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US Sailing Match Racing Qualifier at Long Beach Yacht Club Day 1: Durant takes a commanding lead

by Long Beach Yacht Club 10 Aug 22:34 PDT 10-11 August 2019
Durant vs Turigliatto - 2019 US Sailing Match Racing Qualifier © Long Beach Yacht Club

Dustin Durant got his match racing band back together, returning to the water after a 3-year hiatus. And in match after match, scored win after win. Instead of being a little rusty, the 31-year-old skipper and his long-time crew representing Long Beach Yacht Club are now two matches away from qualifying for the US Match Racing Championship Finals in San Francisco this October. Durant leads the double round-robin event, the US Sailing Match Racing Championship Qualifier, with 8 wins and 0 losses.

"Our plan is just to keep it clean and smooth," Durant said before the first match. "All of the team has done plenty of match racing over the years so I'm hoping we'll be on the pace soon." Sailing with Durant is Shane Young on Main, Neil Rietdyk and Wes Bryne on trim, Jack Bazz in the pit and Ian Paice upfront on the bow.

Keeping it clean was just one of the reasons team Durant excelled. The biggest factor of the crew's success is communication. "It clicked back in right away," he said. Durant's team has a lot of history, some of the crew have known each other since they were 7 years old; sailing against each other in youth events then crewing together at high-level, high-profile events like the Congressional Cup.

Falling slightly astern is San Deigo's Club's Chris Nesbitt, one of the senior-most skippers of the event and a three-time Butler Cup winner. Nesbitt, the highest-ranked skipper of this event - currently ranked 29th in the world and 5th in the US posted only one loss but suffered a two-point deduction for a collision in the final flight of the day. He competed here earlier this year in both the Butler Cup and Ficker Cup competitions and has already qualified for the Championship event.

Each of the six skippers earned their invitation to this event, each bringing strong sailing skills from a wide range of competitions across the country.

Trent Turigliatto, representing LBYC, where he spent the summer as a sailing coach, tops the three-way tie for third with three wins and five losses. The 18-year-old University of Miami student sailed with a crew of university students and 11-year-old Nicky Lech.

His plan to sail clean and avoid penalties didn't kick in until the second round-robin matches. But it did, and his win over Liz Hjorth gave him the edge in the standing.

Racing began early afternoon with light but shifty conditions off the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier. The typical winds blew in later in the day and allowed for the race committee to get in the eight races before calling it a day.

The event, presented by US Sailing in conjunction with LBYC will continue at 11 a.m. Sunday.

"The U. S. Match Racing Championship Committee is thrilled to once again have a USMRC Qualifier at LBYC. LBYC has a long history of running top-level match racing and supporting match racing in the US. This event will be one of seven qualifiers around the country and the winner will join the other six winners, last year's USMRC winner at the Championship event hosted in October by the St Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco," wrote Bill Simon, Chairman of the US Match Racing Championship Committee.

Results available here.

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