by Jake Fish
Skipper Bruce Kuryla (Milford, Conn.) of the New York Yacht Club has high hopes of defending his U.S. Offshore Championship against six talented teams in three days of racing beginning Friday, September 23 and concluding Sunday, September 25.
U.S. Offshore Championship for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy
This US Sailing National Championship event will be raced on Chesapeake Bay in Navy 44 sloops and hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron in Annapolis, Md. Each team consists of a crew of nine, including one skipper and seven crew members, plus one U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman provided from the varsity offshore racing team. Teams were invited based on resume. A minimum of five members from each team (including the skipper) must have raced together in at least five regattas.
Kuryla won the most recent U.S. Offshore Championship held in 2009 by one point on the final day through seven races total. He returns four of his crew mates from that Championship team. Kuryla enters the race with plenty of momentum after crewing for the winning team at the Marion to Bermuda Race in June. In addition, he won the overall trophy by the Eastern Connecticut Sailing Association after posting the highest average in 24 ECSA-sanctioned events throughout the 2009 season.
Kuryla’s team will be challenged this week by several teams, including Jim Sminchak (Euclid, Ohio) of the Lakeside Yacht Club. His team finished first at the 2011 Key West Race Week in the PHRF 1 Fleet. Geoff Longenecker (La Jolla, Calif.) of the Southwestern Yacht Club will also be contending. His team won the PHRF 3 Fleet at the 2011 Long Beach Race Week. Kenneth King (Charleston, S.C.) of Charleston Ocean Racing won a PHRF division at the 2010 Charleston Race Week. Colin Nevins (Annapolis, Md.) will be skippering the team representing the U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron.
Seven buoy races are scheduled and a low point scoring system with no drops will be used. Courses will be windward leewards with legs approximately 0.8 to 2.5 nautical miles long. The distance race, point to point, will be anywhere from 15 to 30 miles long. Racing is scheduled to begin at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Friday with a start time of 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday (race times are subject to change).
The Lloyd Phoenix Trophy will be engraved with the winning skipper's area and name, and will remain in the Sailing Hall of Fame at the United States Naval Academy. US SAILING medals will be provided to the skippers and crews of the top three teams.
Visit the event website at bit.ly/ussoffshorechamps for daily recaps, standings, results, photo galleries and more. To get up-to-the-minute updates from the Championship, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/ussailing.
The U.S. Offshore Championship is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Gill North America. The Championship is a Sailors for the Sea - Clean Regattas certification event.