Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Best of the Best Arrive in Seattle for the U.S. Team Racing Championship

Day One action at the US Team Racing Championships. Image copyright Adam Koch.

by Jake Fish

One of US SAILING’s most intriguing adult national championship events, the U.S. Team Racing Championship, will be raced in the Pacific Northwest for the first time event history. Sixteen teams representing three countries will sail Vanguard 15s with a three boat, six sailors per team format. A collection of the best team racers in the world will vie for the prestigious George R. Hinman Trophy on the waters of Lake Union in Seattle, Wash. for three days of racing beginning this Friday, October 1. The championship will be decided on Sunday, October 3. The highest placing U.S. team will represent the United States at the 2011 ISAF Team Racing World Championship next August in Ireland.

The U.S. Team Racing Championship routinely attracts the top teams in the country. The top four teams from the 2009 event have returned, including defending champions Team Extreme, who will return all six sailors from last year’s team. Zachary Brown (New Haven, Conn.), Emmet Smith (Ne w Haven, Conn.), Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI), Marla Menninger (New York, N.Y.), Stuart McNay (Boston, Mass.), and Michael Hession (Chicago, Ill.) make up Team Extreme. The all Yale team is comprised of former 2008 Olympians, McNay (470) and Barrows (Laser). Team Extreme has already had a tremendous season. In May, Team Extreme captured the Wilson Trophy in Great Britain by defeating the West Kirby Hawks in the finals.

The West Kirby Hawks, a perennial power from Great Britain and winners of the 2009 Wilson Trophy with the same six sailors led by Ben Field (Sevenoaks, Kent GBR), Dom Johnson (Orpington, Kent GBR), and Andy Corhah (Sevenoaks, Kent GBR), will also be competing this week and are in search of their first U.S. Team Racing Championship. Having narrowly lost to Team Extreme at this year’s Wilson Cup, they are out to avenge their loss.

The New York Yacht Club’s Silver Panda team had their U.S. Team Racing Championship winning streak snapped by Team Extreme last year. NYYC Silver Panda lost to Team Extreme, 3-2, in the best-of-five final series. They won the Hinman Trophy from 2006-2008, and in 2002. The 2009 ISAF Team Racing World Champions will return four of the six competitors from last year, including Amanda Callahan (Canton, Mass.), Colin Merrick (Portsmouth, R.I.), Peter Levesque (Tiverton, R.I.), and Carrie Amarante (Wayne, N.J.). They will be joined this year by Clay Bischoff (Newport, R.I.) and Caroline Hall Levesque (Tiverton, N.J.).

Tall Boyz and Team San Diego Yacht Club (SDYC), last year’s third and fourth place teams respectively, will take another shot the championship in 2010. Tall Boyz are represented by skippers Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.), Scott Hogan (New York, N.Y.), and Sean Doyle (Cos Cob, Conn.). Team SDYC is represented by skippers Mikee Anderson Mitterling (Newport Beach, Calif.), Adam Roberts (San Diego, Calif.) and, Nick Martin (San Diego, Calif.).

Seattle Sideshow, the local qualifiers, hope to keep the Hinman Trophy in Seattle. They are led by skippers Anthony Boscolo, Dalton Bergan, and Andrew Loe. All six sailors on the team are from Seattle.

Team racing is a unique form of racing. In each match, two teams of three boats are pitted against each other on an “N” shaped course. It is the cumulative points of all three boats that determine the winning team, which may or may not include the winning boat. The resulting tactics in this format are complex. It requires instantaneous decisions and superb boat handling.

Up to 346 action-packed races will be conducted at the south end of Lake Union. Friday and Saturday’s racing will feature a double round-robin schedule. Sunday’s racing will consist of championship elimination rounds and the finals. Racing starts at 10:00 a.m. PST all three days.

The U.S. Team Racing Championship is hosted by the Seattle Yacht Club and the Center for Wooden Boats. The team of volunteers are prepared to put on an impressive show. On-the-water spectators are welcome, though they will be asked to stay clear of the race course and not interfere with wind. Two big screen TVs will carry action live inside the Center for Wooden Boats, and a live web feed is planned as well. Racing starts at 10:00 am all three days.

Sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A., LaserPerformance, Dry Creek Vineyard, and Gill North America. Please visit the event web site for up-to-the-minute results, daily reports, photo galleries, Sailgroove videos, and more. Also, follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates from Seattle.

Rank Team Stage 1
1 Team Extreme 91.67% (11/12)
2 NYYC Silver Panda 81.82% (9/11)
3 Tall Boyz 66.67% (8/12)
4 West Kirby Hawks 66.67% (8/12)
5 Who Dat! 66.67% (8/12)
6 North Shore Trouble 63.64% (7/11)
7 The Woonsocket Rockets 58.33% (7/12)
8 Buns & Ammo 50.00% (6/12)
9 North Field Alliance 50.00% (6/12)
10 Seattle Sideshow 50.00% (6/12)
11 Statesman with Heron 50.00% (6/12)
12 Big Whoop! 33.33% (4/12)
13 Team SDYC 25.00% (3/12)
14 One Man Wolfpack 16.67% (2/12)
15 Team St.FYC 16.67% (2/12)
16 Treasure Island Pirates 16.67% (2/12)

U.S. Team Racing Championships