by Jake Fish
The top sailors in men’s and women’s divisions will compete this week for the 2013 U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships, hosted by Manasquan River Yacht Club in Brielle, N.J. Racing begins Thursday, September 12 and runs through Saturday, September 14.
US Singlehanded Championship logo
Men have been competing for the George D. O'Day Trophy, since 1962. Returning to defend his title from last year’s event in Sheboygan, Wis. is Clay Johnson (Point Pleasant, N.J.). The four-time All- American is a Laser National (2009) and North American (2011) Champion. This year he won the Atlantic Coast Championship, held in Beach Haven, N.J. He will be challenged by a strong fleet of Laser sailors, including upstart Stephen Long (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who placed second at the U.S. Youth Championships in August.
USSC 12 Johnson D1Four sailors have returned from last year to compete in the women’s division. The women’s division for the Helen Willis Hanley Trophy was first introduced to this event in 2010. Women will race this week in the Byte CII. Hanne Weaver (Gig Harbor, Wash.) aims to get over the top this year as she placed second at last year’s championship. Weaver is the 2012 U.S. Junior Women's Singlehanded Champion. Sophie Naughton (Marblehead, Mass.) will make another run at the title after placing fourth last year.
The regatta exhibits a rich history of great sailing athletes. Over the years, many past Olympians and US Sailing Team members have participated at this Championship, including Paul Foerster, Morgan Larson, Andrew Campbell, Anna Tunnicliffe, Sally Barkow, and Sarah Lihan.
Racing starts at 11 am on the waters near Manasquan Inlet or Barnegat Bay. The championship is a Sailors for the Sea – Clean Regattas certification event.