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20 September 2010, 11:18 am
Shawn Bennett Triumphant At US Match Racing Championship
Shawn Bennett
Shawn Bennett and his team celebrate their win

US Match Racing Championship Finals 2010
Detroit, Michigan, USA

Shawn Bennett secures national title defeating favourite Taylor Canfield (ISV) in the Finals of the ISAF Grade 3 US Match Racing Championship. Bennett also qualifies to represent the USA at the 2011 ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final
Shawn Bennett's team carried over the momentum they gained from defeating three-time U.S. Match Racing Champion Dave Perry in the semifinals yesterday. Sunday morning they upended number one seed Taylor Canfield (ISV) in the finals. Bennett defeated Canfield convincingly, 3-0 to win his first US Match Racing Championship and the Prince of Wales Bowl.

Bennett and crewmates Adam Roberts, Tom Purdy, and Melissa Purdy Feagin went a perfect 5-0 in the semifinal and finals combined. They won last seven races of the championship. Team Bennett finished the event with an 11-3 record. Two of their three losses came to Canfield and Perry in the round robin stage. Canfield and crewmates Sergie Lie and Matthew Hamish finished 10-5.

"It's a surprise more than anything," said Bennett. "I think the conditions came together for us. I've sailed a lot of Melges 24 which are similar. The crew did a great job on calling the puffs. Taylor is a great starter but we were able to sneak by him."

Bennett was quick to compliment his crew after the win. "Tom Purdy was on bow and did an excellent job getting the sails up and down. Adam Roberts was trimming. He's a 470 sailor and did a great job too. Melissa Purdy Feagin connected the puffs for us and I think that made a huge difference."

Michael Buckley defeated Dave Perry, 2-0 in the petit finals to take third place. Buckley and crewmates Jack Jennings and Mark Pinney finished the championship with an 8-6 record, while Perry was 7-6. Perry's crew consisted of Chris Museler and Michael Rehe.

"Dave nearly caught us out there in the second race," mentioned Buckley. "We were probably a leg ahead at one point, and he got to a boat length behind us so we just sustained the pressure and didn't tack just because he tacked. He could tack in a puff and you could tack in a lull and find yourself losing ten boat lengths."

"It's great to be here in my first US Match Racing Championship," said Buckley. "It is fun to race against Perry, Canfield, and other guys I've sailed against in college. There are a lot of sailors here new to match racing."

The US Match Racing Championship is a US SAILING Adult National Championship hosted this year by Detroit's Bayview Yacht Club. Ten teams sailed in Ultimate 20s on Detroit River in this ISAF Grade 3 event.

Bennett qualifies to represent the U.S. in the 2011 ISAF Nations Cup. He'll also receive an invitation to race in the 2011 Knickerbocker Cup and 2011 Ficker Cup, Grade 2 events and World Tour Qualifiers.

The US Match Racing Championship is sponsored by Rolex Watch USA, Dry Creek Vineyard, Hobie Polarized, and Gill North America.

Visit the event web site for final standings, daily recaps, photo galleries, and more - http://championships.ussailing.org/Adult/USMRC.htm

Jake Fish
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