News and Ink


Lindsay Hopper wins first Melges 24 race

November, 2009.  "Gnatster" had a very special skipper on board for the November RCYC Melges 24 Fleet regatta   Lindsay Hopper took the helm for all three races and scored a 1st and two 3rds and ended up 2nd overall in the six boat fleet.  The highlight of the day was when "Gnatster" finished just ahead of Ryan Glaze's "Gringo" to take first place in the first race.  That race also included a down hill run top speed of 14.2kts.  Not bad for a 14 year old! 


Gnat Girls do J22 NA's

October, 2009.  When asked how the Gnat ended up 28th out of 37 boats, Mary Anne gave us this tidbit of wisdom; "Hitting boats and doing circles at the start of races is not a good thing and it gets you dizzy."  Another lesson learned.  Too bad it took the Gnat crew multiple times to confirm it!  At least the girls held up the reputation as the funnest crew around.  "Winning the keg" has always been a Team Super Gnat tradition!   The official  results can be found on the J22 website here






Super Gnat Wins SD NOOD

March 2009.  Super Gnat went into the NOOD regatta weekend with a pieced together crew and a hope to not be much of an embarrassment.  But after posting a 1, 1, 2 on Saturday and the eventual cancellation of racing on Sunday due to weather making the outside course unusable, SG walked away with the overall win in the 40.7 class.  Good job guys.  A win is a win.


Gnew Species of Gnat Discovered!!

Gnatster Joins the Fleet.

October, 2008.  After months of bar-bragging, Porsche trading and drunken promises, we purchased a beautiful used Melges 24 (Hull #131 formerly named "Karma") from George Roland in San Diego.  She arrived safely on the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard in Heath, Texas in late August.  We are very excited to start learning the boat and get racing with the Gulf Coast M24 Fleet.  We expect better photos of the boat out racing soon, but for now you can enjoy the photos we have as well as a cool "Sunday Sail" video here:

Gnatster Photos

Gnatster Video


SD to PV Race:  Super Gnat Wins Division 4

March 2, 2008.  The race started with plenty of drama for the Gnat.  Kelp, aircraft carriers, more kelp and stiff southerly headwinds kept the crew very busy for the first 48 hours.   But we managed to keep the boat moving well enough to hold off most of the big boats until we reached Cabo.  The last two days across the mouth of the Sea of Cortez were tough.  The Gnat eased across the finish line just before sunset on Thursday a few hours ahead of Dennis Connor and Stars & Stripes.  Finishing 1st in Division 4 and 5th Overall in IRC (9th in ORR).

More results info can be seen here:  SDYC PV Race Website

Also, we have set up a photo page with some great shots from the race here:  PV Photo Page



Gnat Gearing Up for J22 NA's

September, 2009.    Mary Anne has put together an all-star crew and will be doing the J22 North American Championship Regatta right here in our own backyard.  An international fleet of over 60 boats is expected to fill the harbor at Rush Creek Yacht Club during the week of September 27th through October 2.  (The official website is here.).  Mary Anne will be joined on the Gnat by Melissa Hemker, Virginia Hannan and Stacey Szabo. 

The fun starts the weekend of the 25th and 26th as both the Gnat and the Gnatster are entered in the George Griffith Regatta at RCYC.  This will be the Southwest Circuit Regatta and tune up race for the J22s.  It also serves as a Gulf Coast Circuit regatta for the Melges 24s (Hopefully, we will get some good photos of the Gnatster out doing it's thing!). will try to keep y'all updated.  More info can also be found at

August 2005


We did it.  We managed to overcome fickle winds, cold wet nights, equipment failures, speeding container ships, spinnaker tearing round-ups, family squabbles, squall driven winds and squall driven doldrums, hair pulling lulls and hair raising speeds to deliver the Gnat to Waikiki in fine fashion.  3rd in class!  We did the Gnat proud.

The boat handled all conditions better than expect.  The Beneteau 40.7 is a fast, stable and forgiving design.  We saw winds ranging from 0 knots just after the start to 41 knots while screaming across the Molokai Channel.  The Gnat reveled in the extreme conditions. This heavy displacement hull was able to surf and maintain longer than expected rides in the 10-13 knot range. The recorded high speed was 15.4 knots.

The official time on course was just over 13 days.  Not bad considering we gave away the first day and a half wallowing around the Southern California Islands.  In the end, we were outmatched by two boats.  The double-handed and well sailed Hobie 33 "Soap Opera" flat out kicked the Gnats posterior and the Express 37 "Brown Sugar" who positioned themselves perfectly to nip us at the end. 

