DETROIT, Mich. (August 18, 2019) — Allie Blecher (Long Beach, Calif.) won the 17th U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship with a 2-0 victory over Giselle Camet Nyenhuis (San Diego, Calif.) in Sunday’s Final.
Blecher, the 2010 Quantum Collegiate Female Sailor of the Year and a member of the US Sailing Team in 2013, won the Allegra Knapp Mertz Trophy for the first time in her second attempt. She finished runner-up in last year’s championship held in San Francisco. This year she won an abbreviated final that was reduced to a best-of-three from a best-of-five due to thunderstorms in the Detroit area.
Long Beach, Calif., August 11, 2019 – Dustin Durant continued his winning streak today and locked in his place at the US Match Racing Championship Finals at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco this October 3 through October 6.
After a 3-year hiatus from match racing, Durant and crew have officially got their groove back. After the 8 and 0 record yesterday, Durant said that he was a little nervous at the start, but following a practice race and logging their first win, it felt that he and his five crewmembers got back in the groove. “The teamwork was there,” the LBYC sailor said.
Given that Durant is a four-time Congressional Cup Skipper and a two-time California Dreamin’ Series winner, and following yesterday’s sweep, the top-placed finish today was not a surprise. But with two races scheduled for today, anything could have happened.
The 31-year-old skipper shared the win with Shane Young on main, Neil Rietdyk and Wes Bryne on trim, Jack Bazz in the pit and Ian Paice upfront on the bow.
San Diego Yacht Club’s Chris Nesbitt will be one of the skippers Durant will face in October. Nesbitt also had a second strong day. Currently ranked 29th in the world and 5th in the US, Nesbitt competed here earlier this year in both the Butler Cup and Ficker Cup and has already qualified for the US Match Racing Championship. He won his first match today against Trent Turigliatto who arrived for today’s races with a sprained ankle and (adding insult to injury), incurred a penalty at the start.
Nesbitt’s second loss of the series came in the second race, and for a second time to Durant.
The second skipper qualified for the Championships is Cameron Feves, who won a qualifier in Chicago earlier this year and is the reigning Rose Cup winner. Feves didn’t have a strong showing Saturday, but he and his crew started to get to a better feel for the complexities of the Catalina 37s by the end of racing yesterday and put up a strong fight today in an attempt to break the three-way tie for third.
The day’s first flight saw all three seasoned skippers, Nesbitt, Liz Hjorth and Durant facing off against their younger rivals and schooled them handily. With the win in that flight, Hjorth, sailing for California Yacht Club, secured third place. Momentarily.
In the second flight, Feves turned up the heat, winning the race and drawing her back into the fold.
When LBYC’s sailing coach, Trent Turigliatto beat Colton Gerber in the last race, both young rivals had scored a win against Hjorth, which resulted in how the third-place position finishers ranked.
Colton Gerber, a 23-year old Corpus Christi, Texas resident sailing for Ann Arbor Yacht Club finished in last place but will go home with a boatload of experience. A lengthy collegiate sailing resume garnered an invitation to this event. But the Catalina 37s, the largest boat he and the crew have sailed, challenged the team.
“Boat handling deficiencies caught up to us pretty quick,” Gerber said. “Trial by fire, it’s how it works in sailing.” He felt good about the progress he and the crew made by the end of the day and looked to improve boat speed day. The trip to California was also an alumni reunion of sorts as his entire crew is fellow University of Michigan alumni, with one crewmember in his senior year.
Even Parker Mitchell, who handles the main for Nesbitt, said the boats really put boat skills to the test. “It’s hard to win races without strong boat handling skills,” he said.
This race was also the first time Feves had sailed the Catalina 37. Along with the bigger boat, he picked up a few crew members with varying degree of experience. The 18-year-old, sailing for Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, said they learned as they went; catching a couple of flags that didn’t go their way, but overall, were pleased with the progress made in just 10 races.
The USMRC Finals in San Francisco will be sailed in J/22s, boats that both Nesbitt and Feves have experience with. “We want to win that one,” Feves said.
This qualifier event was sailed in Long Beach Sailing Foundation’s fleet of identical Catalina 37 sailboats donated by Frank Butler, the president of Catalina Yachts, for use in Long Beach Yacht Club’s signature event, the Congressional Cup. They are used in many events throughout the year that test many a skipper’s sailing skills and the further development of those skills.
Although this was also Turigliatto’s debut as skipper on the Catalina 37, the young racer has frequently sailed as crew on the boats for other skippers. And as Durant’s win today affirms, experience, teamwork, and local knowledge is a recipe for success.
Racing started before noon today, on a course off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. Winds of 9 – 10 knots filled in early creating elevated sailing conditions typical of late afternoons.
Racing has concluded in six of the seven 2020 Olympic class sailing events at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. Team USA had representatives in all six Medal Races and delivered Medals in four of the five that were sailed. Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) clinched a Gold Medal in the Nacra 17 fleet. Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas) and Pedro Pascual (West Palm Beach, Fla.) earned Silver Medals in the Laser Radial and RS:X fleets, respectively. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif.) won the Bronze in the Laser fleet.
LASALLE, Mich. – (August 6 -10, 2018) – North Cape Yacht Club
Cameron Feves/Christopher Salas/Justin Zmina of Cabrillo Beach YC place second in the Sears Cup – Jack Egan/Jack Plavan of SDYC place third and Ansgar Jordan/Patrick Mulcahy of Coronado Yacht Club pace fifth in the Bemis Trophy
The nominees and their complete 2017 sailing resumes will be reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists who discuss the merits of each sailor’s racing results before voting to determine US Sailing’s 2017 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. The winners will be announced in January and honored on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, during a luncheon at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, when they will be presented with specially-engraved Rolex timepieces.
