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29 July 2002, 12:51 pm
Kirkland Wins in Home Country
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Optimist North American Championship
Great Sound

With the winner Jesse Kirkland of the host nation already decided, the final two races affected the minor placings only.

Marco Grael (BRA) with two 4th positions squeezed past Jonathan Hernandez (MEX) to place second over-all, but the main beneficiaries of the heavier 18-22 knot winds were the top U.S.A. sailors.

The championship, sponsored by Colonial Insurance, was a triumph for the Bermudans at two levels. Not only did they win the individual championship for the first time in its 26 year history, fairly predictably as Jesse was 4th. in the IODA World Championship held earlier in the month in Texas, but they also won the team racing championship, again for the first time in its history.

Bermuda have sailed Optimists for many years but only started to compete internationally some five to six years ago. Huge effort has gone into developing a genuinely community based program and a rise in fleet numbers has parallelled the improvement in results. Following the Optimist they have adopted the Byte where Jesse's brother Zan was world champion a couple of years ago.

The Bermudan hosting of the event has also been a great success. Numbers, at 113 sailors from nine countries, were more than 50% up on the last time it was here, and the young sailors had a ball! Winds were excellent throughout the event, race management intelligent, and the evening activities great fun.

Results:

1 Jesse Kirkland Bermuda
2 Marco Grael Brasil
3 Jonathan Hernandez Mexico
4 Alan Campbell U.S.A.
5 Geronimo Battista Argentina
6 Kyle Rogachenko U.S.A.
7 Marcello Cortese Argentina
8 Wataru Komiya Japan
9 Fernando Ines Argentina
10 Jackson Benvenuti U.S.A.
Robert Wilkes/News Editor
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