Canadians Fogh, Finch and Devries win the US Soling Championship
by Stuart Walker on 18 Apr 2012
Sixteen boats (there were five last year!) including all the North American stars - the reigning World Champion, Peter Hall, the reigning North American Champion, Cookie Kanter, and the reigning US Champion, Peter Galloway.
North American Soling fleet Chris Gribble
Stu Walker led the first race - in the strongest wind of the day a 12-14 knot northeasterly - from start to finish but was closely pressed by Peter H. as they approached the downwind finish. Stu came from a poor start in the second - in only slightly less wind but more holes and more shifts! - to pass his various rivals and almost catch Cookie Kanter who had taken the lead by holding left on the final run. Peter H. was third and Peter Galloway (3-4-8), who had been third in the first race, was fourth. Hans Fogh (13-5-1) - giving hope to those of us who often go the wrong way went the wrong way himself in the first race and finished thirteenth! - was fifth in the second.
The wind was down for the final race of the day - this time on a five legged, finish-to-windward, course - gradually dropping from ten knots at the start to six or seven at the finish. Hans crossed the fleet from the pin end and was never threatened thereafter - finishing several hundred feet ahead of Charlie Kamps, who had clung to Hans all around the course, and John Kennedy, who played the shifts and the stronger wind offshore perfectly to finish third. The previous leaders traded position on each leg, but on the final beat Peter H. came out of his preferred inshore position to take fourth, with Cookie, fifth, Stu sixth and Peter Galloway, eighth.
The three top boats of the first day spent the second day trying to find ways to get behind each other. Peter H. was 5-9-10, Stu was 7-12-9 and Cookie was 15-7-8! Meanwhile the fourth and fifth placed boats - Hans and Peter G., excelled.
In the early four to six knot primary sea breeze, Peter G. came off the middle of the line at top speed, tacked to cross the fleet and was never caught. Hans was second and Henry Thomas of the Annapolis fleet - who had gathered all the top local crews into one boat - was third.
The fifth race was won by Steve Bobo - who showed his Chicago know- how - in getting thru the flukey up and down again, but slightly stronger, sea breeze - easily beat Peter G, who now had a second to add to his first, and Hans who was third!
Hans finally took over the regatta by winning the sixth race - in a good 12-14 knot sea breeze - and with Peter G., fifth, led the regatta by two points. Mike Waters, the former USNA coach and local top dog, was second. And Charlie Kamps - who now had a 9-6-2-8-5-3 was third, passing both Stu and Cookie to take over fourth place.
For the finale on Sunday - in what was predicted to be a strong southwesterly - but which never exceeded 10 knots - Hans and Peter G. were 10-15 points ahead of their rivals - with the question merely being who would be first and who second? However, the first day leaders returned in force - taking three of the top four places (all within about six boat lengths of one another): Peter Hall, after driving straight from the line into the right corner, first, Cookie, second and Stu fourth, just astern of the new US Champion, Hans, in third. Peter G. had his worst race, a ninth, and squeeked out a series second by one point over Peter H. in third!
The fleet was judiciously divided in half to select a B-Fleet. Ninth place and first in B was Henry Thomas of the local fleet (12-9-10- 3-4-13-8). Second was Ross Richards from Chicago who had a fourth, a fifth, a sixth and a seventh. Third was one of the seven local boats, Mike Waters. Each member of the crew of the B-fleet champions was awarded a copy of Stu´s latest book 'The Code of Competition.'
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