Tuesday, October 30, 2007

San Diego Yacht Club Wins Offshore Champs

Photographs by Jahn Tihansky
Annapolis, Md. - After three days of intense racing on Chesapeake Bay where the leadership board changed several times, Chuck Nichols (San Diego, Calif.) led his team of San Diego Yacht Club to victory at the U.S. Offshore Championship.
Going into the final day, the top four teams were within five points of each other and anyone could have returned home the new U.S. Offshore Champion. But Nichols and his seven crew members (San Diegans Kyle Clark, Earl Terry, James Sakasegawa, Matthew Brown, Kelly McKeown, as well as John Reiter of Carlsbad, Calif., and Bruce Buddenhagen of La Quinta, Calif.) were prepared and quick out of the gates for the day's first race to take a bullet.
The pressure was on for the final race and the U.S. Naval Academy team led by Chris Hamilton took an insurmountable lead, or so it seemed. However, at the second weather mark, Hamilton misjudged the layline and strong ebb and was forced to tack twice at the mark and ended up hitting the mark too. Nichols’ team capitalized on the mistake and surged into the lead while Navy spun. John Hoag’s team from Seattle, one point ahead of Hamilton going into this final race, appeared in the picture and set their chute simultaneously with Navy. A spirited battle erupted down the final run with both crews recognizing that the stakes for second overall were on the line.
At the end, Nichols won the race securing the regatta while Hamilton held off Hoag by half a length to tie on points but earn second on the tiebreaker while Hoag graciously settled for third. Defending champion Robert Hobbs of Davis Island Yacht Club put up a good fight but ended finishing fourth overall.
The last time a Californian team won the U.S. Offshore Championship was in 1998. This is the first time in the history of the regatta that a team from San Diego Yacht Club takes home the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy.
For complete results, daily reports and photos from the U.S. Offshore Championship, please visit the event website at www.ussailing.org/championships/adult/usoffshore/index.asp.