Travis wins 2021 U.S. Offshore Champs
Published on September 26th, 2021
Eight teams representing their respective US Sailing Areas from regions around the country vied for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy at the 2021 U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship, held September 24-26 in Annapolis, MD. Skipper Steve Travis, from Corinthian Yacht Club (Seattle, WA), and his crew came out on top after three distance races and one buoy race.
“It was a fun race and a fun event…. Good people, a great venue — an interesting venue — and it’s one of the best events that is run,” says Travis who had also won in 2013.
Close behind Travis was Bob Fleck and his crew from Fishing Bay Yacht Club (Deltaville, VA) followed by the Navy Offshore Sailing Team skippered by Ensign Don Poirier.
The regatta was hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron and sailed aboard Navy 44 MK II Sloops.
To kick off the event, the fleet completed one buoy and one distance race with Fleck and his crew winning both and in the lead at the end of day one, followed by Poirier and then Travis.
“The finish of race two was held right off the Robert Crown Sailing Center seawall providing a great spectacle for those ashore,” said Jahn Tihanksy, Director and Head Coach of the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team, and also chairman for this event. “[Fleck] extended to a commanding lead to take the bullet while Poirier and his Navy crew held second.”
Racing was interrupted on the second day due to a lack of wind, but a freshening breeze on the final day allowed for two distance races. It was in the final race that Travis and his crew were able to take the lead, overtaking Poirier and the US Navy Sailing Team midway through the race to secure their overall win.
“We had a decent start, and thought we had a good shift, and it turned out to be not such a great shift,” says Travis of the final race. “We rounded the mark in third, and the boat in front of us [Navy] took their kite down and put a jib up, which ended up being not the right thing to do.
“And then the lead boat jibed away, and when they came back were behind us. From there, it was just a reach to the weather mark. Then it was shifty, inside the harbor with 30 degree shifts…it was stressful to hang on… but we did it.”
The Notice of Race requires competing teams to have a certain amount of consistency in their crew arrangements — a minimum of five competitors on each team must have raced together (including the designated skipper) in a minimum of five regattas in IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF, Offshore One Design, Offshore Level Class Racing or Portsmouth Numbers rating systems in the past 36 months.
Each team is also required to sail with a U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman from the varsity offshore sailing team aboard. The overall winners of the Championship had Midshipman Keegan Steele aboard, and the second-place finishers, skippered by Fleck, were joined by Midshipman Cade Gelhar.
“They sailed a great race and are great competitors, and are a lot of fun to be around and they represent the US Navy very well,” says Travis of the US Naval Academy sailors who partook in the event. “Our Midshipman was very good, and helpful to us in beating his buddies on the Navy boat.”
The U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship is a biennial event. The winner of the Championship is awarded the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy, named for a US Naval Academy Graduate who served in the Civil War. After resigning and going into business he became a yachting enthusiast and Rear Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. The Trophy is on display in the Robert Crown Center at the United States Naval Academy.
Source: US Sailing