U.S. Women’s Championship
What is believed to be “the first women’s championship ever held in the world” – surely the first in North America – was for the Hodder Cup placed in competition by Rear Commodore James R. Hodder of the Boston Yacht Club in 1924. The first competition was held at its Hull Station with crews of two girls of 12 years or over in 14-ft Marconi catboats. Listed on the Notice of Race were William Upham Swan as “Originator of Women’s Sailing Contest”. He was Yachting Editor of the Boston Globe and Secretary of the Boston Dinghy Club, and listed under him was Leonard M. Fowle, who succeeded him on the Globe and who as Executive Vice-President of the Intecollegiate Yacht Racing Association took intercollegiate sailing continental. The Cup, immediately retired by Ruth and Esther Sears of the Cohasset Yacht Club, was replaced the next year with a trophy presented by Charles Francis Adams, II in honor of his wife. It was retired in 1929 by the Cohasset Yacht Club after winning it three times. Mrs. Adams replaced it with one referred to as Trophy ‘A’ to become the property of the Yacht Club first winning it three times and Trophy ‘B’ to become, on ‘A’s being retired, a perpetual challenge trophy. This occurred in 1934 when the Indian Harbor Yacht Club on Long Island Sound won it for the third time with Lorna Whittelsey at the helm. She later became a distinguished sailor in both one-designs and offshore boats.
In order to relieve the Cohasset Yacht Club of its obligation to conduct the championship – it had done so for nine years – NAYRU was asked to take over. It appointed three Trustees, Mrs. Leonard B. Colt, Mrs. Katharine Stone Hoyt and Mrs. Willis D. Wood. When the Trophy was lost in 1951 during the conflagration of the American Yacht Club on Long Island Sound, Commodore Henry S. Morgan, son-in-law of Mrs. Adams and President of NAYRU, and assisted by the American Yacht Club and the Women’s National Sailing Association (founded in 1933 and became part of NAYRU with Mrs. Willis (Nan) Wood as chairperson until 1950), provided a replacement – the current Adams Trophy. ‘Aunt Nan’, as she was affectionately known to both young and old, also presented to NAYRU a runner-up trophy which bears her name. Further, she started a tradition by providing Ship Shape Prizes for the crew that takes the best care of its boat(s). The practice has spread to other Championships and become an inducement for owners to lend their boats since they often are returned in better condition than when loaned. Third place team receives the Alexander P. Gest Trophy presented by Gest who was frequently involved in the conduct of eliminations and finals of Adams Trophy events. The event is a ladder series starting at the club level. In honor of ‘Frannie’ McElwain Wakeman (noted below as a four-time winner of the Adams Trophy) Committee Member Glenn Lattimore has presented the Francis McElwain Wakeman Sportsmanship Award for the team displaying outstanding sportsmanship.
From 1927 until 1959 racing was in keelboats by which time a centerboarder was reintroduced, and Gold Cup courses were in use. In 1963 the Women’s Committee became the Adams Cup Committee, and its Chairman in 1974, Helen Ingerson, had the distinction of being the first woman elected to the USYRU Board of Directors. Beginning in 1993 the Men’s and Women’s Championships were held together in alternate years; beginning in 2009, the two merged permanently and their committees blended. . The two fleets use the same race course, sail different classes of boats and enjoy social events together. The joint events have sometimes been hosted by two cooperating, nearby clubs – otherwise by a single club.
In the history of the Trophy four skippers were particularly outstanding: Francis McElwain with four straight wins for the Cohasset Yacht Club, Lorna Whittlesey Hibberd with five wins under the burgee of the Indian Harbor Yacht Club, Allegra Knapp Mertz with four for American Yacht Club and Sylvia Shethar (Rusty) Everdell with four representing the American Yacht Club and one for the Duxbury Yacht Club. ‘Leggie’ Mertz also served many years on the Women’s Championship Committee as well as being President of the Blue Jay Association – a role that made her a linchpin for junior sailing.
