Battle Royal for Champions title

Published on October 3rd, 2019

Current one-design class National and North American Champions have gathered for the 45th Annual Championship of Champions, with racing October 4-6 in Stamford, CT.

The unique format for this US Sailing National Championship pits champion sailors from a wide array of one-design classes to race on even terms, with the 2019 edition being held in Ideal 18s for the prestigious Jack Brown Trophy.

Additionally, US Sailing invites an accomplished guest competitor, with that role filled this year by US Sailing President Cory Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.). Sertl’s sailing experience ranges from dinghies and match racing, to one-design keelboat racing at the highest levels of national and international competition. She is a two-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award winner in 1995 and 2001.

The Ideal 18 is a doublehanded sailboat designed by Bruce Kirby and now being built by Shumway Marine. “The Ideal 18 is a keelboat with a spinnaker and many of our competitors are dinghy sailors,” notes event chair Don Wyllie. “We are expecting some breeze so the racing should be both competitive and exciting.”

Bill Draheim (Rockwall, Texas) has returned to defend his title from last year’s event, hosted by the Atlanta Yacht Club in Acworth, Ga. and raced in the Y-Flyer. Draheim also won this event as helm in 2002 in the Flying Scot and as crew in 1987 for Paul Forrester in the Flying Dutchman. Draheim qualified for event by winning the MC Scow National Championship. Draheim has raced at seven Championship of Champions through the years.

“This is one of my favorite events to race at and whenever I have a chance to compete for this Championship I always do,” said Draheim.

Chris Raab (Sunset Beach, Calif.) is another former winner of this event and is returning to compete again for the Jack Brown Trophy in a familiar boat. Raab won the 2010 Championship of Champions, which was also raced in the Ideal 18.

“I’m here to get the job done,” said Raab. “It’s great to be sailing with my buddy Geoff Ewenson. The Stamford Yacht Club is beautiful and any time I’m invited to compete at a US Sailing Championship, I change my plans to make it happen.”

Raab also commented on the Ideal 18. “The Ideal 18 is like a Cal 20 with a spinnaker and I’ve done a lot of Cal 20 sailing in my lifetime.”

This year’s field of sailors includes 11 North American Champions and eight National Champions.

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