The all-star line-up of standout sailors hails from various disciplines from around the country and represents different stages in their respective careers. Many of these sailors were selected based on their consistent exceptional performances throughout the 2017 season and some were chosen for their signature win(s) at major international events.
Editor’s Note: Drew Freides won both the Melges 20 World Championship and National Championship.
Local sailor placed third in the J/70 North American Championship.
Bruce Golison, member of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club for about 40 years, has a passion for competitive sailing and a strong desire to be the best in the world.
He just recently returned from the J/70 North American Championship on the East Coast, happy to have placed in the top three after having only raced in the class for less than two years.
“I love sailing in very competitive classes. That’s why we are in the J/70 class,” Golison told The Log. “Right now, it’s a big class and a big fleet.”
Bruce Golison skippered his boat, Midlife Crisis, along with crewmembers Peter Kinney, Erik Shampain and Steve Hunt; they placed third among a fleet of 53.
He has sailed into first place at other East Coast and West Coast competitions.
Golison was the winning skipper in his class in the NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, Maryland earlier this year and overall in San Diego last year.
He qualified for the 2016 NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands, but said he was not able to compete due to scheduling conflicts.
“Probably the two things that drive me are I’ve never gone to the Olympics, and I’ve never won a World Championship,” Golison stated. “I’ll never go to the Olympics, but the World Championship is still high on my bucket list.”
OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (October 8, 2017) – In a unique test of skill and teamwork, 2017 Etchells World Champion, Steve Benjamin and his crew Phil Trinter (South Bend, Ind.) and Christopher Larson (Annapolis, Md), won the 2017 Championship of Champions, hosted by the WaterFront Center in Oyster Bay, NY.
Thirteen one-design class champions were challenged over three days in the Sonar on West Harbor. In the end, Benjamin’s team slightly out dueled the 2010 Champion, Chris Raab (Huntington Beach, Calif.), to earn the Jack Brown Trophy for the first time in his illustrious career. Raab and his crew Robert Kinney (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Peter Kinney (Newport Beach, Calif.) had a lead through the first seven races of the championship. They qualified to compete for this title by winning the 2017 Lido National Championship.
Every year, US Sailing invites one special guest to join the competition. Benjamin received this year’s special guest invitation and his team made the most of the opportunity. Through 13 races they tallied 37 points and won the championship by five points over Raab. Benjamin won three races and placed in the top five 10 times.
2016 JY15 North American Champion, Paul-Jon Patin (Forest Hills, NY) and crew Peter Beardsley (New York, NY) and Steve Shepstone (Watertown, Conn.), had a strong showing this weekend to place third overall, including on Sunday when they won Race 12.
Final Standings – Top 5 1. Steve Benjamin, 1-4-7--2--5-1-1-4-4-3-5- ; 37
2. Chris Raab, 3-6-2--3-3--4-7-2-1-5-6- ; 42
3. Paul-Jon Patin, 5--3-2-6-4-3-5-5-7--1-4/RDG- ; 45
4. Michael Marshall, 6--4--8-6-2-2-2-3-5-2-8- ; 48
5. Eugene Schmitt, 8-9--1-1--7-6-9-6-2-4-1- ; 54
2017 Championship of Champions Awards! Thank you to all the competitors, volunteers, Race Committee and The WaterFront Center for being such a great host! See you all next year! #CofCSonar
“Today was the most exciting day of all because the wind was up to 15 knots and gusts up to 25 out of the Southwest with a little bit of rain coming through,” explained Benjamin. “It was a fantastic conclusion to what I believe was a wonderful championship because the competition was extremely tough.”
“Not only was this my first time sailing in the Championship of Champions, but I believe this is my first US Sailing National Championship,” he said. “I think this event is terrific and to have this format and the rotations equalizing the boats is great. US Sailing and the WaterFront Center pulled off an extraordinary event.”
“I’ve sailed with Chris and Phil in the past, but the three of us have not sailed together as a team. For us the challenge was to coordinate as a three-person team, as well as becoming familiar with the Sonar, which was new to us.”
“The light air in the first two days was tough-going because you need a lot of patience. Once the breeze came in, things got a lot easier.”
Benjamin is looking forward to more Etchells and TP52 racing this year.
US Sailing’s Championship of Champions is recognized as one of the more unique adult racing events in the country. All sailors qualified for this event by winning a one-design class National, North American, or World Championship in the qualifying years (2016 – 2017).
Thirteen sailors were selected to race for the Jack Brown Trophy while representing their respective classes. Teams took part in a special Sonar boat clinic and local knowledge briefing on Thursday.
Every year, US Sailing invites one special guest to join the competition. Invited helms have included winners of the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year, Olympians, and other sailing greats. Benjamin was this year’s Championship of Champions special guest. He was named US Sailing’s 2015 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for his win at the 2015 Etchells North American Championship and runner-up performance at the Etchells World Championship. Benjamin may have bested his 2015 results in 2017 following his win at the Etchells World Championship in San Francisco just over a week ago.
Benjamin was not the only World Champion competing this week. The 2016 J/22 World Champion, Mike Marshall (Jamestown, R.I.), placed fourth this week.