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U.S. Para Sailing Championships and Independence Cup in Chicago

by US Sailing 29 Jul 2019 15:48 PDT
Allen Fiske earns first career U.S. Para Sailing Championship with crew Joe Cook. © US Sailing

The 2019 Independence Cup and U.S. Para Sailing Championship, hosted by the Judd Goldman Sailing Center and organized by the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Foundation came to a close Sunday afternoon after three days of exciting and closely contested racing under challenging conditions on Lake Michigan.

All three winners earned the 2019 U.S. Para Sailing Championship and Independence Cup titles.

Sonar - Triplehanded Fleet
U.S. Para Sailing Triplehanded Championship for the Gene Hinkel Trophy and the Independence Cup.

Rick Doerr (Clifton, N.J.) and crew Charles McClure (Brookline, Mass.), and Roger Cleworth (Tampa, Fla.) were triumphant in the Sonar this week. They won seven of nine races, including wins in the first six races of the Championship and led from start to finish. They closed the regatta on Sunday by posting a 2-1-3 scoring line to hold on for the five point win over Greg Plunkett (Kemah, Texas), Deborah Willits (Kemah, Texas), and Grant Rollerson (Australia) who went 3-2-1 on Sunday. Dawn Hart (Tampa, Fla.), Karen Atkinson (Arlington Heights, Ill.), and Declan Lombard (Harwood, Md.) placed third in the Independence Cup and second for the U.S. Para Sailing Championship as the second top U.S. team.

"These were some of the toughest conditions I've ever seen here in Chicago," said Rick Doerr who has won this event now four times. "It was really windy for most of the regatta and shifty. Puffs were coming from all directions. There was so much seperation between sides of the course. You really had to keep your head out of the side of the boat to find out what side would pay. We maintained great boat speed and boat handling and mark roundings earned us great gains. I love lake sailing and it was a lot of fun this week.

"It's great to have new faces on the racecourse," added Doerr. "We are starting to see the enthusiasm coming back to para sailing in the U.S. and the level of competition continues to improve."

Freedom Independence 20 - Doublehanded Fleet
U.S. Para Sailing Doublehanded Championship for the Chandler Hovey Trophy and the Independence Cup.

Allen Fiske (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Joe Cook (Oakland Park, Fla.) captured the Freedom Independence 20 event in a very closely contested fleet through nine races. They won by six points over second place team Christopher Murphy (Charleston, S.C.) and Rob Klein (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Fiske went 1-5-2 on Sunday while Murphy was 5-2-6. Fiske took the lead on Saturday and never looked back en route to the win.

"We lost by one point 15 years ago, so to win it this year was really special," said an emotional Fiske. "The difference in our performance was affected by going to The Clagett Regatta and getting expert coaching."

2.4mR - Singlehanded Fleet
U.S. Para Sailing Singlehanded Championship for the Judd Goldman Trophy and the Independence Cup

Matt Koblenzer (Fox Point, Wis.) won the 2.4mR event by four points over Jim Hahn (Norwalk, Conn.). Koblenzer won four of seven races over two days of racing on Friday and Sunday. Saturday's racing conditions for the singlehanded fleet were not conducive to racing. The singlehanded fleet started early this morning at 9:50 am CST to ensure they finished seven races for the regatta. They tallied four races and Koblenzer sealed the win with a 2-1-2-1 scoring line on Sunday.

"It was a lot of fun and a privilage to have done well," said Koblenzer. "The competition was great and that's what makes it fun. I wanted to get involved and it was great to race here in my first U.S. Para Sailing Championship."

Full Results and Standings.

The sailors raced in lighter breeze on Sunday morning at 6 to 8 knots, with building conditions in the afternoon between 12 and 17 knots.

Tracy Schmitt (Scarsborough, Ontario, CAN) received the Sportsmanship Award and Dawn Hart (Tampa, Fla.) earned the Most Improved Award.

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