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Regional Sailing Association teams take aim at 2019 U.S. Adult Championship in Buzzards Bay

by Jake Fish 3 Sep 19:43 PDT 5-8 September 2019
Winning skipper Michael Hanson called his crew Tim Siemers (right) and Mark Swift (left) `rock solid.` © J H Peterson

Regional Sailing Associations (RSA) from around the United States will be well represented this week by a talented group of sailors competing for the historic 2019 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship, hosted by the Beverly Yacht Club. Thirteen teams will be fleet racing for the Mallory Trophy in the J/80 over four days on Buzzards Bay. Competition for this legendary trophy gets under way on Thursday, September 5 and wraps up on Sunday, September 8.

"Running races is what we do at the Beverly Yacht Club," said Event Chair, Mary Pierce of the Beverly Yacht Club. "We run over 250 races from June through October for our members in five one-design and three PHRF classes five days a week. This year we also hosted the start of the Marion Bermuda Race and the Beverly Junior Regatta that had over 200 boats participating in 4 classes. We have the resources, experience and enthusiasm to ensure great racing for the sailors."

Returning to defend the 2018 title is Michael Hanson (Deephaven, Minn.) of the Minnetonka Yacht Club and his team representing the Inland Lake Yachting Association and Area K. Hanson and his team dominated the regatta, hosted by the Wayzata Yacht Club (Minn.) and raced in the J/22, posting the low score of 53 points to win the coveted Mallory Trophy. They won six races and finished outside of the top three only three times in 20 races for an incredibly low average score of 2.7. His 16-point margin of victory is the largest since a 21-point victory in 2011. Hanson and crew won the first four races and never looked back.

Returning to crew for Hanson from the 2018 team is Mark Swift (St. Paul, Minn.), along with newcomers Maclean Potts (Hopkins, Minn.) and Judson Koehn (Minnetonka, Minn.).

Hanson is not the only returning champion competing this week. Charles Quigley (Winthrop, Mass.) of the Boston Yacht Club won this title in 2002 and 17 years later he hopes to capture a second Mallory Trophy. Quigley and his team representing the Mass Bay Sailing Association and Area A includes David Bryan (Boston, Mass), who won with Quigley in 2002, Kay VanValkenberg (Boston, Mass.), and William Colehower (Marblehead, Mass.).

Another local standout sailor will be on hand to challenge Hanson and the rest of the fleet. The 2018 J/80 North American Champion, Chip Johns (Mattapoisett, Mass.), will be a major contender for this year's Championship. Johns will be sailing with Alex Gryska (Marion, Mass.), William Godfrey (New York, N.Y.), and William Marvel (Marion, Mass.). Gryska and Marvel sailed with Johns as part of the winning J/80 North American Championship team. Johns is representing the Southern Massachusetts Sailing Association, Area A, and is a member of the Beverly Yacht Club.

This Championship will be sailed using league racing, a fast and competitive format, featuring two flights with teams rotating every two races. Each team will race an equal number of races against the others. Races are approximately 15 minutes in duration. The host club ensures quick rotations and on-the-water judging, in addition to an improved viewing experience for spectators.

"We will be tested in conditions that we don't regularly sail in," said Hanson. "The J/80 is a new platform for us, with very few of them around the Twin Cities area. We managed to find one to practice on over the past few weeks, so we will be coming into the event as prepared as possible. One thing we like about the event format is the small courses and the fast-paced nature of the racing. It is a format I'm used to from both college sailing and match racing, so we look forward to bringing the smackdown on our competitors when things get tight."

To drive more participation in the event and to improve diversity overall for the Championship there are several requirements per boat. Sailors under 30 make up 25% of the team and female sailors make up at least 25% of the team. A bonus is provided if a female is a helm.

The Mallory Trophy, a magnificent sterling silver tureen trophy, has a long and colorful history that dates to the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Racing for the Mallory Trophy was first held in 1952 as the U.S. Men's Sailing Championship and transitioned to an open event in 1993. Since then it has become a more open and inclusive regatta, allowing female skippers and all-female crews. In reflection, the regatta was renamed the U.S. Adult Sailing Championship in 2013.

"It's great to see so much enthusiasm here at the Beverly Yacht Club in anticipation of hosting this historic regatta," said Jack Gierhart, CEO of US Sailing and Commodore of the Beverly Yacht Club. "The Beverly Yacht Club has a longstanding tradition of hosting major national and international regattas, including many US Sailing National Championships and Olympic Trials, and the club will add to its legacy by hosting its second U.S. Adult Sailing Championships this week on Buzzards Bay. I know the club is excited to welcome these talented sailors to this spectacular sailing venue."

Prizes:

  • US Sailing medals will be awarded to the top three teams.
  • The first place team will be presented the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy.
  • The Staton J.Peele, Jr.Trophy voted upon by the sailors may be awarded for sportsmanship.
For additional event information, visit the event website.

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