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30 April 2005, 10:42 am
American And Canadian Champions
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U.S. Laser Nationals 2005
Wrightsville Beach, Carolina, USA

Brad FUNK (USA) and Magalie BONNEAU-MARCIL (CAN) came away with the honours at the ISAF Grade 2 U.S. Laser Nationals held last weekend. Wrightsville Beach, Carolina, USA hosted well over 100 sailors in a Canadian and American battle for the top spots.
Situated south of Cape Hatteras, but north of Hilton Head, the Carolina Yacht Club experiences classic Atlantic coast sea breezes. None of the sailors were disappointed as the training days prior to the event were held in 15-20 knots but the race days rarely saw breezes under 15 knots. Some races saw gusts approaching 22 to 25 knots with one day lost to high winds.

Eight races were held for the 82 strong Laser fleet, and nine for the 62 boats in the Laser Radial class.

Andrew CHILDS (CAN) sailed an incredibly consistent series and came to the final race with four wins and three second places. Equally consistent though was American and ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR winner FUNK, who had three firsts, three seconds, and a DSQ. With one discard and incredibly close points the title went down to the wire. CHILDS and FUNK are just eleven places apart in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, at 72 and 83 respectively, and going into the final race things could not have been any closer. FUNK came from behind in the last race to take the bullet and the title on the second count back (who beat whom in the last race).

CHILDS received a Laser World Championship spot for his efforts as FUNK had previously qualified for a berth. Behind FUNK and CHILDS, Kurt TAULBEE (USA) secured six top five finishes to take third, followed by Canadians John ROMANKO and Alex STEELE in fourth and fifth respectively. ROMANKO and STEELE are previous Canadian Youth Champions and Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship representatives, and their performances are sure to be an encouraging sight to followers of Canadian sailing. Behind them racing was incredibly tight with just ten points separating positions five to ten. Breaking the American and Canadian dominance in seventh was the US Virgin Island's, Tim PITTS.

The Canadian performance in the Laser was impressive, but the women's team in the Radial were dominant, with a near whitewash of the women's top five. The Radials raced in an open fleet with victory going to Anthony KOUTON (ISV) and followed by Kyle ROGACHENKO (USA). Magalie BONNEAU-MARCIL (CAN) sailed superbly to finish third overall in the open fleet and first women. With the Laser Radial the new Olympic equipment for the single-handed dinghy women, lots of sailors are transferring from the old equipment, the Europe. Second women in the Radial fleet was Kelly HAND (CAN). ISAF World Sailing Rankings' number seven, Mexico's Tania ELIAS CALLES came in third women with Lisa ROSS (CAN) and Jen SPALDING (CAN) rounding out the top five women finishers. Sixth women was number five in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Leah HOEPFNER (USA), who was the highest American women finisher.

Tommy Wharton (As Amended By ISAF). Image, 2005 U.S. Laser National Champion, FUNK in Miami:© Rolex Miami OCR
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