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2021 Catalina 22 National Championship Regatta at Pensacola Yacht Club - Overall

by Talbot Wilson 29 May 2021 07:05 BST May 23-27, 2021
Gold Fleet winner Justin Chambers 'Buc-ee' (bow 35) with his crew Doug Thome and Winn Story took the series and the 2021 Catalina 22 National Championships with a perfect 7 points in 7 races. Chambers is a nine-time Catalina 22 National Champion © Talbot Wilson

Justin Chambers' 'Buc-ee' from Flowery Branch, GA led the Catalina 22 championship Gold Fleet from the first start of the series to the final whistle to win the 2021 Catalina 22 National Championship. He and his crew Doug Thome and Winn Story won all seven races in the 14-boat championship division of the regatta. At 1-1-1-1-1-1-1... that's a proud lot of bullets.

Chambers & Co also took the three race mid-regatta Spinnaker Series 1-1-2. 'Buc-ee' broke her run of first place finishes because of a port-starboard incident at the start of the final spinnaker race.

Chambers is now a nine-time Catalina 22 National champion. He said, "Our boat is well prepared, but my crew is really why we sail so well. We have had a lot of experience together sailing one design boats from the cruiser-oriented Catalina 22's to racier Melges 24's." The skill of Chamber's mark roundings, setting up on the lay lines, and making smooth, fast turns was a clear example of how they put together a clean sweep of winning races in the Gold Fleet.

Commenting on their only second place finish Chambers said, "We were on starboard tack set up for the start of the final race of the spinnaker series when a port tacker came across on a collision course. To avoid a crash we steered up and stopped in irons, stalled head to wind and unable to come about or tack either way."

Of course, 'Buc-ee' was the last to cross the starting line in that race. Then, in an amazing recovery for the Georgia crew, they were able to dig back into a close second place for that final race of the spinnaker series. They finished the spinnaker series with a score of 1-1-2 for four points and first place again. Randy Pawlowski's 'Gold Rush' with crew Steven Johnson finished second with 2-2-4 for 8 points. Ben and Bo Miller's 'Tool of Justice' from Kemah TX came third with 5-4-1 for 10 points.

The Spinnaker Fleet was a combination of Gold Fleet and Silver Fleet sailors who chose to enter the additional three-race series. Originally the Spinnaker Fleet was scheduled to race in the mornings but under typical Pensacola Bay summer conditions there was no wind in the mornings as the sea breeze fought to build against the early land breeze.

PRO Hal Smith, Pensacola's wind wizard, decided to reschedule all of the spinnaker races for Wednesday at 1300 creating a lay day for the Gold/Silver Fleets after getting one extra race on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon the sea breeze built to a fresh 9-12kts out of the South, gradually swinging 20 degrees West through the three-race afternoon. Pensacola Perfect!

Winds for the four-day event were all southerly some as light as 6kts on Monday, mostly steady at 8kts Tuesday, 9-12kts on Wednesday and building to about 15kts for the final race on Thursday.

Rounding out the Gold Fleet podium finishes, Keith Bennett's 'Screamin' from Eclectic, AL and crew Jennifer Bennett and Gene Cochran came in second with 19 points. 'Mischief' sailed by Mickey Richardson of Cataula, GA with Sandy Cox and Harmon Smith finished third with 28 points.

In the non-spinnaker Silver Fleet— nine C22's that had never won a regional or national title— Richard Gailey from DeBary, Florida and his crewmate Patrick Dorsch aboard 'Wicklow Way' took five firsts, a second and a third scoring 1-1-1-1-2-1-3 for 10 points. Gailey, designated as a 'newest' racer, won handily... a good thing... but now he is automatically moved up to the Gold Fleet next time he races... maybe not so good.

Mark Breeden and Ryan Breeden aboard 'Papi' from Winchester KY took second with 15 points. 'Seawolf' sailed by Yanic Harel of Houston TX and Brian Money came third with 19 points.

Certainly the most interesting crew was the Stuart Weist family that came all the way from Preston, MN. They all sailed with gusto— Stuart, his wife Michelle and their three boys Luke, Eric, and Nick. They raced every race of the Silver Fleet with an ongoing, cheerful banter. If 'Lakeshark' passed anywhere nearby, you heard about it from the boys. The youngest crew finished with all sixes and sevens, in sixth place, but nobody had a better time. Each of the Weist boys went away with a Youth Trophy awarded to competitors 18 and under. All of the family also won the Big Boy trophy for the largest crew.

A highlight of the awards banquet, other than the delicious taco buffet, was the auction for an original Catalina 22 commemorative painting by Pensacola's Principal Race Officer and former C22 National Champion Hal Smith. The painting sold for $600 with Commodore Tom Pace matching that. The $1200 will be split between the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association and Pensacola YC to defer expenses for the National Championship regatta.

