Canfield won the Battle, Everyone won the War

Published on October 30th, 2015

Virgin Gorda, BVI (October 30, 2015) – The prize-giving at Bitter End Yacht Club’s 29th Annual Pro Am Regatta proved that it is possible, in competition, for there to be no losers. Buoyed by the enormous love in that room, absolutely everyone left with a smile.

Each and every one of the guests of the BEYC who crewed all week for the six invited pro skippers (Sally Barkow, Taylor Canfield, JJ Fetter, Annie Haeger, Anthony Kotoun and Dave Ullman) certainly felt like a winner, with new knowledge, new friends … and a suitcase stuffed with new tee shirts and all sorts of swell sailing swag.

And the six skippers all seemed to be smiling from every pore in their bodies – each hoping to get an invitation for next year’s 30th Pro Am. Based on the love in the room, each of those six deserves that opportunity. Time will tell.

After a week of point-to-point racing, buoy racing and team racing, the final trophies were decided by match racing between the top four scoring skippers.

Two former match racing world champions squared off for the top prize – Taylor Canfield and Sally Barkow. Although Barkow has spent the last two years training on and then racing a 65-footer in the round the world Volvo Ocean Race, she looked totally comfortable on the IC-24 as she aggressively attacked Canfield during the pre-starts. But Canfield really had the home field advantage. His dad, Bill Canfield, had the first IC-24 in the Virgin Islands, and gave the helm to young son Taylor at the age of 13.

Taylor, now 26 is very active and hugely successful on the international match racing circuit. It’s what he does for a living, and it showed as he prevailed over Barkow 3-1. Later in the evening, with a huge smile on her face, Sally admitted, “No question about it – I’m still a bit rusty.”

The pairing in the Petit Finals for third and fourth place in the Pro Am was equaling interesting. It pitted USA’s 470 Olympic hopeful Annie Haeger against her coach, Dave Ullman. Before the start, Ullman quipped, “I can’t lose. If she beats me, it just proves want a good coach I’ve been.” Dave Ullman is indeed a good coach and Heager won the Petit Finals 2-0.

When asked her if she got special pleasure out beating her coach, Annie hesitated, then smiled, then admitted with a distinct twinkle in her eyes, “Yes … it did feel kind of good.”

Event website.

Report by Tom Leweck.


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