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US Sailing 2020 Championship of Champions at Balboa Yacht Club

by Peter Bretschger 11 Oct 2020 21:45 PDT October 9-11, 2020
Jake La Dow (left), Alex Curtiss (right) at 2020 Championship of Champions in Newport Beach, California. © Tom Walker

US Sailing's 2020 Championship of Champions came to a close on Sunday following three days of challenging and exciting racing on Newport Beach Harbor. Local sailors Jake La Dow (Huntington Beach, California) and Alex Curtiss (Newport Beach, California) took first place honors against a talented and accomplished fleet of class champions. La Dow and Curtiss won by a 44-point margin. They won six races and placed in the top four in 17 of the 21 races.

La Dow earned his way to compete at this US Sailing National Championship by winning the 2019 Barney Lehman 12 Class National Championship, hosted by the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

One design class National and North American Champions raced for the prestigious Jack Brown Trophy at the 46th Annual Championship of Champions, hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club in Corona del Mar, California.

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.

La Dow discussed the three days of racing against class champions this week in Newport Beach. "Everyone who is here knows how to win," said La Dow. "That's what's cool about this kind of event. Sailing against all these legends is incredible. It's great to make the Lehman 12 class proud."

"All the competitors felt comfortable being here and racing at this championship," added La Dow. "The Balboa Yacht Club, Organizing Authority, and all the competitors did a great job of social distancing, staying outside, and being safe."

"Jake and I were college roommates and teammates at St. Mary's College of Maryland," said Curtiss. "We've been sailing together for about eight years, and that includes match racing, J70s, Etchells, you name it.

Report: Peter Bretschger, Balboa Yacht Club

Jake La Dow of Newport Beach, California won US Sailing's Championship of Champions with an outstanding final day of racing going 1,1,2,2,2, to close out the series.

La Dow with crew Alex Curtiss were almost flawless over the three days. Placing in second was Chris Raab (Sunset Beach, California), La Dow's father-in-law. With Bill Menninger (Newport Beach, California) taking third, it was a clean sweep for Newport Harbor Yacht Club sailors all of whom were very familiar with the Harbor 20 class and the racing venue.

The final day of racing was in near perfect conditions with 8-9 knots of wind and comfortable sailing conditions. All of the competitors were very pleased with the host Balboa Yacht Club's extraordinary efforts to keep the boats sanitized at each boat rotation and the social distancing and protocols during the four days of the regatta. Event Chair Walter Johnson had been looking forward to hosting the event and organized an experienced Race Committee as well as a seasoned regatta of volunteers to make it a safe and memorable four days.

Final Results & Standings available here.

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