by Jake Fish
The U.S. Singlehanded Championships 2011 hosted by the Columbia Gorge Racing Association took place in Cascade Locks, Oregon.
Frederick Vranizan - U.S. Singlehanded Championships 2011
The event has now concluded with Frederick Vranizan (Shoreline, Wash. / Seattle YC) dominating the men's Laser fleet from start to finish and Christine Neville (Oakland, Calif. / ILCA) coming from behind on Sunday to win the women's Laser Radial fleet.
Vranizan won five out of the nine races and finished in the top five in all but the final race of the Championship. He won race eight and finished eighth in race nine on Sunday. Vranizan won by a 16-point margin over fellow Seattle Yacht Club member Michael Karas (Kirkland, Wash.), who solidified second place by posting a pair of fifth place finishes.
Vranizan raced well in all conditions this weekend, including the strong winds on Friday and the light, shifty breezes on Saturday and Sunday. The men's Laser fleet consisted of 21 sailors.
'I tried my best to have conservative starts and either take an early lead or put myself in position to climb into the lead,' said Vranizan. 'I love the sailing here at the Gorge. I sailed fast in the downwind here at the Gorge where it is shifty and tricky,' he added.
Vranizan is a graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland, where he competed on the sailing team from 2005 to 2009. He raced in the Gold Fleet at the 2010Laser World Championships. Currently, Vranizan is campaigning in the Laser for the Olympics. He is also preparing for the ISAF World Championships in Perth, Australia this December.
The women's fleet managed just one race on Sunday. Neville's fifth place finish was good enough to surpass Hanne Weaver (Gig Harbor, Wash. / SeattleYC) for the lead who finished 13th in today's only race.
Weaver dropped to third and Sky Adams (Santa Barbara, Calif. / Santa Barbara YC) slipped into second after finishing third. Neville finished fourth out of 12 at last year's U.S. Singlehanded Championship. There were 18 sailors competing at this year’s women’s division.
'This is pretty surprising and really exciting,' said Neville.'It's an honor because this Championship was so competitive.'
Neville also discussed her keys to success this weekend. 'I had good speed upwind, especially in the first day. It was important not to fall back, because there were no throw outs. I was able to keep the boat flat when it was windy and take the lead before the downwind shift, which was going against the current.'
US Singlehanded Championships website