Naval Academy Wins 2019 U.S. Offshore Championship

First Place – Navy Offshore Team. Left to right – Matt McClelland, Ethan Falsone, Christian Hoffman, Hayden Expericueta, Ben Van Duyne, Jonathan Hitt, Zack Bauer, Sean Caraher. Photo by US Sailing

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 29, 2019) – For the first time since 2005, the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team has won the U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship. Sunday marked the third and final day of racing at the 2019 event, hosted by the Naval Academy on Chesapeake Bay. Final Results and Standings.

This US Sailing National Championship featured a series of challenging offshore racing formats and distances designed to test the 10 teams at their overall offshore sailing skills. Focused on the core fundamentals of offshore racing, these teams were challenged in the areas of navigation, boat handling, teamwork, and basic fleet racing skills.

In the end, it was the home team helmed by Jonathan Hitt (Annapolis, Md.) from the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team taking first place honors and the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy. Crewing for the Naval Academy team was Christian Hoffman (Sandy Hook, Conn.), Ben Van Duyne (Riverside, Conn.), Sean Caraher (Annapolis, Md.), Hayden Expericueta (Annapolis, Md.), Ethan Falsone (Annapolis, Md.), Zack Bauer (Annapolis, Md.), and Matt McClelland (Cummings, Ga.).

The Midshipmen took control of the regatta on Saturday by winning both long distance race in the morning and the middle distance race in the afternoon. The distance race was about 22 nautical miles while the middle distance race was 11.

Following a sixth place finish in Sunday morning’s buoy race, they won the all-important middle distance race, the final race of the regatta, to win the Championship. Learn more about the Navy Offshore Sailing Team and roster.

Sunday’s buoy race featured four windward-leeward legs at approximately .8 nautical miles per leg. There was a northeasterly breeze at 15-17 knots during warm up and down to 10-12 for the start of the first race. Breeze built back up to 16 knots, with a downwind current. The afternoon middle distance race as approximately 17 nautical miles.

Hitt grew up boating in the Lake of the Ozarks, but did not get started in sailing until just before attending the Naval Academy. Learn more about Jonathon Hitt.

“We started off slow in the first buoy race and had trouble at the start,” said Hitt. “We performed much better in the second distance race. We were able to make a move at the last mark and hold on to the lead. It got shifty at the end of the race and everyone started to catch up, but we held on.”

Placing second overall was Hanson Bratton (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) of Area E of the Bayview Yacht Club and in third place was Glenn Doncaster (Raleigh, N.C.) of Area C and the Fishing Bay Yacht Club. List of Teams.

Final Results and Standings

Photo Gallery

US Sailing Communications
Jake Fish,

U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron
Jahn Tihansky,


2019 U.S. Offshore Championship



Day 2 – Racing Notes: Hitt and the USNA Offshore Sailing Team Claim Two Wins
Saturday, Sept. 28

  • Results and Standings
  • Jonathon Hitt (Annapolis, Md.) and the USNA Offshore Sailing Team won both the long distance and middle distance races on Saturday.
  • Hitt is the overall leader with 6.8 points through three total races.
  • Both races on Saturday were closely contested.
  • Glenn Doncaster (Raleigh, N.C.) of Area C is in second place with 13.5 points and Hanson Bratton (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) of Area E is third with 15.5 points going into Sunday.
  • Sunday’s racing: buoy race followed by distance race.
  • Sunday’s conditions: 8-10 knots with strong current.
  • Quote – Jonathon Hitt: “We started with better wind today than Friday. The wind died out at the end of the first race of the day which led to a photo finish. There are a lot of good teams here and they will be ready on Sunday.”
  • Jonathon Hitt: “I raced when I was stationed in the Navy in Norfolk as a mastman out of the Hampton Yacht Club. I’ve had more sailing experience at the academy than earlier in my life.”
  • Track updates and results on Twitter @USSailing.
  • Photo Gallery

Day 1 – Racing Notes: Lewis Takes the Distance Race
Friday, Sept. 27

  • Results and Standings
  • Barry Lewis (Atherton, Ga.) of Area G and the St. Francis Yacht Club won the distance race – 6.2 nautical miles.
  • Distance race started just after 2pm ET after lengthy postponement.
  • Light breeze throughout the day. Five knots or less.
  • Race duration was approx. 1 hour and 17 minutes.
  • Race 2 was shortened and then abandoned with Brian Kennalley (Chicago, Ill.) in the lead.
  • Quote – Barry Lewis: “We weren’t very optimistic that we’d race today. After waiting out a long postponement, the Race Committee moved us further south, but there was no breeze there either. A southerly came in which allowed us to get off, but it is a challenge moving these boats in this breeze. We had a really good start and clean air. That put us in the lead for the good.”

