Saturday’s weather: Wind 7-13k S-SW; sunny, high temp. 70F.
Sunday’s forecast: Wind 11k SSW; sunny, high temp. 68F.
By Rich Roberts
LONG BEACH, Calif. (June 14, 2014) – It’s not exactly match racing, but out of 74 entries the Laser class North American Championships hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club comes down to a two-man battle on the final day Sunday: Charlie Buckingham of nearby Newport Beach versus Bruno Fontes of Brazil.
Wait a minute, Brazil is in South America. No matter … several of the top competitors are from outside the continent, reveling in a range of conditions they hope will improve their chances to reach Fontes’ home waters for the 2016 Olympics.
Fontes led after Day 1 and Buckingham after Day 2, then both stumbled slightly with their worst finishes in the light-air first of three races Saturday—eighth and 11th, respectively, which became their throwouts on the scorecard.
Fontes then closed the day with a 1-3 as Buckingham finished 2-5 and saw his lead shrink to a single point, 17-18. Their nearest rival, Cy Thompson of the U.S. Virgin Islands, is at 44 points.
“Not so good,” Fontes said of his day, “but between me and Charlie, I finished ahead of him.”
Buckingham noted, “I think we’re keeping an eye on each other, but there are still three races to go.”
Winds have ranged from a feisty 19 knots Thursday to 11 Friday and building from 7 to 13 Saturday, with a typical steady shift right from south to southwest. The forecast for Sunday looked like Friday.
“We’ll take anything,” Buckingham said. “It’s been a range of conditions. The race committee is doing a good job.”
Meanwhile, another Buckingham—Charlie’s uncle from Hawaii—is confusing the picture with a credible performance in the middle of the fleet.
In Laser Radials, Paige Railey, a former ISAF world woman sailor of the year from Clearwater, Fla., surged to the top with a second and first for a 20-point lead after discarding her 11th in Saturday’s first race. Her top rival, Luke Muller, suffered a breakdown in the second race and was unable to sail the third.
Altogether there are 190 entries from 14 countries in three classes, demanding a quarter-mile-long start line, which has been fairly free of overanxious OCS (on course side) offenders.
The event also encompasses US Sailing’s U.S. Singlehanded Championship for Americans age 17 and up, which has Buckingham and Chris Barnard—longtime rivals from Newport Beach—as the current two top Olympic hopes in the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider lineup.
Macey McCann and Gage Wilson share the Laser 4.7 class lead at 14 points, with McCann holding a narrow tiebreaker.
Sunday’s fourth and final day of racing is scheduled to start at noon, conditions permitting
The top eligible male Laser and female Radial sailor will be named U.S. Singlehanded Champions. The U.S. Sailing Singlehanded Champions will receive the prestigious George D. O’Day trophy for men and Helen Willis Hanley trophy for women.
For more information about the 2014 U.S. Singlehanded Championship, including real-time Twitter updates from the course, visit the event website.
The U.S. Singlehanded Championship is sponsored by Gill North America and Hobie Polarized Sunglasses. This is a Sailors for the Sea certified event.
Visit the 2014 Laser North American Championships website for more details about the entire event.
Laser NA Media Contact: Rich Roberts
310.835.2526, cell 310.766.6547
US Sailing Media Contact: Jake Fish
About US Sailing
The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
About Gill North America
Gill NA, with headquarters near Atlanta, GA is the exclusive importer and distributor of Gill-brand foul weather gear in North America including Caribbean, US and Canada. Gill is a worldwide apparel and accessories brand serving the marine industry with over three decades of experience. Gill specializes in high tech, breathable waterproof clothing. The company develops and markets a variety of performance-oriented, award-winning apparel and accessories for virtually every type of boating activity with product lines that include foul weather gear; interactive layering systems; footwear; gloves; bags; junior gear; scholastic gear and team wear. Gill products are available through hundreds of independent dealers and select West Marine Stores. For further information, please contact: Gary Barker at 941 505 2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Hobie Polarized
Hobie Polarized is a leading designer, developer, marketer and distributor of polarized eyewear. The brand’s innovative lens technology allows total glare reduction, 100% UV protection, enhances contrast and provides optimum visual acuity. The company’s products are sold worldwide and are used by watermen at all skill and lifestyle levels. The Hobie Polarized headquarters is located in Plainview, New York. For further information, please visit the company’s website at www.hobiepolarized.com.