul HEINEKEN was supposed to crew for me, but hurt his back."
Heineken says "I stayed uninjured all summer sailing a kid's boat, a 29er, then a week prior to the Master's I fell apart."
Regatta founder and chairman Don TRASK has crewed in four, and skippered 20 times. His goal for this weekend is "to have fun and do well"
. Jaren LEET, owner of Irrational Again says his goal is "to be the best possible crew for my three Master Skippers"
Peggy PATRICK, who will be sailing in her fourth Masters enjoys the regatta because "after so many years of active sailing in Etchells, J-24 and Express 27 fleets, this is the one event where I see so many of my old friends and competitors. It's always like a reunion."
Founded in 1927, St. Francis Yacht Club, within view of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a year-round host of over 40 regattas on San Francisco Bay. The club is renowned for its expertise in running world and national championships, including the 2003 Melges 24 Worlds, J/105 and Star North American Championships.