FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jake Fish
US Sailing Communications Manager
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (July 25, 2012) – Top men and women singlehanded sailors from around the country will convene in Sheboygan, Wis. for three days of exciting racing on Lake Michigan this Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29. Sail Sheboygan, a US Sailing Center, will host the 2012 US Singlehanded Championships. The regatta exhibits a rich history of great sailing athletes, and this year’s competitors are in good company. Over the years, many past Olympians and US Sailing Team members have participated at this Championship, including Paul Foerster, Morgan Larson, Andrew Campbell, Anna Tunnicliffe, Sally Barkow, and Sarah Lihan.
The men’s division will race the Laser, an Olympic class in the men’s singlehanded division. The division features Clay Johnson (Point Pleasant, N.J.), who finished second overall in the 2012 Olympic Qualifier, narrowly missing out on making Team USA’s Olympic Sailing Team. A four-time college All-American, Johnson is currently ranked 30th in the ISAF Laser World Rankings. Earlier this season, he took fifth place as the top American at US Sailing’s Rolex Miami OCR. Johnson has two silver medals at ISAF Sailing World Cup events, including Kiel Week in 2010 and Sail Melbourne in 2009. The 2011 Laser North American Champion and 2009 Laser National Champion has raced in this event three times during his career and is looking to have his name engraved on the O’Day Trophy for the first time.
Johnson will be tested this week in Sheboygan by several highly skilled racers. Eric Bowers (Excelsior, Minn.) won the 2012 US Laser Nationals in Houston earlier this summer. Bowers was fifth at the Laser North Americans last week at the Columbia Gorge in Cascade Locks, Ore. He recently graduated from the College of Charleston where he raced on the sailing team for four years. Nick Valente (Mount Pleasant, S.C.) is a talented up and comer who competes mostly in the Laser Radial. He is one of the younger sailors in the men’s division. Last year, he won the US Junior Singlehanded Championship in Toms River, N.J.
The women will race the Byte CII provided by Zim Sailing. A 12 foot, 100 pound boat, with a manageable 58 square feet of sail area, this boat with its modern rig that provides a blend of performance and stability, adds a new element to the event, and is sure to challenge the physicality, skills and tactics of the sailors. Almost none of the competing sailors are familiar with the CII, so this will be a true test of their abilities.
Among the notable sailors in women’s division is Allie Blecher (Santa Monica, Calif.). The College of Charleston graduate was a four-time ICSA Women’s All-American and the 2010 Women’s College Sailor of the Year. She led her team to victory at the 2010 ICSA Women’s National Championship. Last year, Blecher finished seventh at US Sailing’s Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship in Rochester, N.Y.
Going up against Blecher is Hanne Weaver (Gig Harbor, Wash.), who is fresh off a victory earlier this month at the US Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, also raced on Lake Michigan. She finished third at last year’s US Singlehanded Championship in Laser Radials at the Columbia Gorge.
Partly cloudy conditions with temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s and light to moderate winds are forecasted for racing days.
• Competitors became eligible to race in the US Singlehanded Championship by their results though national semifinals or by select invitation.
• A maximum of 12 races are scheduled for the Championship.
• Racing is held on July 27-29. Racing is scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm CT on Friday, 11:00 am CT on Saturday, and 9:00 am CT on Sunday.
• The racing venue is a half mile S/SE of Sheboygan Lighthouse on Lake Michigan.
• US Sailing medals will be awarded to the top three in each division. The winning skipper of the men’s division will have his name engraved on the George O’Day Trophy. The winning skipper of the women’s division will have her name engraved on the Hellen Willis Hanley Trophy. The Peter J. Barrett Sportsmanship Trophy will also be awarded.
• Competitors will participate in a Rolex Clinic on Thursday, July 26.
• This event is a US Sailing National Championship.
• The first US Singlehanded Championship took place in 1962.
For results, standings, photos and more details about the 2012 U.S. Singlehanded Championship, please visit the event website at http://championships.ussailing.org/Adult/USSinglehandedChampionship.htm.
The US Singlehanded Championships is sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A., Zim Sailing, Gill North America, and Hobie Sunglasses. This Championship is a Sailors for the Sea - Clean Regattas certification event.
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The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.
About Rolex Watch U.S.A.
Since Rolex Watch U.S.A. first presented timepieces to America's Cup defenders in 1958, the company has consistently recognized and encouraged excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing, including US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider preparation, US Sailing National Championships, disabled sailing, offshore, one-design and women's events. For more information, please visit us at www.rolex.com.
About Gill North America
Gill NA, with headquarters near Atlanta, GA is the sole distributor and licensee of Gill-brand foul weather gear in North America including Caribbean, Central America, US and Canada. Gill is an apparel and accessories leader in the worldwide marine industry for over three decades and specializes in high tech, breathable waterproof clothing. The company tests, designs and markets a variety of performance-oriented, award-winning apparel and accessories for virtually every type of boating activity with product lines that include foul weather gear; interactive layering systems; footwear; gloves; bags; junior gear; scholastic gear and team wear. Available through hundreds of dealers nationally, Gill NA is the sole distributor and licensee of Gill-brand foul weather gear in North America, where it is the top selling yachting clothing brand. For more information on Gill NA, visit the company website at http://www.gillna.com/or contact Lance Jones at Gill NA, (678) 730-5581 / e-mail: email@example.com
About Zim Sailing
Zim Sailing, headquartered in Warren, R.I. is the fastest growing manufacturer of one-design sailboats in North America. Currently, Zim manufactures and distributes the Optimist, Club 420, CFJ and the Byte CII. Zim’s customers include high schools, colleges, yacht clubs, community sailing centers and the passionate dinghy sailor. Zim boats have won several local, regional, National and North American championships since the company’s creation in 2008. Zim is dedicated to the success and growth of dinghy sailing. Zim’s experienced staff and support vehicles can be found at many regattas. For more information, please visit www.zimsailing.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Hobie Polarized
Hobie Polarized is a leading designer, developer, marketer and distributor of polarized eyewear. The brand’s innovative lens technology allows total glare reduction, 100% UV protection, enhances contrast and provides optimum visual acuity. The company’s products are sold worldwide and are used by watermen at all skill and lifestyle levels. The Hobie Polarized headquarters is located in Plainview, New York. For further information, please visit the company’s website at www.hobiepolarized.com.