04-Aug-2013

Daring Sweeps Swan 42 Nationals

NEWPORT, RI (July 23, 2013)“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” Newport sailor John Hele said after he and his team on Daring became the Swan 42 National Champions on Sunday in Newport in a stunning 19-point lead over the second place boat.  

Hele, along with a crew of including Newport sailor Jim Gibson, says has been trying to win the nationals since the launch of the class in 2007.

When asked what made this year the difference, Hele says,“We were very humble, and kept our focus…it wasn’t just one thing.”

Even after winning three races in a row on Friday, the team, he said “..its all the little things like spotting the wind, recovering from a bad start, being careful and working very hard together as one.”

Although the fleet was relatively small with 15 boats, the fleet was comprised of several former national champions, professional sailors and well seasoned teams.

Reportedly, finishes were overlapped and mark roundings all tight in every race.

The championship included eight faces over four days in winds that ranged from very light up to a steady 20-knot breeze with big waves. The bigger the breeze and the bigger the waves, the better the Daring performed.

Gibson says, “The team does well in heavier conditions with chop. On Friday, the waves built as the day went on, it was getting pretty bumpy and crew maneuvers were critical,” Gibson says.

Newport sailors Phil and Wendy Lotz on Arethusa, and Paul Zabetakis on Impetuous finished in a tie for second place. With the tie broken by a scoring formula, Zabetakis inched ahead of the Lotzes by one point to take the second place trophy.

Zabetakis had a mostly Rhode Island crew including Newport sailors

Harry Dunning, Eric MacDonald, Kerry Mahoney, Todd McGuire, and Dylan Vogel of Jamestown.  (Sheila – not sure if you want to include other non-Newport crew members here but if so: and Alexander Clegg and David MacMillan of East Greenwich, Martin Kullman (St. Pete, FL), and Darren Walters of Boston)

Gibson added, “This is a long time coming, we put our time in, we’ve had a lot of thirds. It’s nice to finally get one.”

Hele and team Daring will next race in September to defend their title as the 2012 Invitational Cup Champions in September in the annual Newport event.

Newport Sailors win Youth Qualifier

Alie and Liza Toppa, 15 year-old twin sisters of Newport, traveled to the New Bedford Yacht Club recently for the 2013 New Bedford Junior Regatta and Area A Qualifier for the U.S. Doublehanded Championship for the Bemis Trophy.  The sisters won the regatta in the Club 420 Class and the opportunity to compete on the next level youth event in Texas.

“We didn’t expect to win,” Alie, who skippers the boat said. “We just sailed it. We had really good starts, we played the shifts right and were always looking around for the wind.”

“We stayed with the other boats mostly, (Liza) Toppa added “We don’t get too far away.”

The win came down to the last race of the last day when the Toppa team had to beat one specific boat and did so by inches, to capture the first place trophy. Overall, the two had all top ten finishes (1-8-1-1-6-10) for a winning low-point total score of 27 points. 

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