U.S. Offshore Championship

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (September 24, 2019) – Ten teams representing their respective US Sailing Areas from regions around the country will compete for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy this week in Annapolis, Md. at the 2019 U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship. The U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron will once again play host to this US Sailing National Championship over three days of racing Navy 44 sloops on Chesapeake Bay. Racing days take place beginning Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29.

Teams will be challenged through a series of races organized using a variation of formats and distances designed to test their overall offshore sailing skills. A long distance race, a medium distance race, and at least three shorter buoy races are planned for the Championship. Buoy race courses will be windward-leeward with legs of approximately 0.8 to 2.5 nautical miles. The distance races will be 15 to 50 nautical miles around inflatable buoys and government marks.

The Championship focuses on the core fundamentals of offshore racing. Teams are challenged in the areas of navigation, boat handling, teamwork, and basic fleet racing skills. The competing teams are representing each of the US Sailing Areas and were seeded through Area eliminations or by sailing resume, plus one U.S. Naval Academy team. Each team consists of a crew of eight, including one skipper, six crew members, and one U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman from the varsity offshore racing team. Teams must have competed in at least five IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF, Offshore One Design, Offshore Level Class Racing or Portsmouth Numbers rating systems in its respective Area during the past 18 months.

“There are a number of things we enjoy about hosting this Championship,” said Jahn Tihansky, Director and Head Coach of the U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team. “While our team sails in many civilian events throughout the year, it is rare that we are able to get to know the other teams very well. The experience our embedded crew member receives from sailing with the visiting crews is always a good one. The visiting teams seem to enjoy that too.”

Tihansky has served as regatta chair for this Championship since 2005. “Having a fleet of matched boats of this size is a rarity and combined with the Academy’s proximity to the Chesapeake and the institution of the Naval Academy itself all combine to make this a special place to visit and compete.”

The U.S. Offshore Sailing Championship is a biennial event. Returning to defend the 2017 title is Brian Kennalley (Chicago, Ill.) and his team from Area K and the Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club.

“There are a lot of things to enjoy about the U.S. Offshore Championship,” said Kennalley. “It’s a great opportunity for very close racing among talented teams from around the country. It was truly a pleasure having a Midshipman on the team.”

“We learned a lot at the event in 2017, especially about how the tide and current impacts the racing in heavy boats when the wind is light,” said Kennalley. “Those are new concerns to Chicago racers like us. We mostly prepared by doing a lot of one-design racing through our 30-boat Chicago Tartan 10 fleet, which conducts over 50 buoy races and six distance races every year.”

Kennalley is returning four of the six crewmates from the 2017 U.S. Offshore Championship, including Brian Kaczor (New Lenox, Ill.), Brian Davies (Seattle, Wash.), Edward Mui (Chicago, Ill.), and Andrew Camarda (Chicago, Ill.). They will be joined by Carrie Camarada (Chicago, Ill.) and Ye Yi (Chicago, Ill.).

“I love being a member of such a fun and talented team,” added Kennalley. “We’re all friends on land too; we probably see each other three times a week. It’s great to work together with your best friends to try and predict and strategize for the usually-unpredictable conditions and make decisions on the fly when other boats interfere with your plans.”

Three other teams from the 2017 U.S. Offshore Championship are also returning to race this year, including skippers Glenn Doncaster (Raleigh, N.C.), Scott Ward (Hollywood, Md.), and Dan McGanty (Los Angeles, Calif.).

For results, standings, photos, Twitter updates, and more information from the 2019 U.S. Offshore Championship, please visit the event news and coverage site. Updates to be posted following the start of the event on Friday, September 27.

For additional information about this Championship, visit the event website.

US Sailing Communications
Jake Fish,

U.S. Naval Academy Sailing Squadron
Jahn Tihansky,

About US Sailing
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