by Jake Fish
Fierce competition continues at U.S. Youth Sailing Championship finale
The U.S. Youth Sailing Championships will welcome the top young sailors from around the country to Newport, R.I. next week to compete in championship event.
Two singlehanded fleets in Lasers and Laser Radials and two doublehanded fleets in Club 420s and 29ers will race on Narragansett Bay, beginning on Monday, August 15 through Thursday, August 18.
A total of 133 invited competitors are lined up to race. The 2011 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships are hosted by Sail Newport, Ida Lewis Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club.
Club 420 fleet preview: A total of 36 C420 teams have their sights set on the Manton D. Scott Memorial Trophy, awarded to the winning duo. This week’s U.S. Junior Doublehanded Champions Pearson Potts (Newport, R.I.) and crew Tristan Sess (Center Moriches, N.Y.) will try and ride their momentum into next week’s Championship. Also, competing is Stewart Draheim (Heath, Texas) and crew Allison Aughtry (Oklahoma City, Okla.) who placed second overall at the U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship.
Several top finishers from the 2011 U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship in July will be on hand, including winners Sarah Williams (Summit, N.J.) and Ali Blumenthal (Bellport, N.Y.). Allyson Donahue (Brigantine, N.J.) and Maddie Widmeier (Brant Beach, N.J.) were second and Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick (Darien, Conn.) and Caroline Atwood (Killingworth, Conn.) placed third out of 40 teams. Skipper Alex Curtiss (Lake Bluff, Ill.) finished third out of twenty at the 2010 Chubb U.S. Junior Championships.
He will be sailing with new crew member Rose Edwards (Chicago, Ill.). Reinier Eenkema van Dijk (Mamaroneck, N.Y.), a member of the 2011 Youth World Team, will also be in competition. Spencer McDonough (Greenwich, Conn.) will be his crew. The 2009 U.S. Multihull Champion Korbin Kirk (Long Beach, Calif.) will take his shot in the C420 division with crew Ryan Davidson (Costa Mesa, Calif.). He also won the 2008 Chubb U.S. Junior Doublehanded Championship.
Laser Radial fleet preview: A strong fleet of twenty-three skippers will race for the Robert and Ann Conner Trophy, awarded to the winning sailor. Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Mitchell Kiss (Holland, Mich.) from the 2011 Youth World Team will compete next week. Reineke won first place in the girl’s division at the 2011 Laser Radial Youth World Championships and Kiss finished fourth in the boy’s division. Nick Valente (Oakdale, N.Y.) won this week’s U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship, and he’ll be racing next week in the Laser Radial fleet. Also competing next week is Gary Prieto (Southold, N.Y.) who finished third at the U.S. Junior Singlehanded Championship.
The winning skipper from this week’s U.S. Junior Triplehanded Championship O.J. O’Connell will make the switch back to singlehanded competition next week in the Laser Radial fleet. A number of top competitors from the 2011 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship in June are coming including Christina Frost (Nokomis, Fla.) who finished second out of 57 and Kaitlyn Baab (Saratoga, Calif.) who was third.
Laser fleet preview: The Laser fleet consists of eighteen skippers, including several who finished at the top end of the fleet in last year’s Championship. Trey Hartman (Bellaire, Texas) was second out of fourteen in the Laser division last year. He also finished fourth out of twenty at the 2010 Chubb U.S. Junior Championships. Olin Paine (San Diego, Calif.) was fifth last year. Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) the 2010 Chubb U.S. Junior Singlehanded Champion also hopes to be a factor this year.
29er fleet preview: Ten doublehanded teams will represent the 29er class next week. As crew, James Moody (Tiburon, Calif.) won last year’s Championship in the thirteen team 29er fleet. This year he’ll be crewing for Scott Buckstaff (Belvidere, Calif.). Sterling Henken (Coronado, Calif.) is the top returning skipper from last year’s event. He finished second last year, and he’ll be sailing with crew J.P. Barnes.
Sterling’s sister Paris is also returning to compete in the 29er fleet. The 2010 U.S. Junior Doublehanded Champion Jack Jorgenson (Pasadena, Calif.) will be sailing with crew A. Tucker Atterbury (Santa Barbara, Calif.) next week.
U.S. Youth Sailing Championships website