U.S. Match Racing Championship
Match Racing competition for the Prince of Wales Bowl started in 1931 at the Arcadia Yacht Club under the sponsorship of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. Similar to the Sir Thomas Lipton Cups, there are numerous ‘Prince of Wales Bowls’ in competition among yacht clubs in North America. In 1937, it was permanently retired by the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, Massachusetts in the days when the club had so much talent, e.g. the Besse brothers, John H. (Jack) Ware, Kingman Brewster, Frank Jewett, Jr. (who sailed in the singlehanded class in 1936 Olympics) that its members drew lots to see who would compete in which NAYRU championship. It is fitting that the helmsman of the 1934 POW winning crew, Frank Jewett, Jr. was instrumental in persuading the Club in 1965 to restore the Bowl to active competition as a perpetual trophy for the Southern Massachusetts Yacht Racing Association’s interclub match racing championship.
In 1967, Mr. Jewett requested the Southern Massachusetts Yacht Racing Association’s Executive Committee to open up the event for the first North American interclub match racing championship. Jewett became the first chairman of the NAYRU POW Committee. Under his leadership, conditions and courses were refined in ways that affected events such as the America’s Cup by, for example, drastically shortening the length of the starting line for match racing. The Championship no doubt had an influence on the special section of the racing rules for match racing.
In 1975, the event grew still further to become the U.S. Match Racing Championship. Each winner represents his or her home club. Mason Wodworth of Watch Hill Yacht Club is the only three time winner, three years in a row. Dave Perry has won the event three times, twice representing Pequot Yacht Club and once representing Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, 24 years earlier. Two-time winning skippers have been Kingman Brewster, Jr. (the original series), John W. Jennings of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Ed Trevelyan from Coronado Yacht Club., Marvin Beckman representing Galveston Bay and Seabrook Clubs, TX, Dave Dellenbaugh from Pequot Yacht Club, and Brian Angel of King Harbor Yacht Club. Notably three pairs of brothers have won the Prince of Wales Bowl: Bruce and Mark Golison, Mark and Doug Rostello, and David and Brad Dellenbaugh. Dean Brenner has crewed on four championship teams and Newport Harbor Yacht Club has the honor of sending five Championship teams.
U.S. Men’s Championship
U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship
Founded in 1974, the U.S. Women’s Open Championship served the interest of female sailors who wished to compete against other women at the national level in double and singlehanded boats. The regattas were organized along traditional one design racing lines where boat preparation is a factor, and no eliminations were required. A boardsailing championship was added in 1981. A one-day clinic typically preceded the three-day championship regatta.
The Adams Memorial Trophy for doublehanded sailing was presented by Mrs.Henry (Adams) Morgan, and the Committee presented the Mertz Trophy for singlehanded sailing to honor her as four-time winner of the U.S. Women’s National Championship and many years of service as Chairperson of the Women’s Championship Committee.
The first three-time winner of a Trophy is Betsy Gelenitis Alison of Bricktown, NJ in the singlehanded. Cory Fischer Sertl won the doublehanded event five times, four as crew and one as skipper. Susan Lawser won both the single and doublehanded events. Notable winners who went on to compete in the Olympics are Courtney Becker Dey (1996 Europe Dinghy Bronze), J.J. Fetter Isler (1992 470 Bronze), Julia I. Trotman (1992 Europe Dinghy Bronze) and Lynne M. Jewel and Allison Blair Jolly, who both were winners of the singlehanded event, combined to win Gold Medals in the first women’s Olympic event in 1988 in the 470 Class.
In 2000, a motion to change the event from fleet racing to match racing was passed. The first U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship was held at Southern Yacht Club, November 11 – 14, 2002.
U.S. Singlehanded Championships
Singlehanded racing in North America originally involved for the most part the occasional sailor competing in the Olympics. It received a boost when ex-collegiate sailor, John Marvin, won a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympic Games and the Finn was introduced on a broad scale in North America.