Overall Results:

Gold Fleet (14 boats, 7 races)

1. 221, buc-ee, Justin Chambers[Spinnaker], LLSC, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-; 7pts
2. 38, Screamin, Keith Bennett[Spinnaker], Dixie Sailing Club, 2-3-2-3-4-2-3-; 19pts
3. 8, Mischief, Mickey Richardson, Dixie Sailing Club, 6-5-3-2-2-3-7-; 28pts
4. 439, Gold Rush, Randy Pawlowski[Spinnaker], Lake Monroe Sailing Association, 4-2-4-4-5-15/OCS-4-; 38pts
5. 241, Chickin Ship, Chip Embrey[Spinnaker], Chip Embrey, 3-6-5-7-9-7-5-; 42pts
6. 5242, Tool of Justic, Benjamin Miller, GBCA / TMCA, 7-15/DSQ-7-5-3-6-2-; 45pts
7. 1700, WhoDat? aagb, Mark Goodwin, GSC, 9-4-9-8-10-5-6-; 51pts
8. 73, Danger Zone, Sam Beckman, Percy Priest YC, 5-10-6-6-11-8-10-; 56pts
9. 204, Grey Pride, Donald Woodhouse[Spinnaker], SYSCO, 11-7-8-10-7-4-15/DNF-; 62pts
10. 178, Hoss It Up, Duncan McBride, TSA-LA-GI Yacht Club, 10-9-11-13-6-10-8-; 67pts
11. 50, Knot Guilty, Tommy Smith[Spinnaker], Columbia Sail Club, 8-8-13-9-8-11-15/DNC-; 72pts
12. 757, 22skidoo, James Zeiler[Spinnaker], IMYC, 12-11-12-11-12-9-9-; 76pts
13. 1242,, Chuck Atkinson, Iron Mountain Yacht Club, 14-12-10-12-13-13-15/DNC-; 89pts
14. 9162, Sirocco, George Yerger[Spinnaker], Greers Ferry Lake Yacht Club, 13-13-14-14-14-12-15/DNC-; 95pts

Silver Fleet (9 boats, 7 races)

1. 216, Wicklow Way, Richard Gailey, LMSA, 1-1-1-1-2-1-3-; 10pts
2. 1351, Papi, Mark Breeden[Spinnaker], Cave Run Sailing Association, 2-3-3-3-1-2-1-; 15pts
3. 269, SeaWolf, Yanic Harel, Conroe Yacht Club, TX, 3-2-2-2-3-5-2-; 19pts
4. 15544, Second Star, Jim Covey, Tsa-La-Gi Yacht Club, 5-5-4-4-4-3-4-; 29pts
5. 15700, Shrimp 'n' Grits, Jerry Petritsch, Muscle Shoals Sailing Club, 4-4-5-5-5-4-9-; 36pts
6. 14267, Lakeshark, Stuart Weist, None, 7-7-6-6-7-6-6-; 45pts
7. 7436, Between the Blue, Mark Heinold, GLYC(grande lagoon pensacola, 6-6-7-7-6-7-8-; 47pts
8. 8537, wahoo, anthony woodall, grande maumelle sailing club, 9-8-8-8-8-8-5-; 54pts
9. 14230, GraSea, Bob Crook, Browns Creek Sailing Club, 8-9-9-9-9-9-7-; 60pts

Spinnaker (10 boats, 3 races)

1. 221, buc-ee, Justin Chambers, LLSC, 1-1-2-; 4pts
2. 439, Gold Rush, Randy Pawlowski, Lake Monroe Sailing Association, 2-2-4-; 8pts
3. 5242, Tool of Justic, Benjamin Miller, GBCA / TMCA, 5-4-1-; 10pts
4. 38, Screamin, Keith Bennett, Dixie Sailing Club, 3-3-6-; 12pts
5. 50, Knot Guilty, Tommy Smith, Columbia Sail Club, 6-5-7-; 18pts
6. 204, Grey Pride, Donald Woodhouse, SYSCO, 4-11/RET-5-; 20pts
7. 9162, Sirocco, George Yerger, Greers Ferry Lake Yacht Club, 8-6-8-; 22pts
8. 241, Chickin Ship, Chip Embrey, Chip Embrey, 11/RET-11/DNS-3-; 25pts
9. 757, 22skidoo, James Zeiler, IMYC, 7-11/RET-11/RET-; 29pts
10. 1351, Papi, Mark Breeden, Cave Run Sailing Association, 11/DNC-11/DNC-11/DNC-; 33pts

A full prize list and complete results are posted on the Catalina National Sailing Association website — results & prize list

More event information at