Silver Panda toppled

Team Extreme claim US Team Racing Championship

Tuesday September 29th 2009, Author: Jake Fish, Location: United Kingdom
The New York Yacht Club’s Silver Panda team learned the hard way on Saturday that all winning streaks comes to an end. Silver Panda’s three-year vice-like grip on the US Team Racing Championship was broken up by Stuart McNay and Team Extreme in a thrilling final on Sunday.

Team Extreme consists of former and current Yale University sailors including, US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics member, McNay (Chestnut Hill, Mass.), Michael Hession (New Haven, Conn.), Zachary Brown (New Haven, Conn.), Emmet Smith (New Haven, Conn.), Thomas Barrows (St. Thomas, VI) and Marla Menninger (Costa Mesa, Calif.). This was only the second time they sailed together as a team of six. The new champions sealed the win by edging the three-time defending champions in the last race, 12-9, to win by a 3-2 final score.

Team Extreme needed a third race to knock out "les courtesies" and advance to the semifinals. They then went, 3-0, dismissing Tall Boyz to reach the finals. Team Extreme had been undefeated on day one. They sailed well in the big breeze that day, but fell to fifth in the standings after day two. The big breeze was back for day three.

Meanwhile, Silver Panda would needed to win three in a row to beat Team San Diego Yacht Club in the semifinals. In the finals, the wind was blowing over 20 knots and the 5-6 foot swell continued to roll in. Team Extreme and Silver Panda swapped wins, bringing the series, 2-2, in the best of five. Close to 200 races had been held over the past two days, and it all came down to a single 10 minute race with five legs.

The hundred spectators that had watched the racing each day from Tabor Boy, the training ship of Tabor Academy were now gone. Some were now sitting in the comfort of warm dry automobiles that lined the near shore, trying to follow the bright sails that sat against the muted gray background.

The final race of the 2009 U.S. Team Racing Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy was decided when Team Extreme crossed the finish line with a winning combination. Silver Panda did not go down without a fight, but it was not to be their day. Team Extreme, which had started the regatta on the first day with all wins, would end the regatta with a win and take the national championship.

In third place was Tall Boyz, comprised of Sean Doyle (Cos Cob, Conn.), Susan Doyle (Cos Cob, Conn.), Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.), Elyse Dolbec (New York, N.Y.), Kyle Kovacs (Brant Beach, N.J.), and Megan Watson (Hingham, M.A).

Silver Panda owns four of the six U.S. Team Racing Championships won by the NYYC since 1999. Three newcomers joined the Silver Panda team for this year’s U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship. Joining Colin Merrick (Portsmouth, R.I.), Amanda Callahan (Canton, Mass.) and Peter Levesque (Tiverton, R.I.) was Carrie Amarante (Wayne, N.J.), former USSTAG member, Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.) and Ery Largay (Beverly, Mass.). Silver Panda’s team racing resume runs deep. They also won the 2009 and 2007 ISAF Team Racing World Championship.

A total of 16 teams, sailing in Vanguard 15s with a three-boat / six-sailor team format, battled it out for US SAILING’s George R. Hinman Trophy in Sippican Harbor for three days of racing. The championship was sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A., LaserPerformance, Dry Creek Vineyard, Sail Proud, and Kattack. This event attracts the best team racers in the country, with competitors selected based on their team resumes.

This year’s field included eight US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) members, five former ICSA College Sailors of the Year, and three former ICSA Quantum Women Sailors of the Year.

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