In 1962, friends of George D. O’Day dedicated a USYRU (now US Sailing) trophy in his name for a national singlehanded championship. O’Day was well known to sailors through his company manufacturing small boats, including a unique version of the Finn, as well as helmsman of the gold medal winning 5.5 Metre in 1960 at Naples, Italy.
A ladder series event starting at the Area level, The U.S. Singlehanded Championship is now open to men and women representing the Intercollegiate Sailing Association, Interscholastic Sailing Association (High School sailing), Youth Championship, and Military. First sailed on Long Island Sound in the Finn Class, the championship was won by Peter J. Barrett who, if he had not lightly touched with his shoulder the rudder of a starboard tack boat he was ducking in the fifth race, which only he was aware of, would have won a Gold medal (rather than Silver) in the Finn at the 1964 Olympic Games. Two-time winners were Gordon (Gordy) Bowers, Jr. of the Minnetonka Yacht Club, Robert (Robbie) E. Doyle of Marblehead, MA, Shawn Kempton of Ocean Gate, NJ, Brodie Cobb of Dallas, TX and Kyle Rogachenko of Collegeville, PA.
In 2010, the decision was made to split the event, adding a separate event for women. In 2011, a trophy was awarded in honor of Helen Willis Hanley for the winner of the women’s division. Helen Wills Hanley was an active sailor both in the Connecticut and South Carolina areas. She competed in many U.S. Women’s Championships for the Adams Cup in both regions. After moving to South Carolina in the mid-forties, she started the Wateree Sailing Club and became its first Commodore in 1962. During her time as Commodore she became active in the South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association (SAYRA) and was an active racer throughout the South Atlantic. Since her passing in 1978, a donation by her estate in her honor was left to SAYRA that enabled it to begin building a treasure that has grown through the years and enables sailors from SAYRA to compete in US Sailing national events and training programs sponsored by US Sailing.
U.S. Disabled Championship
First established in 1986, the what was then called the U.S. Independence Cup became US Sailing’s national championship for disabled sailors in 1989. For many years it was organized by the Disabled Sailing Committee and was run in conjunction with the North American Challenge Cup, which is hosted by Chicago Yacht Club.
In 2007, the regatta moved under the Championships division of US Sailing and was renamed the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship. The following year, the championship moved from Chicago Yacht Club to begin the travel around the country. The first hosts were American Yacht Club and Larchmont Yacht Clubs who will again co-host in 2011.
The Chandler Hovey, Jr. Trophy was donated at the 1994 Independence Cup by A.G.A. Correa and Co. to US Sailing. “Buzz” Hovey, for whom it is named, was active in 12 Metre racing in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s with the family owned Twelve, Easterner. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1947, he continued, nonetheless, to sail and race actively, especially in his Shields Class boat, until 1981 when he retired from the racing circuit. Peter Goldman donated the Judd Goldman Trophy in honor of Justin “Judd” Goldman (1914-1989) who, despite his own physical disability, was an accomplished sailor and inspired the creation of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program, Chicago, Illinois. In 2009, a third trophy in honor of Gene Hinkle was donated in honor of Gene’s many contributions to disabled sailing and the US Paralympic team.
While there have been several repeat winners, only Karen Mitchell of Deerfield Beach, FL has won four times while Robie Pierce of Newport, RI has won thrice. Many competitors at the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championships have gone on to represent the United States at the Paralympics Games including Nick Scandone, gold medalist at the 2008 Paralympics.
U.S. Multihull Championship
The U.S. Multihull Championship is one of several prestigious championships hosted by US Sailing and sailed in selected one-design class boats. The perpetual trophy was presented and named the Alter Trophy in 1986 in honor of Hobie Alter, Sr. and his extraordinary promotion of one-design multihull sailing and racing programs. The U.S. Multihull Championship for the Hobie Alter Trophy has become one of the nation’s major sailing championships, having featured world champions from numerous classes, Olympic medalists and several national champions from the multihull ranks.
