Alex Temko wins Kona North Americans

Published on October 21st, 2018

Sixteen year old Alex Temko (Clearwater, FL) sailed a near perfect six-race series to capture the 2018 Kona North American Championship held October 20-21 in Pensacola, Florida.

Hosted by at Pensacola Yacht Club, Temko scored five bullets and dropped a deuce for a net total of five points. Noah Lyons (Clearwater, FL) was in a close second at nine. Billy Mason (Panama City, FL) and regatta chairman Tom Pace (Pensacola, FL) were knotted at 20 points, but the tie breaker went to Mason who scored a lower place second in race four.

The 33-board regatta awarded prizes to the top six overall, the top three women, the top three juniors and the top ‘grand master’. Karen Marriott (St. Petersburg Beach, FL) was the top lady sailor and finished sixth overall. The top masters prize went to Joe Sisson (Tallahassee, FL; age undisclosed), while Alex Temko as an under 18 sailor and as overall winner took the Top Junior prize.

Three of the top six overall winners were juniors so there is a good crop of young sailors on the rise. Tom Pace at fourth is an almost grand master and Karen Marriot is a young lady who is an Olympic hopeful. Maverick Putnum, who is 14, was fifth overall. He challenged the top sailors all weekend and showed international level skills on a shifty course.

Challenging conditions proved the theme as eight of the sailors who raced the first day called it quits as the morning on day two saw northerly winds at 17-25 knots with holes and 40º wind shifts up and down the course.

The overall wind direction was steady but cat’s paws of swirly north wind were obvious on the course. One competitor would go flying by on a 17 knot wind while 100 feet away another was plodding through the 2 foot chop looking for something new. And it would come to some and not others.

“We had people who ripped their hands, some juniors who couldn’t handle the tough wind and waves,” said Pace. “This was not an easy regatta weather-wise.”

The class utilizes a unique handicapping system which allows everyone to race together on one course, with different sized sails leveling the playing field for sailors of various body sizes and weights.

Next up is he 2018 Kona World Championship to be held October 27-31 in Clearwater, FL.

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Source: Talbot Wilson

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