by Jake Fish
At the U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships 2013, in a thrilling finale to the women’s Byte CII division, Simone Staff (Los Angeles, Calif.) came from behind on Saturday to edge Hanne Weaver (Gig Harbor, Wash.) for the Helen Willis Hanley Trophy.
U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships 2013
In the men’s Laser division, Clay Johnson (Point Pleasant, N.J.) easily defended his title to stake claim to the George D. O'Day Trophy. The 2013 U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships were hosted by the Manasquan River Yacht Club.
Staff overcame a two point deficit through eight races by winning Race 9 and placing second in Race 10 on Saturday to win by two points. Weaver finished second in Race 9 and dropped to fifth in Race 10. The two talented young sailors have gone head to head for three days.
'I played it more conservative at first by just trying to stay close to Hanne,' said Staff. 'It was puffy and shifty and I wanted to get off to good first start. Going downwind I took more risks today. I gained in the downwind, which is unusual because I had been gaining upwind for most of the week. In the last race I saw a big right shift and that put me in good position.'
US Championships 2 - U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships 2013
In July, Staff finished fourth out of 42 sailors at the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship in Marion, Mass.
Women's Byte CII Final Standings – Top 5
1. Simone Staff, California YC, 1-2-2-1-2-1-3-2-1-2: 17
2. Hanne Weaver, Seattle YC, 2-1-1-2-1-3-1-1-2-5: 19
3. Charlotte List, Corinthian YC Cape May, 3-3-3-3-5-2-2-3-3-3: 30
4. Sophie Naughton, Eastern YC, 5-4-4-4-4-4-6-4-4-1: 40
5. Bridget MacCormack, Toms River YC, 4-5-5-6-3-5-5-6-6-6: 51
Johnson capped a fantastic regatta with two more wins on Saturday to win the Laser fleet by 20 points. Finishing second was Marc Jacobi (Norwalk, Conn) who edged Stephen Long (Santa Barbara, Calif.) by a point.
Over the past two U.S. Singlehanded Sailing Championships, Johnson has won 20 of 22 races. 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.
'It’s nice to win this championship in my home state,' said Johnson. 'It’s a great venue here being so close to the ocean.'
Johnson is coaching a group of talented young Optimist sailors in Barnegat Bay. 'I’d really like to help build up the sailing here in the Barnegat Bay area, similar to what it was like in the 90s.'
Johnson plans on competing at the Laser World Championships this November in Oman.
Men's Laser Final Standings - Top 5
1. Clay Johnson, LEHYC, TRYC, EYC, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1: 10
2. Marc Jacobi, Cedar Point YC, 5-2-2-3-3-3-2-3-5-2: 30
3. Stephen Long, Santa Barbara/Cabrillo Beach YC, 2-3-3-2-2-2-5-2-6-4: 31
4. Glen Dickson, Bay Head YC, 4-4-4-4-5-6-3-4-8-3: 45
5. Mike Russom, Greater Wildwood YC, 3-6-5-5-6-7-4-7-2-6: 51
There were cooler temperatures in the low-60s today on the Atlantic with winds at 10-12 knots from the Northwest.
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.