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Balboa Yacht Club to host 46th Annual Championship of Champions

by Peter Bretschger 8 Oct 2020 17:27 PDT October 9-11, 2020
2019 Jack Brown Trophy Winners, Dalton Bergen (Seattle, Wash.) and Ben Glass (Seattle, Wash.) Championship of Champions 2019 © Rick Bannerot,

A talented list of current one-design class National and North American Champions will race for the prestigious Jack Brown Trophy at the 46th Annual Championship of Champions, hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club in Corona del Mar, California. This three-day US Sailing National Championship gets under way this Friday, October 9 and concludes on Sunday, October 11.

The Championship of Champions is one of the more unique regattas in the world. Champion sailors from a wide array of one design classes fleet race against each other in a boat that is often unknown to many and is typically held on a body of water with challenging conditions.

The 2020 edition of this US Sailing National Championship is even more unique. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all US Sailing National Championships for adult and youth have been either postponed to 2021 or cancelled, with the exception of the Championship of Champions.

The Balboa Yacht Club has hosted several US Sailing National Championships in the past and indicated that they were interested in hosting the Championship of Champions for quite some time. They are confident in their processes and procedures for hosting this event while carefully following all safety protocols and recommendations. The Balboa Yacht Club leadership has been very proactive in ensuring safe and successful summer and fall seasons of racing and club events.

All Balboa Yacht Club facilities are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis in accordance with or exceeding the State and County regulations. The club features two large open decks on its main floor and a large flag deck near the water for acceptable seating/dining for over 160 people.

All areas have hand sanitizer stations and wipe downs happen on a regular schedule. There is a large indoor area that has a state-of-the-art air purification system just recently installed. Restrooms also have special ultraviolet lights for added protection. All staff and club members regularly wear masks.

The property has been well marked with signs for appropriate distancing wherever lines form or people may congregate. Outdoor tents provide shade and open spaces for small group conversations and meetings.

Nineteen doublehanded teams will be racing in Newport Harbor this week in the Harbor 20, a classic modern daysailer which is ideal for both competitive racing and comfortable cruising. Teams will fleet race in a round robin format. According to the Harbor 20 Class Association, the boat's torpedo-like bulb keel keeps the weight low in the water. This keel design gives the boat plenty of stability in heavy winds without slowing the boat down in light air with excessive weight. The Harbor 20's excellent performance makes it a natural club racer.

"US Sailing is thrilled to see such a talented and robust field of sailors raring to go racing in this year's Championship of Champions," said Betsy Alison, US Sailing Adult Director. "Balboa Yacht Club's commitment to the safety of everyone involved in this event from sailors, to officials, to volunteers and club members has allowed us to move forward with this incredible event. I can't wait to see the outcomes from racing each day and ultimately, who will claim the title!"

Every year, US Sailing invites an accomplished guest competitor to the Championship of Champions. This year's guest competitors are Sally Honey (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Stan Honey (Palo Alto, Calif.). The married couple has collected three Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards between them over their storied careers. Sally won the Yachtswoman of the Year in 1974 and 1973 and Stan earned the Yachtsman of the Year distinction in 2010.

"We were excited to accept the invitation because it sounded like something we wanted to support and we are especially looking forward to seeing old friends," said Sally Honey about their participation at this championship.

Sally's competitive sailing career features an array of top results at major one design national and international events, including a 505 North American Championship where she defeated a fleet of mostly male skippers on her way to a first-place finish. Stan is one of the best navigators in the world and has set numerous sailing speed records in various sailboats around the globe.

Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) will also be skippering this week after qualifying for this event by winning the 2019 Star North American Championship. He will be sailing with crew, Charlie Bess (Miami, Fla.). Diaz also won a Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award in 2003.

Ten years ago, Chris Raab (Sunset Beach, Calif.) and Robert Kinney (Newport Beach, Calif.) captured this title raced in the Ideal 18. They have returned to take another shot at this unique championship after Raab won the 2020 Mercury Class National Championship in August. List of Competitors.

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

The 2020 Championship of Champions is nationally sponsored by Hobie Polarized.

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