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2019 U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship - Overall

by Jake Fish 29 Sep 18:08 PDT 27-29 September 2019
First Place – Navy Offshore Team. Left to right – Matt McClelland, Ethan Falsone, Christian Hoffman, Hayden Expericueta, Ben Van Duyne, Jonathan Hitt, Zack Bauer, Sean Caraher - 2019 U.S. Offshore Championship © US Sailing

For the first time since 2005, the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team has won the U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship. Sunday marked the third and final day of racing at the 2019 event, hosted by the Naval Academy on Chesapeake Bay..

This US Sailing National Championship featured a series of challenging offshore racing formats and distances designed to test the 10 teams at their overall offshore sailing skills. Focused on the core fundamentals of offshore racing, these teams were challenged in the areas of navigation, boat handling, teamwork, and basic fleet racing skills.

In the end, it was the home team helmed by Jonathan Hitt (Annapolis, Md.) from the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team taking first place honors and the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy. Crewing for the Naval Academy team was Christian Hoffman (Sandy Hook, Conn.), Ben Van Duyne (Riverside, Conn.), Sean Caraher (Annapolis, Md.), Hayden Expericueta (Annapolis, Md.), Ethan Falsone (Annapolis, Md.), Zack Bauer (Annapolis, Md.), and Matt McClelland (Cummings, Ga.).

The Midshipmen took control of the regatta on Saturday by winning both long distance race in the morning and the middle distance race in the afternoon. The distance race was about 22 nautical miles while the middle distance race was 11.

Following a sixth place finish in Sunday morning's buoy race, they won the all-important middle distance race, the final race of the regatta, to win the Championship. Learn more about the Navy Offshore Sailing Team and roster.

Sunday's buoy race featured four windward-leeward legs at approximately.8 nautical miles per leg. There was a northeasterly breeze at 15-17 knots during warm up and down to 10-12 for the start of the first race. Breeze built back up to 16 knots, with a downwind current. The afternoon middle distance race as approximately 17 nautical miles.

Hitt grew up boating in the Lake of the Ozarks, but did not get started in sailing until just before attending the Naval Academy. Learn more about Jonathon Hitt.

"We started off slow in the first buoy race and had trouble at the start," said Hitt. "We performed much better in the second distance race. We were able to make a move at the last mark and hold on to the lead. It got shifty at the end of the race and everyone started to catch up, but we held on."

Placing second overall was Hanson Bratton (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) of Area E of the Bayview Yacht Club and in third place was Glenn Doncaster (Raleigh, N.C.) of Area C and the Fishing Bay Yacht Club. List of Teams.

Final results and standings available here.

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