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U.S. Match Racing Championship at Balboa Yacht Club preview

by Jake Fish on 12 Oct 2011
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U.S. Match Racing Championship, hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club, is an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Grade 3 event that begins on Thursday, October 13 and ends Sunday, October 16.

Several of the top match racing skippers in the country will be in Corona del Mar, Calif. to compete for the Prince of Wales Bowl this week. Twelve teams will race in Governor’s Cup 21 boats over four days of racing.

Highlighting this year’s event are three-time Champion Dave Perry (Southport, Conn.), Collegiate All-American Taylor Canfield (St. Thomas, USVI) and defending 2010 Champion Shawn Bennett (Tiburon, Calif.). Five of the top six teams from the 2010 U.S. Match Racing Championship have returned to race again this year.

Perry is the top ranked U.S. match racing skipper in the country by ISAF. He’ll be representing the Pequot Yacht Club (PYC) this year. Perry won this Championship on two occasions while representing PYC in 2008 and 2006, and once for the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in 1982. He finished fourth last year with a 7-6 record after losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Shawn Bennett in Detroit, Mich. Perry lost in the finals in 2009. He’ll be sailing with familiar crewmates Mark Rehe (Harper Woods, Mich.) and Chris Museler (Portsmouth, R.I.), who won with Perry in 2008 and 2006.

Bennett had an impressive run to the Championship last year. After upending Perry in the semifinals 2-0, he defeated Canfield 3-0 in the finals to go 11-3 for the week. Bennett, a representative of the St. Francis Yacht Club, is the third ranked U.S. match racer in the country. In August, Bennett finished fifth at the Knickerbocker Cup and fifth with Perry as crew at the ISAF Nations Cup in Sheboygan, Wis. last September. Bennett’s crew includes Tom Purdy (Tiburon, Calif.), Melissa Purdy (Tiburon, Calif.) and Ryan Davidson (Costa Mesa, Calif.). Tom and Melissa Purdy crewed for Bennett at last year’s Championship.

Canfield will sail on behalf of the Chicago Match Race Center this week. The senior from Boston College won the U.S. Grade 2 Trifecta, a series of three consecutive U.S. based ISAF Grade 2-ranked events in August. He won the 2010 ICSA National Match Racing Championship for Boston College. He also finished third at the Chicago Cup, hosted by the Chicago Match Race Center last month. Canfield is hoping to improve upon his second place finish in last year’s U.S. Match Racing Championship. He was 10-5 overall last year in Detroit. Canfield is sailing with crewmates Tod Reynolds (Chicago, Ill.), Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Jennifer Wilson (Chicago, Ill.).

Skipper Brian Angel (El Segundo, Calif.), a U.S. Match Racing Championship veteran, will return to compete for another Prince of Wales Bowl. Angel won this Championship in 2005 and 2007, when the event was hosted by his home club, King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo Beach, Calif. Angel will be racing with crewmates Michael Delanty (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Steven Natvig (Redondo Beach, Calif.). Delanty won with Angel at the 2007 U.S. Match Racing Championship.

The winning skipper of this event will receive an invitation to race in the 2012 Knickerbocker Cup, a Grade 2 event and World Tour Qualifier. Also, the highest placing skipper at the 2011 U.S. Match Racing Championship who does not receive an invitation to the Congressional Cup will receive an invitation to race in the 2012 Ficker Cup, a Congressional Cup Qualifier and Grade 2 event.

The U.S. Match Racing Championship is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Gill North America, Hobie Polarized Sunglasses and Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky. Please visit the event website for results, standings, daily reports and more. The Championship is a Sailors for the Sea - Clean Regattas certification event.

Championship Notes:
• Eligible skippers qualified or were offered a select invitation to compete.

• The intended format for this event is:
• Stage 1 - A single round robin. Places 9 – 12 will advance to Stage 2. Places 1-8 will advance to Stage 3.
• Stage 2 – A single round robin to determine places 9-12 in the regatta.
• Stage 3 – A knockout round for Stage 1 places 1-8, first to score at least three points. The four winners will advance to Stage 4. The others will be places 5-8 in the regatta.
• Stage 4 - A semi final knockout series, first to score at least 3 points. The winners will advance to Stage 6. The others will advance to Stage 5.
• Stage 5 – A Petit Final knockout series, first to score at least 2 points, to determine places 3-4 in the regatta.
• Stage 6 – A Finals knockout series, first to score at least 3 points, to determine places 1-2 in the regatta.

• The course will be windward/leeward, windward/leeward, with starboard rounding, finishing downwind.
• Racing to begin at 11:30 a.m. pt (subject to change).
• Racing will be conducted in the Pacific Ocean adjacent to Newport Beach.
• The skippers and their crew members placing first, second and third in this regatta will be awarded US Sailing Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, respectively. U.S. Match Racing Championship website
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