Going into the last day of racing on Monday at the US Disabled Sailing Championship, it was not a sealed deal for Paralympic Team members Rick DOERR, Tim ANGLE and Bill DONOHUE in the Sonar.
While they had been in the lead since the regatta started on Saturday, their fellow US Disabled Sailing Team AlphaGraphics members Paul CALLAHAN
, Roger CLEWORTH
and Mike HERSEY
were hovering nearby, anxious to take over the lead. And when the athletes got off the water, Rick DOERR
and his team won only after coming out ahead in the tiebreaker. In the 2.4mR and Ideal 18 classes, Canadians Bruce MILLAR
and John MCROBERTS
and Stacie LOUTTIT
took home the top honours respectively.
After beating rival CALLAHAN in the hotly contested regatta, an exhausted but elated DOERR said, "We pushed all week long and fought hard right to the end. We knew we had to win the last race to win the Championship... It feels great to know that we are the top US team."
The Sonar fleet wasn't the only one with tight racing: the Ideal 18 fleet was filled with talented athletes. And, as in the Sonar, it all came down to the final day to determine the new champion. Sarah EVERHART SKEELS
sailing with new crew Jim DONAHUE, was in first place overall going into the final day, but not even her two first-place finishes today were enough to stay ahead of MCROBERTS. She finished just two points behind the Canadian.
In the 2.4mR, MILLAR held a comfortable lead throughout the regatta to secure his win, 13 points ahead of fellow Canadian Paul TINGLEY
. US Disabled Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member Mark LEBLANC
finished third, just one point behind TINGLEY.
The racing on Monday, in what the County of Westchester in New York proclaimed as Disabled Sailing Day, was held under sunny skies with variable conditions with the race committee managing to pull off four races. Throughout the regatta, host clubs American and Larchmont Yacht Clubs opened their doors to athletes, families, and spectators.
The US Disabled Championship is sponsored nationally by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Dry Creek Vineyard, as well as by UBS, The Carlyle Group, Heineken and EMA Clocks.
Next year's U.S. Disabled Championship will return to the Long Island Sound when Riverside Yacht Club in Greenwich, Conn., will host the event. With the addition of the SKUD18 sailing next year, it promises to be a great event.
US Disabled Sailing Championship - www.ussailing.org/championships/adult/usic
Paralympic Games microsite - www.sailing.org/paralympics