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Kaneohe YC claim back-to-back Sears Cup victories at Chubb US Youth Triplehanded Championship

by US Sailing 15 Aug 2023 12:20 PDT August 11-13, 2023
From left: Jaxon Hottinger, Noelani Velasco, Makani Andrews, and Bryce Huntoon with the Sears Cup at the award ceremony of the 2023 Chubb US Youth Triplehanded Championship at Lakewood Yacht Club © US Sailing / Lexi Pline

After three days of close racing, Makani Andrews, Noelani Velasco, Bryce Huntoon, and Jaxon Hottinger from Kaneohe Yacht Club overcame a slow start in Sunday's Gold Fleet racing to claim their second consecutive Sears Cup.

Second place came down to the last race, where the San Francisco Yacht Club team of Hailey Thompson, Rhett Krawitt, Julian Levash, and Mark Xu were able to best the Austin Yacht Club team of James Brock, Ryder Getson, Zachary Romberg, and Lily Wind on the final leg. San Francisco finished with 42 points, while Austin Yacht Club finished with 44 points.

"Winning a second year in a row with the same crew is incredible, it's an indescribable feeling," said trimmer Bryce Huntoon. "Being able to train and compete with a consistent crew is massive. We're all good friends at home; many of us are training partners on other boats, so it's just pure fun racing with this team against some of the best sailors in the country."

Competitors at the Chubb US Youth Triplehanded Championship saw a wide range of conditions on Clear Lake, with lighter conditions in the morning building to a 15-18 knot seabreeze from the Gulf of Mexico in the afternoon. Racing took place August 11 - 13 in Lakewood Yacht Club's fleet of RS21s.

First awarded in 1921, The Sears Cup is US Sailing's oldest youth trophy, and serves as a pathway into keelboat sailing for youth sailors. Two teams from each US Sailing area can qualify for the Sears Cup in a local area qualifier.

Each year, US Sailing coach and event staff choose a winner of the Sportsmanship Award, based on a display of sportsman-like conduct to their competitors. This year's winners were the team from San Diego Yacht Club: Ava Gustafson, Madilyn Anderson, Kaya Hancock, and Taylor Ashton.

Unique to the Chubb U.S. Youth Triplehanded Championship is the Sears Shipshape Award, awarded to the Triplehanded team who demonstrates the utmost care and attention to detail for their borrowed boats during and after the Championship. This year's winners were the team from Mission Bay Yacht Club: Liam Kaseburg, Carlin Fretwell, Efe Derman, and Ariana Ludwig.

This year's event had a strong showing of mixed gender teams, with 4 boats driven by female skippers, and 14 of the 19 boats having mixed gender crews.

US Sailing would like to thank title sponsor Chubb Insurance, national sponsors Gill Marine, and host Lakewood Yacht Club for their support of the 2023 Chubb US Youth Triplehanded Championship.

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