The U.S. Multihull Championship was conceived by the Multihull Council in the spring of 1985 as a service to multihull racing sailors. It is intended to determine a U.S. national multihull champion and is sailed annually in various types of multihulls at various venues.
Originally the championship had the good fortune of having manufacturers provide new boats including Hobie, Inter, Nacra, Prindle, Mystere and Bimare classes but in 2013, the decision was made to rotate it each year through the various classes of catamarans. Yacht clubs from different regions in the U.S. have been host to the U.S. Multihull Championship with great success. Proficient race management, fun social events and local housing for the competing sailors have helped make these championships first-class events.
Clubs interested in hosting future U.S. Multihull Championships are invited to inquire. The U.S. Multihull Championship Committee desires to book the championships several years in advance and will consider all requests. The Committee will be happy to explain what is required to host the event and help in the planning and a bid packet may be downloaded at the Championships Management site.
U.S. Offshore Championship
Lloyd Phoenix graduated from the United States Naval Academy, class of 1861. He served in the Civil War and witnessed the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia in 1865. After resigning and going into business he became a yachting enthusiast and Rear Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. In his most famous yacht, the 171 ft. schooner, Intrepid, he won the Club’s 1909 “The Cruise” Trophy which was discovered in 1960 in a storage locker by Shirley Engle, wife of Capt. Aubrey D. Engle, CO of the Naval Station. Capt. Aubrey arranged for the Naval Academy Sailing Squadron to put up the trophy in honor of Lloyd Phoenix as a means of improving relations with the civilian yachting community by bringing sailors from Chesapeake Bay yacht clubs to compete with a midshipmen team in the Luders yawls. When the USYRU Offshore Council sanctioned a national championship for offshore yachts in 1985, the Trophy was offered by NASS for the first match which was held at the U.S. Naval Academy in the Luders yawls. Former USYRU Executive Director, John Bonds, who had been Commodore of NASS, was instrumental in the reformatting of the event and its coming under the custody of USYRU as a national championship.
It is a fleet racing competition in offshore keelboats on a closed course except for one long-distance race. Teams representing each of the US Sailing Areas are seeded through Area eliminations or by sailing resume, plus one U.S. Naval Academy team. Each team must have competed in at least five regattas in IOR, IMS, PHRF, MORC or Portsmouth Numbers rating systems in its respective Area during the current season. Since 1994, racing has alternated between the Naval Academy in the Navy 44s and Long Beach Yacht Club in Catalina 37′s. The Trophy is on display in the Robert Crown Center at the United States Naval Academy. The only two-time winning skipper is Charlie Scott representing the NASS.
US Sailing’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship
Inaugurated in 1985 at the instigation of US Sailing’s Women’s Championship Committee, of which Helen K. Ingerson was a long-time Chair, the International Women’s Keelboat Championship quickly became the premier women’s sailing event in the U.S. and worldwide. Held biennially, the event provides women keelboat and offshore sailors high quality racing and an opportunity to compete with the top national and international sailors. The Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Newport, RI became host for the event, and Rolex Watch, U.S.A. Inc. – sponsor at its inception – subsequently became the title sponsoruntil 2013.
The trophy is named for Bengt Julin, an international judge and strong supporter of women’s sailing. A modest man and sailing philanthropist, Julin championed the event from its inception and was instrumental in making it an international competition. Julin presented the very first trophy to Betsy Alison and retired the original to her after she had won it three times consecutively. Alison of Newport R.I. had an unbroken winning streak competing against teams from a dozen or more nations from 1991 through 1997. In 2007, Sally Barkow matched Alison by winning the championship for the third time.
Ida Lewis Yacht Club hosted the championship until 2001, when it moved to Annapolis Yacht Club who hosted it in 2001, 2003 and 2005. Houston Yacht Club first hosted the championship in 2007 but in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike in 2008, the championship was moved to Rochester Yacht Club. In 2013, Eastern Yacht Club became the host and the championship reverted to its original name. Bids are currently being accepted for the 2015 event.
