Sailing Notes: AYC captures cup; Hall selected by U.S.

In Elvstrom’s format, the competition is between three boats instead of two and that tends to produce more strategy and create more passing lanes.

Severn Sailing Association has its own legendary former Olympian in Stuart Walker, who knows Elvstrom personally and learned about the style of racing from the namesake himself. Walker brought Elvstrom Triple Racing to Annapolis earlier this month through an event dubbed the December Challenge Cup.

Walker and members of the SSA Soling fleet challenged Etchells sailors from Annapolis Yacht Club and 210 dinghy racers from Gibson Island Yacht Squadron to match skills. AYC, led by skippers Jose Fuentes, Andy Acton and Alan Kelly, won four races in the best-of-six series to capture the inaugural December Challenge Cup.

Paul Murphy, Brian Robinson and Eric Seeger served as crew for AYC, which won the first four races to clinch the victory. That gave AYC and the Etchells fleet bragging rights for a year. “We’re proud because we think it reflects the prowess of Etchells sailors,” Kelly said.

Competition was held in Solings donated by SSA and the boat owners served as foredeck crew for the racing. That meant each club rotated two-man teams and AYC sent out Fuentes and Murphy to begin the regatta. Things didn’t start off so well as Murphy fell aboard at the start of Race 1, but he and Fuentes recovered quickly and wound up winning. Acton and Murphy won Race 2 while Kelly and Robinson took Race 3. Fuentes returned to the tiller with Seeger as trimmer to clinch the overall victory. “It was a lot of fun and a very interesting format,” Kelly said.

HALL SELECTED: Annapolis-based women’s windsurfer Farrah Hall is one of five athletes selected to the 2012 United States Olympic Sailing Team this week. The athletes-who each compete in different sailing classes-were chosen after competing at the International Sailing Federation World Championships in Perth, Australia.

“I’m so happy to make it onto the U.S. Olympic team,” Hall said. “Going to the Olympics has been a dream of mine for so many years and I’m so excited to have finally made it!”

Hall, currently the top-ranked women’s RS:X windsurfer in the U.S., expressed the positive effects that training has had on her recent performances.

Hall earned the lone United States berth in women’s RS:X windsurfer class after finishing first among American competitors at ISAF Worlds. The Broadneck High graduate placed 51st out of 68 competitors while Kathleen Tocke, the only other U.S. entrant, was last. Also earning the right to represent the U.S. at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London were Zach Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) in 49er class (men’s one-person heavyweight dinghy), his sister Paige Railey (Clearwater) in Laser Radial (women’s one-person dinghy) along with Stuart McNay (Boston) and Graham Biehl (San Diego) in 470 (men’s two-person dinghy).

All five were the top-scoring athletes in their respective sailing classes at the ISAF Championships.

“All five athletes have demonstrated determination, drive, and the commitment required to win Olympic medals,” said Olympic Sailing Committee Chairman Dean Brenner. “They worked full time to earn the right to represent the USA at the 2012 Olympic Games. I can speak on behalf of the OSC, US Sailing’s Board of Directors, our staff, volunteers, friends and family when I say how I proud I am of each and every one of them.”

John White, chairman and CEO of Compass Marketing has been proud to sponsor Hall for many years: “I’m not surprised at the resounding level of success Farrah has managed to achieve. I’m excited to see all of her hard work and determination pay off. I look forward to cheering her on in London this summer,” he said.

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