Stamford Yacht Club in Stamford, CT hosted US Sailing’s 45th Annual Championship of Champions on October 4 – 6. The regatta, for which competitors must qualify by winning a National or North American one-design class championship, was sailed in Ideal 18s in three days of big wind (gusts over 30) on Long Island Sound.
RS Aero North American Champion Dalton Bergan and crew Ben Glass (both hailing from Seattle, WA) established a dominant lead early on, winning six of the total 13 races, including both races on the first day. With a considerable lead, they officially sealed their victory after winning the second to last race of the event to claim the 2019 Jack Brown Trophy. Bergan attributed their success to their consistent focus on the water, stating, “We put a lot of effort into setting up the boat before every race.” Glass added, “We went upwind to check our settings over and over again without resting much between races. It seems to have paid off.”
Both of the victors enjoyed the Championship’s unique crowd of fellow competitors, “We didn’t really know what to expect from the competitors at this event,” said Glass. Bergan noted, “It was really interesting to compete against such a broad spectrum of sailors. This is the only place where you’d see this group of people racing against each other in the same fleet.” This year’s Championship of Champions featured a particularly wide age range. Nine of the twenty sailors were under age 21, and several of the young competitors raced alongside a sibling.
Unlike the sibling teams, Vincent Porter (Chicago, IL) and Andrew Barrett (Houston, TX) hadn’t spent much time sailing with one another and ended up in a tight race for the silver medal. “This is the first time we’ve ever sailed with one another; it was our first time on a boat together,” said Porter. “We were college roommates and we decided to do this regatta kind of on a whim.”
The pair’s lack of practice time didn’t hold them back. On the second day of racing, they consistently placed in the top-five and moved up the leaderboard into the silver medal position. Despite the solid lead over third-place finishers Chris Raab (Sunset Beach, CA) and Geoffrey Ewenson (Annapolis, MD), Porter and Barrett kept things exciting after finishing 18th in the second to last race, maintaining just a two-point lead over Raab and Ewenson.
“Well, we had just had our worst race of the regatta and honestly at that point, we didn’t worry about the points,” said Porter. “We just figured, what the heck, let’s have fun and a good last race.” The pair did just that, winning the final race to solidify their spot in second overall, with Raab and Ewenson earning the bronze. The 2019 Championship of Champions is nationally sponsored by Hobie Polarized. Complete results are posted at YachtScoring.com. ■
Jake Fish, US Sailing’s Communications Manager, contributed to this report.