Mark Bradner and Return (39166) is the first to the bouy in the North American San Juan 24 championships. (Photo by Steve Hucke)

Oak Harbor skippers finish fourth in North American Championships

Oak Harbor skippers Dave Steckman and Bill Walker placed fourth and seventh, respectively, in the San Juan 24 North American Championships hosted by the Oak Harbor Yacht Club last weekend.

Twelve boats competed in the waters off Oak Harbor and in Penn Cove in the regatta for the 24-foot San Juan, a versatile boat built from 1972 to 1981 in Auburn.

Ryan Forbes of Orcas Island aboard Ekono Juan won his second consecutive title, followed by Bellingham’s Mike Kleps (Bruce) and Seattle’s Mark Bradner (Return). Bradner took second in 2016.

Kleps held a slight lead over Forbes heading into Sunday’s action, then Forbes won two of the final three races to claim the overall crown.

Steckman, racing Renaissance, repeated his fourth-place finish of last summer. Walker placed sixth a year ago.

Steckman also served as race coordinator for the OHYC, which hosted the event for the seventh consecutive year.

“The regatta was a success,” he said. “The weather was perfect for an incredible championship weekend.”

Six races were held Saturday and three Sunday. Forbes recorded three firsts and three seconds in the nine races and finished with 15 points; Kleps tallied 21.

Steckman won the final race and added one second and one third on the way to 32 points and the fourth-place finish.

Walker and Ehu Kai’s best finishes were one second and one third.

“We had an amazing two-day weather slot with warm breezes and blue skies,” Walker said. “It was a little frustrating waiting for the wind to come up both days, but when it did, the racing was as hot as the weather.

“In the midst of the fierce competition, our judges reported that after nine races in two days there was not a single protest. Great sportsmanship and camaraderie abounds among this group of sailors.”

Steve Hucke photo Melissa Davies on Miss Mayhem (422), center, leads the way in one of the races this weekend. Ryan Forbes won the North American title for the second straight year.

Steve Hucke photo Melissa Davies on Miss Mayhem (422), center, leads the way in one of the races this weekend. Ryan Forbes won the North American title for the second straight year.

Dave Steckman on Renaissance, center, and Bill Walker on Ehu Kai, right, finished fourth and seventh, repectively, in this weekend’s regatta. (Photo by Steve Hucke)

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