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19 April 2005, 09:22 am
THOMAS and BERNIER Win
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U.S. Multihull Championship 2005
Long Beach, California, USA

For Greg THOMAS and Jacques BERNIER a dream came true on Sunday, when they won the U.S. Multihull Championship to take US SAILING's Hobie Alter Cup.
After qualifying to compete in the National Championship by winning their US SAILING Area qualifier, THOMAS and BERNIER continued to train together for the National Championship. They competed in the Hobie Tiger World Championships last month and finished in a respectable fifth place, the highest American finishers in the event.

Every year, the U.S. Multihull Championship travels to a different part of the country and a different multihull class is chosen for the competition. When Alamitos Bay Yacht Club was selected to host this year's event with Hobie Tigers as the boat, THOMAS and BERNIER knew they would have a good chance to do well in the event. They both work at the Hobie factory in Oceanside, California, which provided the boats.

'This is good,' said BERNIER. 'It's the most prestigious event for multihull sailing in the U.S. and considering the people who were here, like Jay [GLASER] and Pete [MELVIN], it's a very good win.'

THOMAS, 35, and BERNIER, 34, took the lead on the first day of racing and never relinquished. But it wasn't as easy as it sounds. They beat 19 other teams from across the country and Mexico. All the other teams had also qualified for the event by winning other qualifying events or by winning a national championship in another multihull class. The list of competitors included 1984 Olympic silver medallist, GLASER who sailed with A-Class World Champion, MELVIN and Hobie 16 North American Champion Armando NORIEGA of Mexico, just to name a few.

At the U.S. Multihull Championship, THOMAS and BERNIER took the lead on the first day of racing and never relinquished it. Six bullets from eleven races and only one finish outside the top five gave the pair a comfortable victory over Stan SCHREYER and Jonathan FARRAR, with MELVIN and GLASER securing third.

There were interesting conditions for the start of first race of the last day at Alamitos Bay Yacht Club in Long Beach, California. The winds were about four knots and shifty. At the start of the race only one boat went to the hard left and most of the others were looking for the wind to fill in to the right. In the end both ways came out about the same.

John TOMKO started his bid to Dennis HAWKS who was one minute in front of George PEDRICK in third place. Although TOMKO was expected to move up it was HAWKS that put on a good show of being able to keep the second place throughout the race which was a three-lap course with a downwind finish course two.

The second race of the day looked set to determine last place on the podium. MELVIN was in the third place overall going into this race but only by a point over TOMKO and seven points over NORIEGA. The wind at the beginning was about four knots but was able to fill in to between six and eight for most of the race. In the end MELVIN was able to best the fleet with a first and keep his third place overall. TOMKO was right behind MELVIN for most of the race waiting for a mistake to be made. Much to his disappointment that did not happen; TOMKO was followed in by Stan SCHREYER.

The last race of the series got underway in seven to eight knots of wind. John CAMERA won followed by Pat PORTER then Jake KOHL.

Dan DeLave (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from the final day's racing:© Teri McKenna
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