As for the crew, we are very happy with our performance and feel this crazy dream and long planned campaign was successful one.

To see a few photos from the race, please click here.

To see all the results, click here:

NOTE:  The Gnat returned safely to her slip on Sunday August 21 to a throng of cheering friends and family.

July 2005


Super Gnat will be racing in the 43rd Biennial Transpacific Yacht Race. This is the 100th year of the race that starts in Long Beach, California and ends in Waikiki, Hawaii. The Gnat will do the 2,225 mile race with a crew of six.

This race will be an enormous family effort. Cliff Thompson, owner and skipper of Super Gnat is also the father of three of the Transpac crew members. Daughters Agnes Luster and Mary Anne Hopper and son Frank Thompson have sailed with their father on family owned boats since they could walk. The remainder of the Transpac crew is rounded out by Thompson's son-in-law John Hopper and Andy Folz. Folz, being the only non-family member, will have the unenvious job of referee!

The Transpac start for Super Gnat will be on July 11th.

Click here for more info on Transpac:



December 2004

San Diego Union Tribune - Tuesday, December 7, 2004


Latest Super Gnat is Super

Sloop owns three major titles in less than a year.

If Cliff Thompson wanted to restrict his sailing to the coastal waters between Marina Del Rey and San Diego, there would have been no reason to trade in his Schock 35 sloop Super Gnat. 

After all, that Super Gnat earned the coveted Boat of the Year honors at San Diego Yacht Club last year for sweeping nearly all the events in the local Performance Handicap Racing Fleet season.

"But I wanted to do more distance racing" Thompson said yesterday. "And to do that, I needed to jump up to a bigger boat."

Last June, Thompson christened his third boat to carry the distinctive Super Gnat logo - a Beneteau 40.7.

And the Super Gnat operation, which is largely a family program, picked up right where Super Gnat II left off. Thompson recently won the first 40.7 Southern California Championships, beating four other San Diego-based sloops.

But Thompson has bigger plans for his newest - and largest - boat.

He plans to enter the centennial Transpacific Race next summer, then sail the boat in San Francisco's annual Big Boat Series. Then off to a Mexican resort in SDYC's biennial long-distance race.

Thompson's sloop has won three major titles since it was launched, including it's class of the local PHRF Area G Championships.

But Super Gnat is far from the only Beneteau 40.7 doing well in local waters.  Warren Gross of SDYC won Class 3 of the local PHRF's season championships in his Silhouette. Second was Mike Honeysett's Wiki Wiki from SDYC.

Wiki Wiki was sedcond in the Beneteau 40.7 Southern California Championships with Silhouette third.

"They are great all-around boats," Thompson said of the Bruce Farr Design. "They are cruisers that are racers.  What I wanted was a larger boat with an interior that I could sail comfortably in longer races.

"You can buy an all -out race boat with no interior, but that doesn't work so well when you are taking the grandchildren to Catalina."

A 66-year-old widower and retired civil servant, Thompson got into sailing at age 29 when he purchased a Columbia 22 name Agnes III.  It was the first of eight boats to be sailed by the Thompson family.

"You're going to ask me to name them all?" Thompson joked yesterday of the lineage of the Thompson fleet.  The Columbia 26 Pixie followed Agnes III and was followed by a Cal 27 also named Pixie.  Thompson then briefly owned a Thunderbird sloop before buying the Ranger 29 Lone Rangere.  His next boat was the Santana 30/30 Super Gnat, which was also a local fleet champion.

Thompson is not exactly a boat jumper. He owned his Schock 35 for 13 years. "When I bought that boat, the Schock 35 was a great fleet," said Thompson. "There were 30 boats in Southern California and 13 or 14 in San Diego.  By the time I decided to get the Beneteau, the local fleet was down to about five boats."

Thompson hasn't had to look very hard for a crew over the years.  Son Frank and daughters Agnes (Luster) and Mary Anne (Hopper) have sailed with their dad since they could walk. Son-in-law John Hopper is also a member of his current crew.  "Frank has developed into one of the area's top bowmen," Thompson said proudly.

The rest of his crew is led by tactician Andy Folz and Betty Sue Sherman. "Beyond that, we have a lot of people who help us.  When we go to Hawaii, we'll have six on the boat. But we could have had a hundred."

- Bill Center, Writer.  San Diego Union Tribune