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The Clagett and the U.S. Para Sailing Championships, TP52s

by David Schmidt 31 Aug 16:00 BST August 31, 2021
Julio Reguero sailing in the 2.4mR class Clagett Regatta - U.S. Para Sailing Championships © Clagett Regatta - Andes Visual

These might not be the easiest days for the international and national news cycles (to say the least), but the good news is that the sailing community has been helping to add a little bit of balance to a world that sometimes can feel a bit overpowered.

While there's sadly no stopping storms like Hurricane Ida from slamming into the Gulf Coast, nor is there any way to create anything even remotely approaching "fairness" in Afghanistan, sailing—and the international community that makes our wonderful sport possible—has been quietly percolating in the background, making individual lives better. This is to be celebrated. Take, for example, the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta (August 24-29, 2021) and the U.S. Para Sailing Championships, which recently concluded on the waters of Newport, Rhode Island's historic Narragansett Bay.

The Clagett, as it's known, featured two days of high-level clinics, followed by three days of racing in the 2.4mR, Martin 16, and Sonar classes. Sailors of all makes and models were welcome at the clinic, however racing at the U.S. Para Sailing Championships was restricted to disabled sailors.

The 15-strong 2.4mR fleet represented the biggest class competing at these regattas, with skippers and teams hailing from locales as far away from "little Rhody" as Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and even Puerto Rico, as well as plenty of New England representation. After seven races, skipper Dee Smith and his crew beat out fellow skippers Rudy Trejo and Julio Reguero to claim the U.S. Para Sailing Single-handed Championship (Judd Goldman Trophy) in the 2.4mR class.

"It was great competition over the two days and a big thank you to the PRO Tom Duggan and his crew for getting racing done in difficult conditions," said Smith in an official event release. "Thanks to my fellow competitors for some great competition here in Newport."

Racing in the Martin 16 fleet involved five teams hailing from states as geographically diverse as California, Massachusetts and Vermont. Once the finishing guns sounded, skipper Carwile LeRoy and crew member Doug Horsey had earned the class's U.S. Para Sailing Inclusive Double-handed Championship trophy.

"It was great to be able to defend my title in the class from 2019," said LeRoy, who-despite hailing from the Golden State-is no stranger to Narragansett Bay. "It came down to the last race of the last day, so I'd like to thank the PRO for getting the three races done today! Nick and Al had great boat speed and made it a great challenge on the water. This is the best run regatta around the coaching and volunteers are amazing."

The three-person Sonar class might have only fielded three entries, but skipper Sarah Everhart Skeels and her crew of Pauline Dowell and Emma Montgomery had to work plenty hard to secure top honors and the U.S. Para Sailing Inclusive Triple-handed Championship (Gene Hinkle Trophy). Additionally, this talented team also earned the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Trophy, while Skeels also collected the event's seamanship trophy.

"We thoroughly enjoyed all the sailing conditions Newport had to offer, it was challenging but worth the effort," said Skeels in an official release. "I can only thank my crew for all their effort and for being an amazing strong female crew."

Sail-World tips our hat to all of the great sailors who gathered for the C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta and the U.S. Para Sailing Championships, and to all the great professionals and volunteers who work hard to make this event a great experience.

The 52 SUPER SERIES Puerto Portals Sailing Week might be an entirely different animal than the Claggett, both in terms of location (Mallorca, Spain) and in terms of the boats sailed (TP52s), but there was plenty of on-the-water competition of the course of the regatta's six races, despite losing the final day to a lack of breeze.

Racing was divided into the nine-boat Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES and the seven-boat 20th Anniversary Invitational fleet.

While both divisions saw great racing, all eyes were on the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES, where Takashi Okura's Sled bested Doug DeVos' Quantum Racing and Toni Norris' Phoenix for top honors. Impressively, Sled won by a single point lead over Quantum Racing, while only six points separated first-place Sled from Harm Müller-Spreer's Platoon, which finished the regatta in sixth place; cooler still, five of the nine teams earned at least one bullet.

"This is our first win of the season obviously and only our second in seven or eight years and so we are delighted," said Don Cowie, Sled's mainsail trimmer, in an event release. "For us as a team it is a great result. It is a shame Mr Okura's not here to enjoy winning but we know he's been back in Japan watching every step of the way so it's a great win for the team."

While the Puerto Portals 52 SUPER SERIES might have shared bullets, Karl Kwok and his Beau Geste crew, racing in the 20th Anniversary Invitational fleet with Ken Read driving, managed to build and protect a perfect picket fence with a final (immaculate) score of just seven points.

"This was a really fun week for us. It was a real privilege to be invited to this anniversary event," said Gavin Brady, who is Beau Geste's tactician and project manager, in an event release. "We didn't plan on sailing this year but when this opportunity came, Karl Kwok thought it was important to be here. He was one of the founding members of the class... It's a shame he couldn't be here to enjoy this week to see what it's all about and how professionally run this event is and see it in person. I think you have to be here to believe it. When you're here in person you really get to feel the vibe and be around the best sailors in the world."

In other sailing news, be sure to get the latest whispers surrounding the location for the 37th America's Cup, get the latest news from the Melges 24 class, and check in with the big boys ahead of this weekend's Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

And finally, stay tuned for Sail-World's upcoming interview with Mike Milner, Sail Canada's high-performance director, to debrief Team Canada's sailing performances at this summer's XXXII Olympiad and to discuss the team's course back to the Olympic sailing podium.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt North American Editor

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