John RufSailor of the Week: Nov. 5-11
Last week was a special time for 2008 Paralympic Bronze Medalist John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.). A me m ber of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG), Ruf won the 2.4 mR World Championship held at the Edison Sailing Center on Caloosahatchee River on Nov. 2-6 in Ft. Myers, Fla. The win was Ruf’s first world championship.
Ruf pulled out the win in the 44-boat, open fleet event by beating a number of talented able-bodied and disabled 2.4 mR sailors including 2008 Paralympic Gold Medalist Paul Tingley (CAN) and 2009 IFDS Disabled Sailing World Champion and 2009 2.4 mR National Champion Thierry Schmitter (NED). Ruf clinched the 2.4 mR World Championship a day early last Thursday with one race to spare.
“I’m in shock. I’ve never won a world championship,” said Ruf. “It’s pretty humbling, knowing all those people on the trophy. It’s pretty impressive company to be in.”
Ruf won three out of 10 races last week, and after dropping his two lowest scores -- an eighth and 11th -- Ruf’s worst finish was only fourth. He said he never once looked at the results board throughout the week, so he didn’t realize he mathematically had a chance of winning gold today. “I focused on taking one race at a time,” he said.
The last American to win a 2.4 mR World Championship was the late Nick Scandone in 2005. “It’s nice to be on the same trophy with Nick,” said John. “Nick was a dear friend of mine. I wish he was there to sail.”
John’s grandfather and mother taught him how to sail as a youngster. “Four generations of my my family sailed on Pewaukee Lake before I hit the water as part of the fifth generation,” he added. His sister, Sarah, is an Inland Champion and his parents sailed together in a M-scow for many years.
John looks ahead to the tough job of qualifying for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, which starts in December. He also looks forward to competing at US SAILING’s Miami OCR in January.