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A-Cat NAs Championships - Struble opens with three wins on day 1

by Rich Roberts on 14 Aug 2013
Matt Struble still unbeaten at L.B. Rich Roberts / photo boat captain Todd Smith
Attention, class, A-Cat sailing school is back in session at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, with Matt Struble presiding as usual.

The 41-year-old sailor from San Diego continued his undefeated domination of his class in this venue Tuesday when he swept the three opening races of the International A-Class Catamaran North American Championship, running through Friday.

Among 19 entries from 10 states, runnerup Bruce Mahoney from Houston, Tex. (2-2-3) handled everyone except Struble in the tricky eight to twelve knot breeze sweeping the Long Beach outer harbor from south to southwest.

'Matt's sailing really well,' Mahoney said. 'It was pretty shifty, and we were both pretty aware of that, and you have to make changes through four stages in how you set up and sail the boat.'

Struble understated, modestly, 'I had a good day. It was putting the boat in pretty good places, and the boat was really going good. All the upwind beats were split left or right. The middle wasn't good.'

Others were less fortunate. Haywood (Woody) Cope, a veteran from Tampa, Fla., found his opening race cut short when his mast came down at the first leeward gate of the first race.
'The shroud broke,' Cope said.

So he replaced it and returned to finish 11th in Race three … a commendable comeback for someone of 65 years sailing a very physical boat.

Not to say Cope is the oldest sailor competing, but the two youngest entries are hanging in there, too. Jeremy Herrin, 17, of Sarasota, Fla. had a 4-10-9 scoreline good for eighth place overall, while Mackenzie Cook, 19, of Scotts Valley, Calif., was 10-13-14.

Cook, who will continue heading west to enroll at the University of Hawaii next week, is in 12th place while his father Dan is 15th.

'I was just enjoying getting around the course,' dad said.

Seven more races are scheduled over the next three days, starting at 1 p.m. each day on windward-leeward courses either inside or outside the breakwater, conditions permitting.

The leaders
(after 3 of 10 races; 1 throwout after 6 races, 2 after 9)
1. Matt Struble, San Diego, 1-1-1, 3.
2. Bruce Mahoney, Houston, Tex., 2-2-3, 7.
3. Chris Batchelor, San Diego, 6-5-2, 13.
4. Bill Westland, Huntington Beach, Calif. 5-3-7, 15.
5. Bob Hodges, Covington, La., 3-8-6, 17.
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