Geoff Becker wins Lightning Worlds

Published on July 25th, 2015

Ridgeway, Ontario (July 25, 2015) – Geoff Becker (Annapolis, MD) and his team of Jimmy Barnash and Laura Beigel have won the Lightning World Championship (July 21-25) with a fourth in today’s only race.

After taking the lead on day four, Becker’s team entered today with a five point lead over Jody Starck (Amherst, NY), who had held the lead over the first three days of the event. But Becker also had to contend with Allan Terhune, Jr. (Annapolis, MD), who along with Becker had been moving up the rankings, and was now just six points off the lead.

With all the top ten teams carrying scores in the 20s, showing how easily it was to post shocker scores in the 63-boat fleet, it was Becker that popped to the front while Starck and Terhune finished deep today, 16th and 24th respectively.

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Report from Lightning class:
“This was one of the most talented fleets I have ever sailed in, it was very difficult sailing,” explained Geoff Becker. Becker and his team never won a race but averaged 6.75 over the series. In fact, there was only one boat (Matt Fisher) in the top ten that won a race.

Race 9 was scheduled for a 1000 warning, but the breeze was not steady enough and PRO Jeff Borland called for a postponement. It started at 200, the furthest left we have seen it all week. Forecast called for further right. We began to see 210, then 210-215, then 215-225. At around 1040 RC called for Course 5, 220 at 1.25 nautical miles, breeze was 7-8 knots.

There was a lot of activity at the boat end, though the pin appeared to be favored. It was a clean start. Terhune won the pin and was joined by Tom Allen Jr., Raul Rios, Bill Faude and Rob Crane. Jody Starck was near the middle of the line and Becker was more middle/boat end. Starck sailed for about a minute and then tacked to head right, taking a few sterns. This move paid off and they were able to capitalize on a right hand shift.

They went far enough right to get the shift, but not over stand like many others did. Tito Gonzalez and his team also were in good position for the shift and rounded the top mark just in front of Starck. Scanlon, Santos and then Becker rounded in fifth. Terhune wasn’t able to connect with the right shift and rounded in 23rd. For the lighter air the fleet was pretty compact. There was a course change to 240.

Most teams jibed around the offset to head course right. Team Becker wanted to sail close just so Starck couldn’t put more boats between them. They had good downwind speed and closed gauge with Starck. Both rounded the left hand gate and headed middle right. Midway up the 2nd beat, Starck was able to tack on Becker. Team Becker was able to foot and with speed eventually was able to come up and pinch Starck off.

Becker sailed to the port lay line and was able to squeeze into a small hole after Gonzalez and Scanlon, to round in third. Dellenbaugh followed, then Santos, Martin, Linton, Greg Fisher. Jody and her team tried to find room to tack inside of Jamie Allan, Wake and Lutz on starboard lay line at the mark but there was no room and Starck had to jibe around and get in line. She rounded 12th.

Most of the fleet continued on starboard jibe. Starck and her team jibed around the offset to split from the fleet. About half way down the run, Team Becker jibed to cover Starck and Dellenbaugh moved forward. Clear ahead Team Becker began to focus more course tactics and Dellenbaugh and Martin who were closer. There was more tacking activity up the last beat. Team Gonzalez got their third race win of the series, Team Dellenbaugh finished 2nd, Scanlon 3rd and Becker 4th. Linton, Greg Fisher, Martin, and Lutz followed. Jody and her team finished 16th and Terhune 24th.

After the race Becker said, “it was our best start of the series… it felt good to be able to make our own decisions. Our strategy was to get clear off the line, sail fast and smart for the first half of the beat, then about half way up the beat keep an eye on Jody and Allan. With teamwork we executed our plan.”

Jody Starck (Amherst, NY) and her team of Ian Jones and Skip Dieball had lead the regatta through Race 7. Going into the last race on Saturday, they were 5 points behind Becker’s Team. Dieball remarked, “We had a great race going and then had to try and take some chances. In this fleet, it backfires at times. Today was one of those times. We had a great week with great friends.”

Billy Martin (Riverton, NJ) and his team of Janel Zarkowsky and Chappy Hopkins finished 7th in the last race to finish in third after winning a tie breaker with Greg Fisher (Mt Pleasant, SC) and his team of wife Jo Ann and Zeke Horowitz. When asked about this series Martin replied, “It was a deep fleet, consistency was key. If you didn’t get greedy you were less likely to get hurt.”

Martin was awarded the Karl Smither Award for being the highest placing first time skipper. He and this team finished 16th at last year’s 107 boat North American Championship to qualify for the Worlds.

The next Lightning World Championship will take place in November 2017 at the Salinas Yacht Club in Salinas, Ecuador. The US qualifier for this regatta will take place at the 2016 North American Championship that will be held August 13-19 at the Rochester Yacht Club in Rochester, NY. The 2016 Lightning Youth World Championship will take place July 23-27 also at the Salinas Yacht Club in Ecuador.

Final Results (Top 10 of 63; 9 races, 1 discard)
1. Geoff Becker / Jimmy Barnash / Laura Beigel, USA – [26] -3 -11 -4 -16 -2 -10 -4 -4 ; 54
2. Jody Starck / Ian Jones / Skip Dieball, USA – 4 -2 -5 -10 -13 -4 -17 -[27] -16 ; 71
3. Billy Martin / Janel Zarkowsky / Chappy Hopkins, USA – 7 -[22] -3 -6 -14 -14 -8 -13 -7 ; 72
4. Greg Fisher / Jo Ann Fisher / Zeke Horowitz, USA – 12 -6 -15 -[20] -8 -12 -4 -9 -6 ; 72
5. David Dellenbaugh / Jeff Eiber / Jay Lurie, USA – 9 -[24] -2 -7 -5 -11 -16 -22 -2 ; 74
6. Allan Terhune, Jr. / Katie Terhune / Marcus Eagan, USA – 11 -5 -[29] -5 -7 -8 -6 -14 -24 ; 80
7. Matt Fisher / Tobi Moriarty / Dan Moriarty, USA – 1 -14 -6 -14 -3 -13 -[29] -21 -13 ; 85
8. Jody Lutz / Jay Lutz / Jonathan Lutz, USA – 3 -[37] -7 -17 -11 -20 -11 -12 -8 ; 89
9. David Starck / Sarah Paisley / Ned Roseberry, USA – 8 -18 -17 -9 -[23] -7 -15 -5 -17 ; 96
10. Jamie Allan / Stephanie Boucher / Chantal Leger, CAN – 5 -15 -[21] -16 -9 -21 -14 -7 -9 ; 96

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