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11 August 2004, 09:12 am
Heavy Winds Helped Push U.S. Independence Cup/North American Challenge Cup To Exciting Finish
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High winds made for an exciting final day of racing in the 2004 Independence Cup/North American Challenge Cup (IC/NACC) on Monday, following two days of light winds. The event is a US SAILING National Championship sponsored by Rolex Watch USA.
In the 2.4mR class, Nick SCANDONE, of Fountain Valley, Calif., held on to his lead from the previous two days' racing to sail to victory in the singlehanded division with a total of 10.7 points. Finishing second in the division with 14.7 points was fellow Californian David TRUDE (Oxnard, Calif.), who was competing in his second U.S. Independence Cup/North American Challenge Cup.

"It is a very good event, I had a great time and hope to do it again," said Scandone, who was competing in the IC/NACC for the first time.

In Freedom Independence 20 class competition, the team of Karen MITCHELL and Kerry GRUSON took the championship title for the second year in a row in the double-handed division with a total of 9.7 points. The winning pair, who hail from Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Miami, respectively, beat out Allen FISKE and Joseph COOK (Miami, Fla., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) respectively for the title. Fiske and Cook had a total of 13 points.

"We had a rough start, but it all came together in the end," Mitchell said. "This event is highlight of our summer; we look forward to coming to Chicago to compete with great anticipation all year." Mitchell is hoping to become the first woman to represent the USA in sailing in the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Kerry GRUSON has been sailing partners with Mitchell for years and is very proud to be her crew. She believes the able-bodied assistants (AB's) at the event did an exceptional job, "We loved our AB's," she exclaimed.

"It is an honour for the Chicago Yacht Club to put on this event for disabled sailors in North America," said Roland RAYMENT, chairman of the IC/NACC Committee of the Chicago Yacht Club. "I am certainly pleased with the level of competition we had over the course of the entire weekend."
Marlieke de Lange Eaton (As Amended by ISAF)
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