Matt Struble wins 2015 A-Class Catamaran North Americans

Published on May 22nd, 2015

Panama City, FL (May 22, 2015) – St. Andrews Bay tested the 41 competitors’ light-air skills on the last day of the 2015 A-Class Catamaran North American Championship. Matt Struble secured his third North American championship title with two more first place finishes. Bruce Mahoney, last year’s champion, finished the event second overall with a 3-2 scorecard today. Bailey White captured third overall.

Fourth place Woody Cope, also brings home the great grand master title (65+ years old), quipped to the spectator fleet as he rounded in front of Struble at the top mark in the last race of the day, “Well, this is a first.” In the shifty conditions and heavy current no lead was safe, however. When they split at the bottom mark, Struble’s move out the right side paid off, overtaking the lead and the win.

“Today was really the icing on the cake,” Struble said, “Bruce is going so well, and with the big change in conditions today I had no idea how I would get along in under foiling conditions, so it was the most nervous day of the whole week for me. But it worked out nice. I had adjusted my sail set up, which allowed me a little bit more power, and tactically allowed me to go where I wanted to go.”

Struble noted that while he’s been sailing a lot this year, it’s probably the least amount of racing he’s ever done and chuckled, “I think I’m sailing the best I’ve ever sailed.”

Bob Hodges, who suffered damage from a collision in day one and an over early penalty, battled back throughout the remaining three days to capture fifth place with the help of the second throwout. “I was really happy to get back into the top five. Overall this week I learned a lot downwind and felt like thing were starting to come together,” said Hodges, who races on the eXploder, a foiling design. “I think I’ve filled my notebook to take home and help me prepare for the Worlds in Italy.”

The ten race series was held on May 19-22.

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Report by event media. Photos by Walter Cooper.

Beginning with the A-Cat NAs, Panama City and St.ABYC plan to show the world that their premier sailing and tourist destination is ready for primetime. Panama City recently approved a tourism grant to introduce racing and cruising sailors to its beautiful town on the Bay, which offers protected deep water, consistent breeze and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. The fantastic sailing conditions, St.ABYC’s warm hospitality and top-notch race management, combined with Panama City’s family-friendly atmosphere, great restaurants and boutiques, provide the perfect package to host premier sailing regattas.

The A-Class Catamaran (A-Cat) is the fastest singlehanded small catamaran in the world. Sailors range from 17 years old to over 70. The A-cat is a highly responsive lightweight boat (165 pounds), and the powerful rig means that even the heaviest sailors are on the trapeze upwind in six knots of breeze and flying a hull downwind (wild thing). The top sailors have now mastered the art of trapezing downwind and foiling downwind, making the boat even faster and more exciting, for the sailor and spectators alike. The boat is very easy for an experienced sailor to sail, but challenging to sail really fast.

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