by Jake Fish
US Sailing's 2010 Championship of Champions - In his sixth appearance at US Sailing's 2010 Championship of Champions, Chris Raab (Sunset Beach, Calif.) won his first Jack Brown Trophy on Saturday. Raab and crew Robert Kinney were the most consistent team all week and won by a 12-point margin. The fleet of 20 one-design champions completed just ten races over three days due to extremely high winds on Friday and Saturday. They managed just two races on Saturday and one on Friday.
US Sailing’s Championship of Champions
Raab and Kinney expanded their lead six point lead from Friday by posting fifth and fourth place finishes on Saturday morning. Raab didn’t finish worse than fifth (twice) in any race. He won one and finished in the top three in five races. Local standout, Danny Pletsch (Greenwich, Conn.) and crew Mark Kroening finished second overall.
Raab explained, 'We pounded the middle of the course. In these really shifty winds, we couldn’t pick a side. With the largest crew in the fleet, we put our bow down and let it rip when it got windy.'
A member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club (Calif.), Raab qualified for the event with his win in last year’s Mercury 18 National Championship in Richmond, Calif. In previous Championship of Champions events he has collected four top three finishes, but never quite got over the top until this week.
'This is truly a thrill for us,' said Raab. 'I’ve come close to winning this before and we finally made it happen this year. I remember my first run at the championship back in the late 70s with Randy Smyth.'
The annual Championship of Champions is recognized as one of the most unique US Sailing Championships of the year. All of the competitors qualified by winning a National and/or North American Championship in a one-design class. The Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn. was the host this year. Racing was conducted in Ideal 18s. Similar to Friday, wind speeds ranged from 20 to 30 knots on Long Island Sound.
2010+CofC+Raab+Final+rls - US Sailing's Championship of Champions
A number of notable class champions were competing this week. US Sailing’s 2006 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Jud Smith (Marblehead, Mass.), representing the Etchells class, was the guest competitor this year. He won the event in 1984. Mike Ingham (Rochester, N.Y.) competed in his sixth Championship of Champions after winning the Thistle Nationals this summer. He won the event in 2005. Alan Field (Los Angeles, Calif.) made his first return to the Championship of Champions since his win in 2006. Field qualified this year with his win at the Melges 24 National Championships last June.
Final Standings: Top Five
Pos. Class Skipper/Crew Results Total Points
1. Mercury 18 Chris Raab/Robert Kinney 4-3-4-3--1-3-2-5-4: 29
2. Interclub Danny Pletsch/Mark Kroening 9--2-5-6-7-4-1-2-5: 41
3. Thistle Mike Ingham/Bryan Jerman 5-8-8-4-7-6--5-3-2: 48
4. Lightning Marcus Eagan/Cardwell Potts 3-6-1-13-8-3-1-4-12-[21/DNF]: 51
5. Etchells Jud Smith/Lindsey Smith 1-1-10-9-2-9-7-9-6-: 54