US Sailing’s Championship of Champions
Inaugurated in 1976, US Sailing selects twenty competitors from nominees by their class associations who are current national or North American champions of their respective classes. Eligible are sailors who normally sail in the U.S., are members of US Saj,j g and are members of a club, class or association affiliated with US Sailing. The championship is held in a different class each year, and boats are supplied, and if possible, shall be new and identical. The Championship is named in honor of Jack Brown who was noted for his service as a judge, regatta organizer and member of US Sailing Committees
Classes in which the event has been held run the gamut from conventional to cutting edge and have included Y-Flyers, Snipes, Hobie Cats, J-24’s, Sunfish and Etchells, to name just a few.
Notable skippers include two-time winners Tom Linskey, Ed Adams, Hobie Alter and Russell Robinson. Three time winners include Paul Foerster and George Szabo. Both Foerster and Szabo have represented two different classes in this event (FD/ JY 15 and Lido 14/Star respectively).
2002 Winner Bill Draheim was also on the top podium step as winning crew in 1987 with Paul Foerster. In 1996 George Szabo with crew Stacey Dumain from San Diego sailing for the Lido 14 Class became the first to win the C of Cs in their own class.
U.S. Team Racing Championship
The U.S. Team Racing Championship is raced in three-boat/six-person teams. US Sailing’s first national team racing championship, it was held in 1981. It grew out of a regatta initiated by Sailing World magazine and was so successful that it was adopted by US Sailing and became know as the U.S. Team Racing Championship for the George R. Hinman Trophy.
The trophy was donated in recognition of George R. Hinman’s many years of service and contributions to yachting. He was a member of the crew that won the second championship for the Sears Cup, a top ranking sailor in the International One-Design Class and for many years in the forefront of Long Island Sound frostbite dinghy racing. He sailed many ocean races and took part in the America’s Cup in various capacities as helmsman, syndicate manager and chairman of the America’s Cup (selection) Committee. A former President of NAYRU (now US Sailing), he also was a Vice President of the International Yacht Racing Union (now ISAF).
When Gary Bodie became Chairman of the U.S. Team Racing Championship Committee in 1992, he restored the popularity of the event making it the hottest event in the country for the post-collegiate group of sailors. Brad Dellenbaugh became Chairman in 1996. As a keen competitor and college coach, Brad contributed wise insight into the fun aspects of the Team Racing Championship and enhanced its prestige worldwide. Brad bid to host the Team Race Worlds in 1998 in Miami and ran a brilliantly successful regatta with Gary Bodie as Race Committee chairman. Brad and Gary continue to be strong advocates of team racing worldwide and are supporting the bid to include team racing in a future Olympics.
You will recognize the names of the U.S. Team Racing Championship participants and winners. They are the best and brightest of our younger sailors. Kevin Hall and Zach Leonard have sailed on four winning teams and Mike Zani and Megan Bohlen on three. The list of competitors is studded with stars such as Anna Tunnicliffe, Brad Funk, Senet Bischoff, Terry McLaughlin (Canada), Peter Isler, Steve Benjamin, Dave Ullman, Dave and Brad Dellenbaugh, John Kolius, Ed Adams – to name a few. Only one team has won the championship three times with the same team members: NYYC Silver Panda- Colin Merrick, Clay Bischoff, Amanda Callahan, Elizabeth Hall, Lisa Keith, Peter Levesque
The first umpired event was in 1990 at Encinal YC, Alameda, CA, where USTRA was formed, and the event went away from being a ladder qualification regatta. This was likely the first Team Racing Championship under Gary Bodie’s chairmanship. He remembers that he tried to be both an umpire and regatta organizer, and quickly learned that was a big mistake. Newport RI and Hyannis came next, both umpired. Gary is almost certain that the Team Racing Championship he hosted at USNA in Annapolis previous to his chairmanship was not umpired. And, he is certain that the Team Racing Championship he competed in at San Francisco YC in Belvedere previous to that was not umpired. He remembers waiting around for protest decisions…. the last time that happened at a Team Racing Championship.