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U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship preview

by Jake Fish on 20 Sep 2011
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U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship 2011 is hosted by the Larchmont Yacht Club and American Yacht Club. The start of racing begins Friday, September 23 and concludes Sunday, September 25. The U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship is a US Sailing National Championship event.

Plenty of competitive drive and fortitude will be on display in Larchmont, N.Y. this week at the 2011 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships. Sailors representing three countries, including several Paralympic hopefuls will compete on Long Island Sound in the single-, double- and triplehanded classes chosen for the Paralympic Games.

Competition in the singlehanded division for the Judd Goldman Trophy will be sailed in the 2.4 mR. Highlighting this fleet will be 2009 U.S. Disabled Sailing Champion Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.). Rosenfield also won the 2010 C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Regatta. Each sailor in this division must have a valid classification rating of 1-7 in order to compete.

Sailors in the doublehanded division will race in SKUD-18s for the Chandler Hovey Trophy. Skippers Scott Whitman (Brick, N.J.) and Sarah Everhart Skeels (Tiverton, R.I.) lead the doublehanded fleet. Whitman has a long history of impressive performances in the SKUD-18. With crew Julia Dorsett (Boca Raton, Fla.) they won back-to-back titles at US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR Championships in 2009 and 2010, and the 2010 Sail for Gold, a stop on the ISAF Sailing World Cup circuit. They are the 2009 IFDS World Champions.

Everhart Skeels is no stranger to success in the SKUD-18. As skipper, she finished fourth at US Sailing’s 2009 Rolex Miami OCR and sixth in 2010. Crewing for Everhart Skeels is 2008 Paralympic Bronze Medalist John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.). Ruf, US Sailing’s 2010 Paralympic SportsMan of the Year, is the 2009 2.4 mR World Champion.

In the SKUD-18 class, per team one sailor must be severely disabled (classification rating of a 1 or 2) and the other sailor must have any valid classification rating (1-7). At least one of the team members must be a female.

The triplehanded fleet will sail in Sonars for the Gene Hinkel Trophy. This division is lead by skippers 2000 Paralympian Paul Callahan (Cape Coral, Fla.) and 2008 Paralympian Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.). In 2009, Callahan finished second in US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR. Crewing for Callahan will be Tom Brown (Castine, Maine) and Brad Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla.). Johnson is a 2004 Paralympic Games Bronze Medalist in the Sonar. He finished third in the 2004 Sonar World Championship.

Doer skippered US Sailing’s Paralympic Team of the Year in 2010. Doerr received the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Paralympians of the Year award for sailing – Team Award in 2007 and the USOC Paralympic Athlete of the Year for sailing in 2006. Doerr’s team qualified for the 2008 Paralympic Games by winning the 2007 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials. Doerr won Sail for Gold in 2009 and the 2007 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championship in the Sonar fleet. Joining Doerr as crew will be Brad Kendall (Tampa, Fla.) and Hugh Freund (South Freeport, Maine). Sonar teams may not exceed 14 classification points.

There will be a novice triplehanded fleet of Ideal 18s competing. This developmental fleet will be running in tandem with the Paralympic classes. The purpose of this fleet is to provide returning or new sailors an opportunity to race and work on skills.

The U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Gill North America. The Championship is a Sailors for the Sea - Clean Regattas certification event.

Championship Notes:
• US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members competing: Tom Brown, Paul Callahan, Rick Doerr, Julia Dorsett, Sarah Everhart Skeels, Hugh Freund, Brad Johnson, Brad Kendall, Charles Rosenfield, John Ruf and Scott Whitman
• There is a Canadian skipper in the singlehanded fleet and a Canadian team in the doublehanded fleet. There is an Irish team in the triplehanded fleet.
• Racing will take place on Long Island Sound just outside the Larchmont breakwater.
• Racing is schedule to start at 11:00 a.m. each day.
• Eight races are planned for each division. A minimum of three races must be completed by each division to constitute a regatta. If there are six or more races there will be a drop.
• US Sailing medals for permanent possession will be awarded to the first, second and third places in the singlehanded division and first place in the doublehanded, triplehanded and novice Event website
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