2021 Championship of Champions
Published on September 19th, 2021
The 47th Championship of Champions and the Jack Brown Trophy will be going home with Conner Blouin and his crew JoAnn Fisher and Samuel Blouin. The trio consistently topped the 14-boat fleet throughout the 14 race series on September 17-19, never finishing outside the top four, save their one throw-out race. The event was hosted by Pontiac Yacht Club in Lake Village, MI.
“I was so happy to do it with my brother and JoAnn; I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Conner Blouin. “It was really tough sailing, so consistency paid.”
Blouin qualified for the Championship of Champions at the 2021 Sunfish North American Championships in June at Lake Norman Yacht Club.
“It was a deep fleet and a small line to start…our game plan was to come off the middle of the line so we could go to either side of the course early.”
Matt Fisher finished second having qualified at both the MC Scow Masters Nationals and 2021 Interlake Nationals. In third was Ched Proctor who qualified at the 2019 Lightning North American Championship.
“We thought Conner and his team sailed fantastic, it was like short course college sailing where you had to start in the middle and stay in the shifts and puffs,” recounted Fisher. “We had really light air except for two or three of the races. We thought we had a good series, but Conner just sailed outstanding.”
The Championship of Champions is raced by champion sailors from a wide range of One-Design classes. Eligible sailors must be a 2020 or 2021 One-Design class U.S. National Champion, North American Champion, or World Champion helmsperson, though exceptions were made for 2019 qualifiers because of the pandemic. This year’s championship was contested in the Lightning.
The racing on Cass Lake was dominated by variable wind speed and direction. “It was extremely fickle,” says Proctor.
The regatta was sailed using a boat rotation, with competitors swapping out their boats between races in order to ensure the boat itself was not an increased advantage. Boats were rigged with new sails from North Sails for the regatta.
Every year, US Sailing invites an accomplished guest competitor to the Championship of Champions. This year’s guest competitor was Mike Ingham, a two-time winner of the Championship of Champions and a National and North American Champion in multiple classes.
“I always love this regatta, it’s so much fun to get with all the class champions from other classes and meet them,” says Ingham whose son Sam was also skippering. “I think he beat me so I’m not as happy as I would be, but he beat me in Thistle Nationals too, which is how we got here.”
Regarding the challenging conditions, Ingham was philosophical. “Mother Nature is going to do what it’s going to do. Certainly, some people are better at [lake sailing] than others; those who keep their eyes out of the boat, look for pressure along the shore and whatever is coming next, and keep their cool, are the ones who do the best.”