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U.S. Match Racing Championship - Canfield and crew emerge victorious

by Jake Fish on 24 Sep 2012
U.S. Match Racing Championship 2012 Leighton O'Connor © http://www.leightonphoto.com/
The 2012 U.S. Match Racing Championship has now concluded and after finishing second at the last two U.S. Match Racing Championships, Taylor Canfield and his crew rose to the occasion on Sunday and defeated two-time champion Dave Dellenbaugh in the Finals, 3-2. Canfield’s team was representing the Chicago Match Race Center. This year’s U.S. Match Racing Championship was hosted by the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead, Mass.

'This has always been a championship I’ve wanted to win and it feels great to get it this week,' said Canfield. 'I’ve been coming to this event ever since I started match racing.'

It was an exciting Final as Dellenbaugh nearly overcame a 2-0 deficit. Canfield (St. Thomas, USVI), who is sailing this week with crewmates Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.), Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.), and Janel Zarkowsky (Annapolis, Md.), had big leads early in each of the first two races with Dellenbaugh to take a 2-0 advantage. Dellenbaugh and crew Rebecca Dellenbaugh (Easton, Conn.), and US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider members Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) and Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.), sailed their way back into the series with back to back wins.

In race three, Canfield had a lead at the gate, but Dellenbaugh came from behind for the win. In race four, Dellenbaugh took an early lead when Canfield was tagged with an OCS. Dellenbaugh tied the series at 2-2. However, Canfield answered and took a commanding five boat length lead upwind and coasted to victory.

'It really came down the wire,' added Canfield. 'It was great to sail against Dave [Dellenbaugh], who is one of the most famous match racers in the U.S. We were able to control the entire pre-start in the final race and pull away for the must-win.'

Canfield won 3-0 over Brad Funk (Plantation, Fla.), crew Luke Muller and Luke Lawrence in the Semifinals. Canfield took the first two races by multiple boat lengths. They overtook Funk in race three after he was hit with a red flag penalty when he had an early lead. Funk was representing the Lauderdale Yacht Club.

Dellenbaugh reached the Finals by defeating defending champions Dave Perry (Southport, Conn.) and crew Mike Rehe (Harper Woods, Mich.) and Chris Museler (Portsmouth, R.I.). Perry, a four-time U.S. Match Racing Champion, took a 2-0 lead over Dellenbaugh. Perry edged Dellenbaugh in race one by two meters, despite carrying a penalty late into the race. An early penalty on Dellenbaugh was too much to overcome in race two. Dellenbaugh answered with a win in race three when Perry was penalized near the finish. Another win for Dellenbaugh in race four set-up a deciding fifth race, which he won by five boat lengths. Both Dellenbaugh and Perry were representing the Pequot Yacht Club.

Ranked 11th by ISAF, Canfield was the highest ranked match racer competing at this week’s championship. His top results this year include a win at the Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC) Invitational, third at the Congressional Cup and fourth at the Chicago Match Cup, a World Match Racing Tour event. Roble and Shea have an outstanding last couple weeks. Last weekend, they won the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship with skipper Genny Tulloch.

'They have been sailing a lot together lately, and fortunately we’ve been able to practice a lot together in Chicago,' said Canfield.

The semifinals were raced in 12 to 14 knots with gusts exceeding 18, and light chop. The breeze settled down in the Finals to 8-10 knots.

Perry took home third place honors after defeating Funk in the Petit Finals, US Sailing website

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