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2019 U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship - Preview

by Jake Fish 25 Sep 2019 05:37 PDT 27-29 September 2019
Chicago's Kennalley and team win the 2017 U.S. Offshore Championship © US Sailing

Ten teams representing their respective US Sailing Areas from regions around the country will compete for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy this week in Annapolis, Md. at the 2019 U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship. The U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron will once again play host to this US Sailing National Championship over three days of racing Navy 44 sloops on Chesapeake Bay. Racing days take place beginning Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29.

Teams will be challenged through a series of races organized using a variation of formats and distances designed to test their overall offshore sailing skills. A long distance race, a medium distance race, and at least three shorter buoy races are planned for the Championship. Buoy race courses will be windward-leeward with legs of approximately 0.8 to 2.5 nautical miles. The distance races will be 15 to 50 nautical miles around inflatable buoys and government marks.

The Championship focuses on the core fundamentals of offshore racing. Teams are challenged in the areas of navigation, boat handling, teamwork, and basic fleet racing skills. The competing teams are representing each of the US Sailing Areas and were seeded through Area eliminations or by sailing resume, plus one U.S. Naval Academy team. Each team consists of a crew of eight, including one skipper, six crew members, and one U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman from the varsity offshore racing team. Teams must have competed in at least five IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF, Offshore One Design, Offshore Level Class Racing or Portsmouth Numbers rating systems in its respective Area during the past 18 months.

"There are a number of things we enjoy about hosting this Championship," said Jahn Tihansky, Director and Head Coach of the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team. "While our team sails in many civilian events throughout the year, it is rare that we are able to get to know the other teams very well. The experience our embedded crew member receives from sailing with the visiting crews is always a good one. The visiting teams seem to enjoy that too."

Tihansky has served as regatta chair for this Championship since 2005. "Having a fleet of matched boats of this size is a rarity and combined with the Academy's proximity to the Chesapeake and the institution of the Naval Academy itself all combine to make this a special place to visit and compete."

The U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship is a biennial event. Returning to defend the 2017 title is Brian Kennalley (Chicago, Ill.) and his team from Area K and the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club.

"There are a lot of things to enjoy about the U.S. Offshore Championship," said Kennalley. "It's a great opportunity for very close racing among talented teams from around the country. It was truly a pleasure having a Midshipman on the team."

"We learned a lot at the event in 2017, especially about how the tide and current impacts the racing in heavy boats when the wind is light," said Kennalley. "Those are new concerns to Chicago racers like us. We mostly prepared by doing a lot of one-design racing through our 30-boat Chicago Tartan 10 fleet, which conducts over 50 buoy races and six distance races every year."

Kennalley is returning four of the six crewmates from the 2017 U.S. Offshore Championship, including Brian Kaczor (New Lenox, Ill.), Brian Davies (Seattle, Wash.), Edward Mui (Chicago, Ill.), and Andrew Camarda (Chicago, Ill.). They will be joined by Carrie Camarada (Chicago, Ill.) and Ye Yi (Chicago, Ill.).

"I love being a member of such a fun and talented team," added Kennalley. "We're all friends on land too; we probably see each other three times a week. It's great to work together with your best friends to try and predict and strategize for the usually-unpredictable conditions and make decisions on the fly when other boats interfere with your plans."

Three other teams from the 2017 U.S. Offshore Championship are also returning to race this year, including skippers Glenn Doncaster (Raleigh, N.C.), Scott Ward (Hollywood, Md.), and Dan McGanty (Los Angeles, Calif.).

For additional information about this Championship, visit the event website.

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