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2011 Hinman Championship

NHSF:

Thank you so much for your generous donation and giving my team and I the opportunity to compete in the 2011 US Team Racing Championship for the Hinman Trophy. Skippering for Team Triple Double were fellow NHYC members Mac Mace and Caleb Silsby, our third being Norfolk, VA native and my college skipper Sammy Stokes. Crewing were Georgetown sailing team member Hilary Kenyon, Boston College sailor Laura Mckenna and myself a current College of Charleston sailing team member.

Fifteen teams were registered to participate at Houston Yacht Club, composed of a "who's who" of former college All-Americans, National and World Champions. With 5/6ths of our team still enrolled in college, we anticipated an exciting learning experience not knowing what to expect. Having not sailed a Vanguard 15 myself for almost 10 months, and half of our team having never sailed a V15 ever, we really were unsure of what to expect as boat handling is essential in team racing.

The regatta format promised for a full round robin, then breaking off into a top six, with the remaining teams sailing in a consolation round. Collectively, our team goal was to make the top six and see where we went from there. The round robin was a little different than usual, as they set up the rotation so teams sailed their races in "chunks" of 5 to 9 races, with much off time in between.

The first day brought sunshine and nice breeze, and with the water a nippy 79 degrees, conditions could not of been much nicer. Unfortunately we were never able to get in a groove and ended the day with a 4-4 record highlighted by wins over the eventual runners-up Team Extreme and 3rd place finishers Larchmont Yacht Club.

Day two came with the same conditions fortunately and with several teams within 2 wins of each other, the top six seeds were still open season. As we learned after the first day of racing, even the smallest mistakes can prove costly and we dropped to a 1-5 record and out of contention for the top six. Because of the staggered round robin, we were able to finish right after lunch and Sam, Caleb and myself were able to spend the rest of the day perfecting our back flips and front flips while Mac was flawless in executing the ever classic "bellyflop" off the diving board of the Houston Yacht Club pool.

Sunday came earlier than we wanted it too, and there had been talk of not sailing the consolation round if the forecast looked like it would be light, but the breeze built and we hit the water to sail our four consolation races. Oddly enough, it was these races that provided some of the most excitement we had seen all weekend. Two races in particular let us square off against both our former and current assistant coaches at the College of Charleston. We finished the round with a 3-1 record and a happy with the invaluable experience we gained by participating. We ended up placing 12th overall, already eager to come back and participate in next years Hinman.

Huge Congratulations to fellow NHYC member Charlie Buckingham and his team Minor Threat for winning the event with an impressive showing all weekend.