Shannon wins match at Oakcliff Grade 3

Published on July 28th, 2020

Seven teams faced off in Match 40s for Oakcliff Sailing’s Grade 3 Match Race event in Cold Spring Harbor, New York over July 25-26, 2020. The regatta kicked off with a two-day clinic coached by a highly renowned match racing coach followed by 2 days of racing in a Grade 3 Regatta.

The first day of racing saw light winds across the board, with top speeds around 7 knots as Oyster Bay’s “cocktail breeze” filled in around 5:00 pm. On day 2, a 7-12 westerly allowed competitors to finish the round robin, consultation round and finals. Long-time Oakcliff match racer Doug Shannon took first place in a neck-and-neck finals race with Pearson Potts. Derek Webster, winner of last month’s Grade 5, took third.

“We had great upwind boat speed and our new tactician, Chris Poole, who really helped us play the course right,” said Doug Shannon, winner of the event. “I’ve also been able to pull together a consistent crew for the first time since I started sailing at Oakcliff, which was a huge advantage this weekend.”

Shannon was also proud to have won a regatta with such a high level of competition. “I’m proud to share the podium with Pearson, who’s ranked twenty third in the world match race rankings, and Derek Webster, who beat me out for the title in Oakcliff’s Grade 5 last month,” he said.

Pearson Potts, the second place helmsman, was focused on shaking off the rust and working new crew members into positions as he prepares for the 2020 Oakcliff International to be held August 27-30.

“I’m grateful to Oakcliff for putting on these events,” he said. “I don’t know of anywhere else that is hosting events that are COVID compliant but also focused on getting people out on the water with great racing – it’s a win-win-win.”

Two of the teams were made up of Oakcliff trainees with one coach on board. Both helms and almost all of the trainees were completely new to match racing. All sailors were pushed to their limits and learned valuable lessons competing against very high-level competitors.

Potts looks forward to coming back to Oakcliff in a month using lessons learned this weekend. Depending on travel restrictions, there may be spots available for the International. Contact Patrick Burks at for an invitation.

Oakcliff also began beta testing on-board live streaming technology for the Match 40s, allowing spectators to be involved in every aspect of match racing at Oakcliff.

Oakcliff will host six more match race regattas this season, safe and socially distant, but with a focus on high-level sailing and training. The next regatta is a Grade 4, August 1-2. Until then, Oakcliff Sailing is offering socially distanced fleet racing on Wednesday nights and sailing sessions for supporters on Lasers, Sunfish, the Classics, and Match 40s.

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Source: Lexi Pline, Oakcliff Sailing

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