Draheim and Favela are Champions of the Champions
Published on October 21st, 2018
Bill Draheim (Royse City, Texas) and Rod Favela (Heath, Texas) dominated the 44th Championship of Champions regatta, topping the 17-boat fleet of decorated sailors held October 19-21 in Acworth, Georgia. Hosted by the Atlanta Yacht Club and raced in the Y-Flyer, Draheim and Favela (above) won with the low score of 22 points, good for 23-point victory.
After previously winning the championship in 2002, Draheim, 58, becomes the sixth two-time winner of the Jack Brown Trophy. Draheim also won the championship a third time, crewing for Paul Foerster in 1987. It’s a regatta he estimates he’s raced six times now.
“Everything went our way,” said Draheim. “I like this regatta. Getting a chance to race against other national champions is great and to win it a second time is right up there for me.”
The victory is the latest for Draheim in what has been a triumphant 2018. Draheim has enjoyed great success in the MC Scow class, where he won the National and Midwinter championships. In his career he has won the National Championship of five one-design classes, including twice in the Flying Scot, and twice has also been a finalist for the US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award.
With Draheim and Favela posting all top six scores, and winning 6 of the 13 races, a fierce battle ensued for second place. In the end, James Bowers (Winchester, Mass.) and Julia Marsh Rabin (Salem, Mass.) claimed second while Mike Ingham (Rochester, N.Y.) and Paul Abdullah (Jacksonville, Fla.), among the pre-regatta favorites, finished third.
Draheim and Favela gained entry to the regatta by winning the 2017 VX One North American Championship. The 19-foot VX One is a similar boat to the 18-foot Y-Flyer in that it has chines, hard angles on the hull which the boat leans against when heeling for stability.
Draheim, however, credited his experience racing on Lake Ray Hubbard at home in Texas as being a key to victory. The light and shifty conditions are similar to those at the event venue of Lake Allatoona.
“I like the light and shifty stuff, it’s similar to what we get at home,” said Draheim. “The key is to stay patient. When the other side of the course looked good we didn’t go chasing it, we waited for it to come to us.
“Two races we went back after starting early, but it was shifty enough that we could work our way back up,” Draheim continued. “It wasn’t just the shifts but the velocity was up and down also. So, there were a couple of ways to get back in the groove.”
The regatta opened on day one with Draheim and Favela pacing Ingham and Abdullah, who held a 4-point lead after the first four races. Then Draheim and Favela won Race 5, the final race of the first day, and followed it up with victories in three of the five races on day two to take a commanding, 19.5-point lead after two days. They closed out the regatta with a 4-2-1 on the final day of racing.
“Bill was spectacular,” said Ingham. “There was a lot of die and fill stuff, where one side of the course would have breeze while the other didn’t. We sat in a lot of holes and watched a train of boats go by, and once it started you couldn’t get there. Bill had a knack of being in that train of boats if he was having a bad race. He always found way to claw back.”
Bowers was ecstatic about finishing second. He and Marsh Rabin began the final day in fourth but posted finishes of 2-3-2 to climb up to second.
“We’re feeling good about finishing second in such a deep and talented fleet,” said Bowers, who won the 2017 Snipe National Championship to qualify. “We’re damn excited. We were hoping for top 3 and we did that.”
Like Draheim, Bowers leaned on his experience of sailing on lakes to contend with Lake Allatoona’s tricky conditions.
“Once we got comfortable with the boat we got our head out and were looking at the shifts,” said Bowers. “That played to our strength, small lake sailing. You had to figure out which were the small shifts and which were the big ones. You had to have a lot of patience.”
Racing was held on Lake Allatoona, an 18-square-mile lake created and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on October 19 to 21.
