by Jake Fish
In a battle royale between two teams representing the Pequot Yacht Club and two of the winningest U.S. Match Racing Champions of all-time, Dave Dellenbaugh (Easton, Conn.) won his third Prince of Wales Bowl by defeating four-time champion Dave Perry (Southport, Conn.), 3-1, on Sunday. Team Dellenbaugh went 20-2 this week, including 14-0 in the double round robin. Dellenbaugh has won three championships in three decades (2013, 2002, 1984).
U.S. Match Racing Championship logo
Dellenbaugh sailed this week with his daughter Rebecca Dellenbaugh (Easton, Conn.), a 2010 ICSA All-American at Dartmouth, Janel Zarkowsky (Annapolis, Md.), who won the championship last year as crew for Taylor Canfield, and accomplished team racer Amanda Callahan (Portsmouth, R.I.).
'I loved sailing with my daughter again this year,' said Dellenbaugh. 'It's nice to win after we lost in the finals last year.'
In the pre-start to Race 1, Dellenbaugh and Perry circled the race committee boat with Dellenbaugh attempting to pin Perry out. Dellenbaugh started leeward and forced Perry to an early tack. In the first cross, Dellenbaugh was forced to tack. He regained the advantage and tacked on Perry at the second cross. Dellenbaugh had a one boat length lead at the first mark. Perry surfed into an overlap and pulled ahead, but Dellenbaugh got inside. The two boats split tacked and Dellenbaugh picked up four lengths. Perry gained in a tacking duel and cut the deficit to one length. Dellenbaugh extended his lead down the stretch and won by 10 seconds to take a 1-0 lead.
Race 2 began with winds at 10 to 15 knots from the North and large swells. It was an even start on opposite ends. Dellenbaugh forced Perry to tack, who had a slight lead halfway up the leg. Perry approached mark one on starboard with a slight lead, but had to tack. Perry had a one length lead with two gybes needed before mark two. Perry extended his lead to 12 seconds at mark two. A smooth rounding for Dellenbaugh kept it close. Dellenbaugh cut into the lead going upwind. After forcing Perry to tack again, Dellenbaugh took the lead by luffing at the mark and Perry stalled out. Dellenbaugh took a six boat length lead through the finish line for a 2-0 lead.
Breeze lightened for Race 3. Dellenbaugh started leeward and grabbed the lead while Perry tacks. Dellenbaugh climbed out from the leeward side and did two quick tacks and forced Perry right. A down speed tack sent Perry back to Dellenbaugh and trailed by three lengths. The breeze continued to get lighter. They approached mark three and Dellenbaugh was sailing away from Perry. With the breeze now down to about six knots, Dellenbaugh extended his lead over Perry. A puff and a shift pulled Perry back into contention. In a huge turnaround, Perry sailed right around Dellenbaugh and led by two lengths. Perry led by 15 seconds through the finish line to stay alive in the series.
Race 4 started in winds at about six knots with heavier gusts. A split tack start had Perry going right and took an early, comfortable lead. The boats switched sides and Dellenbaugh closed to within a length and eventually took the lead. Dellenbaugh made major gains to lead by five lengths after trailing by five lengths at mark one. He had a big lead over Perry in the same position at mark two as Race 3. Both boats tacked with Dellenbaugh showing a better angle to the next mark. Perry closed the gap slightly at mark three. Perry had a great rounding, which took about 10 seconds out of Dellenbaugh's lead. Perry cut the lead in half. Both boats gybed to the finish and Dellenbaugh crossed ahead to take the Championship.
'It was all about playing the shifts right this week,' said Dellenbaugh. 'We did a great job of that today.'
Perry was competing in his 12th U.S. Match Racing Championship. Crewing for Perry was Mike Rehe (Harper Woods, Mich.) and Chris Museler (Portsmouth, R.I.).
Scott Dickson (Long Beach, Calif.) defeated Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) in the petit finals, 2-1, to take third place in the regatta.
This US Sailing National Championship was raced in Sonars and hosted by Sail Sheboygan (Wis.). For winning, Dellenbaugh receives an invitation to race at the Ficker Cup, a grade 3 event and a Congressional Cup Qualifier.