Kent Morrow

Kent and Gina

Kent and Gina Morrow

The chief measurer and immediate past-president of the Ultimate 20 Class Association and his former collegiate skiing champion wife, Gina, used to live on a boat which they sailed to Hawaii and back, but finally sold it and bought a house. After working for West Marine in California and Washington Kent now runs his own business, Mad Dog Marine in Anacortes, Washington. .In 1995 they decided they wanted a small trailerable sailboat that the two of them could easily handle and race. After grinding through the numbers on all the potential boats on the market, but having never test sailed or seen one other than in magazines and brochures, they purchased Ultimate 20 hull #21.

After a long first season of frustration, they learned not to listen to advice from other sailors. Since it was a sporty new little boat, they discovered lots of people who wanted to crew with them and tell them how to sail it. They found out that it didn’t sail like a J/24, C&C 34, or a Cal 25! Of course not, it is nothing like those boats. Even the Melges 24s have a different jibe angle down wind. 

So they just quit listening to people and started sailing the boat by the seat of their pants—back to basics—"if we pull this in tighter, we go faster...ohhhh." At the first Nationals in 1995 in St. Petersburg, Florida, they sailed against other Ultimate 20s for the first time. They found that everyone was helpful in sharing ideas and talking about what seemed to make the boats sail better, and say that they learned more about the boat in three days of one-design racing than they had learned after an entire season of PHRF sailing. Kent and Gina have raced in all five U20 National Championships so far, placing third on Tampa Bay, second at Hurricane Gulch (after leading at the end of the first day there), fourth at Pensacola and third at Eugene, Oregon before sailing Mad Dog to the 1999 national championship in Little Rock.

Morrows_mast.jpg (15911 bytes)
Gina and Kent stepping Mad dog's mast at
the 1997 Harvest Regatta in Eugene
Before he was elected Ultimate 20 Class Association President in 1997, Kent served as the  Northwest District Chairman, where he and the current District Chairman, Bob Aman, have succeeded in getting U20s together for one-design racing several times a year, on Fern Ridge Reservoir near Eugene, Oregon. Four U20s raced in the first Memorial Day Regatta there in 1997, after surviving a hailstorm that struck during the first race. At the Eugene Yacht Club’s Harvest Regatta there in September 1997 over half of the U20s in the district raced and for the first time in the United States Ultimate 20s started as a one-design class in a multiclass regatta. And by 1999 over half of the boats in the area raced in the Eugene Memorial Day Regatta, to make the Ultimate 20 class, with nine boats on the starting line, the second largest fleet entered and provide a most fitting tribute to Kent's leadership!