Final Results (13 races, 2 discards)
1. Bill Draheim/Rod Favela, -1-2--1-1-1-5-1-3-4-2-1- ; 22
2. James Bowers/Julia Marsh Rabin, 4-7-5-1--[18/OCS]-7-3-5-6-2-3-2- ; 45
3. Mike Ingham/Paul Abdullah, 1-3-4-2-8---7-5/RDG-4-1-7-7- ; 49
4. Bryce Dryden/Mandy Hofmeister, 2-2-11-6-6---6-3-5-3-4-3- ; 51
5. David Starck/Tom Starck, 3--9-3-3.5/TIE-6-10-1-2-2-6--6- ; 51.5
6. Mike McCaffrey/Erik McCaffrey, 8-4-6---5-3-2-6-8-7-8-4- ; 61
7. Brian Keane/Thomas Barrows, [18/DSQ]--10-4-7-2-6-4-4-1-9-15-9- ; 71
8. Tarasa Davis/Shelby Hatcher, 5-5-1-7-11--5-9-11-10-5--5- ; 74
9. Brad Russell/Scott Gise, 11-6-7-12-3.5/TIE-3-4-10-7-7--5-- ; 75.5
10. Mark Beaton/Russell Lucas, 7-8-12--9-8-9-8-8--11-10-8- ; 98
11. Walter Johnson/David Wood, -10-3-11--7-15-15-13-14-12-1-10- ; 111T
12. David Parshall/Amber Phillips, 11/RDG-12-14-13-5--2-12-9-11--11-11- ; 111T
13. Megan Ploch/Mark Ploch, -13-8-9-12-9-8-13-12-9-13-6-- ; 112
14. Lucy Spearman/Sammy Hodges, 10-16-13-8-2-11--16-10-12-8-9-- ; 115
15. Jim Ward/Stu Fisher, 12-9-15--10-4-14-14--15-10-16-14- ; 133
16. joe Schroeder/Helene Schroeder, 9-14-16-[18/OCS]-14-10-11-11-15-11/RDG-15--12- ; 138
17. Alan Taylor/Joel Blade, 13-15--10--16-16-17-14-16-14-14-16- ; 161
• Mark Beaton (Mt. Pleasant Beach, N.J.), 2018 Sandpiper National Champion; Russell Lucas (Mantoloking, N.J.)
• James Bowers (Winchester, Mass.), 2017 Snipe National Champion; Julia Marsh Rabin (Salem, Mass.)
• Tarasa Davis (Atlanta, Ga.), 2018 Snipe Women’s National Champion; Shelby Hatcher (Woodstock, Ga.)
• Bill Draheim (Royse City, Texas), 2017 VX One North American Champion; Rod Favela (Heath, Texas)
• Bryce Dryden (Kennesaw, Ga.), 2018 Y-Flyer National Champion; Mandy Hofmeister (Nashville, Tenn.)
• Mike Ingham (Rochester, N.Y.), 2017 Thistle National Champion, 2018 J/24 North American Champion; Paul Abdullah (Jacksonville, Fla.)
• Walter Johnson (Newport Beach, Calif.), 2017 Harbor 20 Class Winner; David Wood (Corona Del Mar, Calif.)
• Brian Keane (Weston Mass.), 2017 US Corinthian J/70 National Champion; Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI)
• Mike McCaffrey (Reading, Mass.), 2018 Day Sailer North American Champion; Erik McCaffrey (Lexington Park, Md.)
• David Parshall (Gilbert, S.C.), 2017 San Juan 21 North American Champion; Amber Phillips (Cayce, S.C.)
• Megan Ploch (Pelham, N.Y.), 2017 International Women’s Keelboat Champion; Mark Ploch (Bronx, N.Y.)
• Brad Russell (Pineville, N.C.), 2018 Thistle National Champion; Scott Gise (Mount Pleasant, S.C.)
• Joe Schroeder (Minneapolis, Minn.), 2017 M Scow National Champion; Helene Schroeder (Minneapolis, Minn.)
• Lucy Spearman (Atlanta, Ga.), 2018 Y-Flyer Junior National Champion; Sammy Hodges (Musella, Ga.)
• David Starck (Buffalo, N.Y.), top American at 2017 Lightning North American Championship; Tom Starck (Cleveland, Ohio)
• Alan Taylor (Greensboro, N.C.), 2017 Isotope National Champion; Joel Blade (Mooresville, N.C.)
• Jim Ward (Bay Village, Ohio), 2018 Interlake Class National Champion; Stu Fisher (Columbus, Ohio)
Source: US Sailing