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U.S. Adult Championship at St. Petersburg Yacht Club

by US Sailing 13 Nov 2017 15:07 GMT 11-12 November 2017
The Northeast Sailing Association team (Sail Maine) win the U.S. Adult Championship © US Sailing

The action was fast and furious on Tampa Bay this week. Twelve teams in J/70s representing their respective Regional Sailing Associations (RSA) enjoyed the speedy and highly entertaining racing format, as well as the spectacular weather and racing conditions at the 2017 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship, hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Sailors enjoyed a variety of conditions throughout the week, including light air and sunshine to big breeze and rain. Thirty-eight races were completed throughout the weekend.

Sailors were greeted with rain, wind and waves for the final day of racing at the U.S. Adult Sailing Championship for the Mallory Trophy. Seven races were completed to round off the championship series. Great work by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club's waterfront team who were quick on their feet to repair breakdowns throughout the weekend and keep sailors racing.

In the end, it was Carter White (Portland, Maine) and his team composed of sailors from Sail Maine representing the Northeast Sailing Association, who came out on top in an exciting finish on Sunday. White's team included Michael McAllister (Portland, Maine), Henry Cole (Freeport, Maine) and Fiona Gordon (Portland, Maine).

Carter and company were ranked fifth after two round robins. They avoided the qualifying repechage round by one spot, as the bottom six teams dueled it out over four races with the top six teams advancing to the championship round and the last two teams being eliminated from contention. The Sail Maine team saved their best for Sunday afternoon as they dominated the 10-team championship round and won by 11 points through 10 races.

"We sailed almost 40 races over four days. It's pretty crazy," said White. "I had never skippered a J/70 before so it was a lot of fun. The four of us have never sailed before as a team. Mike and I sail a lot together on the J/24."

"We had a lot of breeze today, at times, and changing conditions throughout the event from 6 knots to 20 knots. There was a little bit of everything for everyone and the race committee did an excellent job."

The win for White and his team earns them an entry to represent the U.S. at the Sailing Champions League World Qualifier.

David Loring's team from Charleston, S.C. representing the South Atlantic YRA placed second. This team featured Jeff Woodard, Amy Woodard and Patrick Wilson.

Finishing third was Trey Sheehan (Chagrin Fall, Ohio), Wilson Stout (Annapolis, Md.), Brad Boston (Sarnia, Ontario, Canada), and Curtis Florence (Lakewood, Ohio). They represented the Inland Lake Yachting Association.

The Championship got underway on Thursday under light breeze. Most of the day was spent under postponement. Racers experienced a Northwest building breeze at 5 to 8 knots later in the afternoon and the fleet managed to complete two races in the first round robin series. Local knowledge paid off for skipper David Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla./Florida Sailing Association) who won both races to take an early lead.

Friday's conditions were improved, as sailors experienced a Northeast breeze of 6 to 10 knots. The fleet tallied 16 races. Chris Raab (Huntington Beach, Calif./YRU of Southern California) took command of the leaderboard on Friday and had a six point lead through the first round robin and a five point lead through six races of the second round robin series.

On Saturday, sailors finished the second round robin, completed four races in the repechage round and the top ten teams sailed three races in the championship round. Sailors enjoyed a variety of conditions from medium breeze to start the day, to lighter breezes mid-day and ideal conditions for the start of the championship round. Raab and crew maintained a five point lead over Pat Toole (Santa Barbara, Calif./Southern California YRA) through the second round robin.

Teams qualified by competing at a high level in their respective RSA events. Teams consisted of both men and women sailors.

The league racing format offered sailors quick and competitive races, on-the-water umpiring, no discards, and an improved viewing opportunity for spectators. Every race counted, so consistency was a major factor. Races were approximately 15 minutes in duration. Some of the competitors have likened the format to college sailing in big boats.

First place team was presented the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy and received entry as the U.S. representative at the Sailing Champions League World Qualifier. The top three teams received US Sailing medals – Gold, Silver, Bronze. Teams representing the Southern Yacht Club, Edgewater Yacht Club, and James Island Yacht Club earned the Staton J. Peele, Jr. Trophy for sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship Notes:

Southern Yacht Club: Following racing Thursday evening, members of the Southern Yacht Club team derigged their J/70 and then assisted the St. Petersburg Yacht Club junior sailors by hauling 20+ Optimist prams out of the water.

James Island Yacht Club: Thank you to the sailors from the James Island Yacht Club for assisting in the measuring and tuning of the J/70s Saturday afternoon, prior to the start of the championship round.

Edgewater Yacht Club: Thank you to the sailors from the Edgewater Yacht Club for assisting in the measuring and tuning of the J/70s Saturday afternoon, prior to the start of the championship round. In addition, on Sunday sailors from the team came in off the water to assist in the replacement of a forestay; they even offered their personal forestay to the event.

For results and standings, Twitter updates (#MalloryTrophy17), photos and more information from the 2017 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship, please visit the event website.

The 2017 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship, hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club, is sponsored by Gill North America and Old Pulteney.

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