North Sails NEWS
LIGHTNING LEGEND WINS 6th NORTH AMERICAN TITLE
Ched Proctor Bests a 72-Boat Fleet
According to the dictionary, “legend” is a person or thing that inspires. According to sailors, it describes a sailor who has performed and contributed to the point of being incomparable. After winning his sixth Lightning North American Championship last week, Ched Proctor has cemented his place as a “legend” under both definitions. With teammates Monica Morgan and Sam Blouin, he bested a fleet of 72 boats at the Buffalo Canoe Club in Crystal Beach, ONT, a week after winning the Masters North Americans with Chris and Monica Morgan.
Ched won his first North Americans in 1993, when he was in his 40s. Since then he’s won two International Masters Championships, 2 Canadian Opens, 7 Southern Circuits, and 4 Midwinters—along with dozens of wins in other one design classes.
Womens, Masters, Juniors NAs
The 11 day gathering brought teams from around the country. First up was the Women’s, Masters, and Junior Championships. On day one, a strong westerly sidelined all the fleets, so many teams headed to Niagara Falls. Day two’s fresh breeze allowed each fleet to get in two races. Day three saw lighter breezes but still in the mid-teens; Masters and Women’s teams each got in two races, while the Juniors snuck in a third before the deadline.
10 Women’s teams came from as far away as South Carolina and Florida. Regatta Chair Debbie Probst, with Monica and Allie Jones, bested Boat Grant recipient Christine Maloney with crew Grace Woodcock and Anna Flaherty by two points. Joy MacDonald grabbed the final podium spot with Kathryn Maloney and her sister Julieanne, a clean sweep for the BCC teams.
Doug Wake and his team (Noah Bartlett and Lars Osell) found the heavy air to their liking and won 4 of the 5 races to dominate the fleet. Parker Coluntuano/Jackie Morrison/Ben Markert had a solid last day and moved up from 6th to 2nd. Locals Robbie Robinson and brothers Gunnar and Garrett Grenauer finished third.
Meanwhile, Ched the legend won three of the four Masters races, beating 5-time World Champion Tito Gonzales, who was sailing with son Alberto and Rodrigo Zuazola, by six points. Tom Allen, the ILCA MVP, put together his NAs winning team from 1989 (!) of John Humphrey and Bill Pictor, and he used their “maturity” to finish just one point behind Tito’s team.
North American Championships
The NAs started with four qualifying races over two days to determine the 34 boat Championship Division. The qualifying races are often called the toughest regatta of the year, as your chances to be the North American Champion rest upon sailing well enough to “make the cut.” After the final race Tuesday, the line was drawn right below John Birkett and his team from Ecuador, with 25 points earning them the Tom Fallon Trophy as “the last one in.”
An easterly breeze dominated the first day of the championship series. The locals said this was the most unpredictable and challenging breeze direction, and they were certainly right!! The three race winners were Adam MacDonald, David Starck and Tim Scanlon, and most teams had scores that looked like they belonged on a Bingo card. David Starck took the overall lead with a 2,1,18, while Ched and team opened the series with a 15, 11, 3.
The next morning’s breezes mimicking the previous day and it was another tricky day to be consistent. Jim Barnash won the first race of the day. Bob Martin, after a 25 the previous day, hit the consistency button with a 4,4,5,4 to bring his team into the hunt. Overnight leader David Starck opened the day with another 2nd, but a 15 in the second race allowed Ched’s more consistent 3,1 to take over the lead.
Friday dawned as predicted: a beautiful sunny day with not a whisper of wind. Once the RC cancelled racing for the day, Ched, Monica and Sam were the 2019 North American Champions. Regatta Chair David Starck, with Jody Lutz and Dylan Farrell, finished 5 points back. Bob Martin, with Steve Hunt and Diego Escobar, won the “regatta of the final 4 races,” but without a discard they had to settle for 3rd overall.
The Presidents Cup became the “Allen Family Cup” this year as Jim Allen, with daughter Abby and sister Jane, bested older brother Tom Allen IV, with his daughter Shelby and Jim’s son Tyler. Third was Sjoerd-Jan Vanderhorst with his wife Kathy and Laurie Dieball guiding him around the course.