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Trophies that are worth winning

Published on October 6th, 2022

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The US Sailing national championships have evolved to remain relevant, but the Championship of Champions is as brilliant a concept today as was the first edition in 1976. Get all the U.S. one design champions in one place, but them all in the same type of boat, and find out who is best. I love this event!

Past champions include Dave Ullman, John Kolius, John Kostecki, Paul Foerster, Ed Adams, Steve Benjamin… and me… though my victory took some suffering to earn.

My first attempt was crewing for 1987 Lido 14 Champion Tim Mulvaney, who thought I’d be handy as the boat used was the Flying Scot in which I had been runner-up in the 1984 North Americans. We were poised to win until I made a mess of one weather leg and watched Foerster claim victory in New Orleans, LA.

My second attempt was in 1988 as the Snipe Champion, the boat used that year was the Snipe, and I had local and elite sailor Doug Clark with me in Annapolis, MD. But I allegedly fouled a starboard boat on a close crossing (always know who may cry foul), was tossed in the no alternative penalty series, and Adams got the title.

My final attempt was in 1990 when I had won the Lido 14 Nationals, and the boat being used was the new Hobie SX-18 on Lake Tahoe, CA. With racks and spinnaker, it couldn’t be much different than a Lido 14, but I was already into my Tornado Olympic campaign, and my crew Matt Reynolds and I adapted well enough to win… finally!

One design sailors don’t tend to jump around into other classes, so the regatta is this meet-and-greet of people you read about but hadn’t met. It is a privilege to earn entry, the boats are provided, and the sails are new. After a year of grinding, this is a regatta where you just show up. Plus, the perpetual is a massive bowl, and trophies to drink out of are worth winning.

However, after seeing some of the US Sailing events tainted by professionalism, I was pleased to see the 2022 edition have two stipulations in its Notice of Race:

• As this Championship is held in the Corinthian spirit of competition, no skipper or crew may be paid to sail in this event. Skipper and crew shall sign a declaration of compliance during the registration process.

• No private coaching of any competitor while on the water shall be permitted during the period October 6-9, 2022.

The 48th US Sailing Championship of Champions will use the MC Scow with 20 teams competing at Shore Acres Yacht Club in Brick, New Jersey. Among the favorites will be Bill Draheim (Royse City, TX) who is the MC Scow Masters Champion, and lucky for him there is now a discard in the series.

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