Over this past July I did a lot of traveling around the country to sail on each coast - Gorge Skiff Regatta at the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland and Buzzard’s Bay in Massachusetts for the 29er National Championship.
My family began our road trip to the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon just after Fourth of July. When we arrived to the sailing venue I was overwhelmed by the immense beauty of the Gorge. We later enjoyed a wonderful practice day in 10-15 knots and familiarized ourselves with the venue.
On the first day of racing at the Gorge my partner, Scott Mais, and I had a lot of troubles. We sailed the wrong course in the first race and then I badly sprained my ankle in a tack. After having to sit out 2 races, while I had my ankle taped up, we went back out for the last two races and battled our bad luck to put down two decent scores in 20-25 knots. The second day of the regatta was much better even though we struggled to get the boat moving downwind as fast as the leaders, we still got a lot of good races in with 8-12 knots which is very uncharacteristic for the venue. The last day of the regatta was our best day. We started with a first place in the first race of the day and got a few more top threes throughout the house of the day in 15+ knots. Although I was still fighting my ankle injury we had a very good day and ended the regatta 5th despite having to carry 2 DNCs. It was a reunion of many of the nations top 29er sailors with names like Sam Merson, Ryan Eastwood, Jack Joslin, Neil Marcellini, Wells Drayton and Marley Mais at the top of the fleet. Many of them had dusted off their 29ers to sail at this epic venue.
We arrived at the Community Boating Center in New Bedford, Massachusetts after a few relaxing days in Long Beach Island, New Jersey to sail the US 29er Nationals.
The first day of the regatta went very well as we finished the day with a 4-2-2-3 scoreline in 15-20 knots and were resting in 2nd place. We were holding at the top along with some of the top much older Canadian teams, whom had come to Buzzard’s Bay for the regatta. After day One we led all US boats. The second day brought 25+ knots of wind and spotty lightning storms so the race committee was forced to call off racing. The last day of the regatta began very windy and they weren’t sure if they were going to have to postpone and wait for the wind to die. They did end up sending us out in 18-20 knots which slowly died off to 12-15 knots. We led the first race for most of the way but a flip in a gybe put us back in 9th for the finish of that race. The next races we got three second places but were U-flagged in one of them which pushed us down to third at the end of the regatta. Although we were third overall we were the first American boat which made Scott and I the 2018 US 29er National Champions.
Thanks to my family for this great summer traveling across the country, my brother Jack who coached us to the National Championship and the SDYC Competition Fund for their support. Happy to be a part of the long list of National Champions at SDYC.