U.S. Disabled Sailing Champs: Porteous, Muse Win

Published on August 30th, 2015

San Diego, CA (August 30, 2015) – Saturday’s final day of racing capped a fun week of good competition and quality instruction for these inspiring athletes at the 2015 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, hosted by the Southwestern Yacht Club. In the end it was the team of Ryan Porteous (San Diego, Calif.) and Steven Muse (Poway, Calif.) pulling out the win in a down-to-the-wire finish.

Doublehanded teams raced in the Martin 16 class sailboat for the Chandler Hovey Trophy over three days on North San Diego Harbor. Most of the fleet was in contention through the first six races of the championship. The two teams at the top of the leaderboard going into Saturday’s finale were Michael Strahle (Redding, Calif.) and Donna DeMarest (Watterburry, Conn.), and Bob E. Jones (Issaquah, Wash.) and Ken Kelly (Victoria, BC, Canada). They each had 13 points. The two teams trailing the leaders by just one point were Cristina Rubke (San Francisco, Calif.) and Kris Scheppe (Naples, Fla.), and Porteous and Muse. With three races to go on Saturday and one point separating four teams, the Hovey Trophy was truly up-for-grabs.

Porteous and Muse continued to get stronger in the Martin 16 with each race after a difficult first three races on Thursday. They placed first and second in Races 5-8, and their third place finish in Race 9 sealed the win. They survived a late rally from Rubke and Scheppe who won Race 9 and finished one point behind the champions. The top four teams were separated by just four points. Strahle and DeMarest placed third, while Jones and Kelly finished fourth.

Porteous is a Skud-18 sailor with Maureen McKinnon on the US Sailing Team Sperry. He has placed in the top five in the last two IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships.

“We sailed together for the first time last weekend,” said Porteous. “There are so many people out there willing to lend a hand. The Race Committee did such a good job getting these races off, especially the first two days under light conditions. Today, we had wind, current, and traffic out there, which made it interesting and fun. Everyone was finishing right next to each other. It was super competitive.”

Top 4 – Final Standings
1. Ryan Porteous/Steven Muse, MBYC, 4-[7]-5-2-1-2-2-1-3- ; 20
2. Cristina Rubke/Kris Scheppe, BAADS, 1-4-4-1-4-[7]-3-3-1- ; 21
3. Michael Strahle/Donna DeMarest, Redding Yacht Club, 7-1-1-[9/DNF]-3/RDG-1-4-4-2- ; 23
4. Bob E. Jones/Ken Kelly, Corinthian of Seattle, 2-2-2-[7]-3-4-5-2-4- ; 24
Complete Results

To increase participation and drive more awareness to the opportunities in adaptive sailing, US Sailing and the Southwestern Yacht Club organized two development fleets in the singlehanded Liberty and triplehanded Capri 22 class sailboats. Sailors took part in a racing clinic with practice on Wednesday led by US Sailing Paralympic Coach Betsy Alison.

The team of Melissa Klotz, Josh Agripino, and Tom Pena won the triplehanded fleet. Edward LeRoy came out on top in the singlehanded competition.

“These were challenging courses,” said LeRoy. “My fleet went down to the last race, to the last minute, and I had to check the board when I came in because I wasn’t sure who won.”

Twenty-one wounded members of the armed forces, both retired and active duty, from the Warrior Sailing program participated in the racing, clinics and practice this week. They were accompanied by Jennifer French, Founder of Warrior Sailing, and Ben Poucher, Program Director of Warrior Sailing. This program is focused on introducing active military and veterans with disabilities to sailing, learning to sail and basic sailboat racing.

This US Sailing National Championship is one of the oldest sailing regattas in the U.S. for sailors with disabilities. The talented field often includes Paralympians, current or former US Sailing Team members, and new contenders. First established in 1986, the U.S. Independence Cup became US Sailing’s National Championship for sailors with disabilities in 1989. In 2007, the regatta moved under the championships division of US Sailing and was renamed the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship. Many competitors from this championship have gone on to represent the United States at the Paralympic Games including Nick Scandone, gold medalist at the 2008 Paralympics, and Jennifer French, silver medalist at the 2012 Paralympics.

For final results, development fleets, photos, Twitter updates from San Diego, and more information about the 2015 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, please visit the event website.

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