US Sailing’s Championship of Champions is recognized as one of the more unique adult racing events in the country. All helmsmen have qualified for this event by winning a one-design class National, North American, or World Championship in the over the past year. These skippers and their teams will race for the Jack Brown Trophy while representing their class. The competition will be challenging with many decorated sailors competing on the same course. The 2014 edition of this US Sailing classic is hosted by the Edgewater Yacht Club in Cleveland, Ohio on October 9-12.
Each year a guest helm is invited. Past guest helms have included Paul Cayard and Betsy Alison, and other sailing luminaries. This year’s guest competitor will be three-time 470 World Champion (’77, ’78, ‘80) and 2007 Melges 24 World Champion Dave Ullman. He was also US Sailing’s 1996 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year.
Ullman returns to the championship he won in 1980 (sailed in the 470). He also returns to Thistle sailing, which is one of several class national championships he has collected over the years.
"It's a strong event again, and when I got the invite, how could I say no," said Ullman. "This championship has a warm spot in my heart. You get to race against, and meet with, sailors you don't usually sail with. It's just fun to sail against all sorts of one-design champions."
"It's all about coming into this event from another class and sailing your best. It can be really interesting to see how it turns out and who comes out on top."
Inaugurated in 1976, US Sailing selects 19 one-design class champions that have been nominated by their class associations to compete at the Championship of Champions. As one of US Sailing’s most popular events, the championship is held in a different class each year, and boats are supplied by the host club. Classes range from conventional to cutting edge and have included the Y-Flyer, Snipe, Hobie Cat, J-24, Sunfish, Etchell, Lightning to name just a few. Helmsmen and their crew will be tested in Thistles to see if they can hold their own.
The event has crowned champions ranging in age from 13 to over 70. Many competitors are amateur sailors and some are professionals. The Championship of Champions features singlehanded sailors and others who sail with up to five or six crew.
What makes this event unique is that all are top competitors and anyone can win.
Here are additional requirements:
• The qualifying period is from August 1, 2013 – July 31, 2014.
• Champions and their classes must be current members of US Sailing and American citizens or permanent residents.
• Applications are accepted from January through July.
Sailors who normally sail in the U.S. and are members of a club, class or association affiliated with US Sailing are eligible.
Applications are evaluated on three main criteria:
• 40% Sailor Criteria – how many major events have they done in the past three years; number of races in national championship, number of attendants at national championship
• 20% Class Criteria – size, diversity, depth and activity of class nationally
• 40% Other – Sailor Athlete status, class membership in US Sailing, previous experience, demonstrated Corinthian spirit, etc.
The team of selectors researches each applicant's ability and background by examining regatta results, drawing on personal knowledge and researching the relative difficulty of the class championships. The Championship of Champions committee tries to get as many divergent classes as possible. Classes that have never proposed a champion to compete are encouraged to do so. In 2013, over 60% of the competitors had never sailed in the event before.
Invitations will be issued in early August, 2014. Apply now at http://championships.ussailing.org/Adult/CofC.htm.