Sunfish win advances Blouin to Pan Ams

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The United States Sunfish Class Association (USSCA) ran its 2019 National Championship at the Midwinters on March 29-31 in Tampa, FL. Hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club, light winds prevailed through the event with too little wind to race on the final day.

Connor Blouin (Lexington Park, MD) took home the championship with a 3-1-6-7-1 scoreline for 18 points – ten points ahead of David Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, FL) in second (who was the Masters Champion) and Jeff Linton (Ruskin, FL), another two points back in third. It was tight racing atop the 67-boat fleet with ten points separating second and seventh.

“I’m really excited to be able to sail against everyone in the class; the Sunfish is my favorite boat to sail,” noted Blouin. “I’m also excited to hike hard for the USA in Peru this summer.” Blouin will represent the USA as the Midwinters was the USSCA qualifying regatta for the 2019 Pan American Games to be held July/August in Lima, Peru.

The Race Committee pulled a pair of rabbits out of the hat on Friday, getting off two races. The day started with a shifty 8 to 10 knot ENE breeze with a light chop. The fleet had a clear start under the “U” flag with the leaders playing the left side as a lefty came in right after the start. Linton led the competitors around the weather mark but the wind dropped to 5 to 6 knots and moved right for the second beat and run to the finish. At the finish, Mendelblatt won the heat followed by Linton and Blouin.

As the committee was setting up for the second race of the day, the wind swung to the south and dropped out completely. After waiting for the elusive breeze, the Committee sent the competitors to shore to wait and see if the late afternoon sea breeze would come in. The breeze began to fill in around 4:00 pm, the weather mark boat was sent out about 4:15, and a light 4 to 5 knot breeze came in from the northwest. This wind speed wavered just at the minimum for racing, but finally built to 7 to 9 knots with a few shots of 10 knots.

By 5:45, the second race of the day was started. A fast beat was followed by a port-favored run as the wind moved to the right. After a change of course, the race finished with Blouin leading Renzo Sanguineti (Lima, Peru) and David Hernandez (Guatemala) over the finish line. The competitors headed home in the sunset to the Friday night regatta with Conner Blouin atop the leader board.

With prediction of a dying breeze early Saturday afternoon, the Race Committee posted a half hour earlier start for the day. The first race got off in an 8 to 10 knot north easterly with periodic oscillations. Gustavo Alayon (Ponce, PR), Sanguineti, and Linton arrived in a close pack at the first weather mark and remained in the lead for the race with Alayon seizing the win.

The second race started in the same breeze but shifted right and dropped. Linton grabbed the lead at the first mark and held on for the win. The third race started with a lighter 7 to 8 knots southeasterly that continued the move to the right with decreasing pressure during the race. The RC moved the mark to the right and shortened for the second weather leg that saw Blouin grab the lead and carry it to the finish and the top spot on the leader board. The wind continued to drop as forecast and the RC sent the competitors in for the day following the third race of the day.

As it turned out, Sunday’s third day of racing never materialized due to lack of wind leaving Blouin as the overall leader, Mendelblatt in second overall by the highest-scoring Master, and Linton in third. Mendelblatt was named the Masters Champion and Javier Silvestre Perez the Youth Champion.

Final Results (Top 10 of 67; 5 races)
1. Conner Blouin , USA – 3 -1 -6 -7 -1 ; 18
2. David Mendelblatt , USA – 1 -8 -7 -10 -2 ; 28
3. Jeff Linton , USA – 2 -12 -3 -1 -12 ; 30
4. Renzo Sanguineti , PER – 10 -2 -8 -8 -4 ; 32
5. Eugene Schmitt , USA – 5 -5 -15 -5 -3 ; 33
6. Stewart Draheim , USA – 8 -6 -4 -12 -6 ; 36
7. Greg Gust , USA – 4 -4 -16 -9 -5 ; 38
8. David Hernandez , GUA – 7 -3 -2 -23 -7 ; 42
9. Hank Saurage , USA – 9 -10 -13 -6 -14 ; 52
10. Dan Norton , USA – 25 -9 -19 -4 -9 ; 66

Source: Ed “Buttons Padin, USSCA Class Administrator / sailingscuttlebutt

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