Sailor of the Week: October 1-7
It was reported by the National Class E Scow Association that there were two winners of the 2009 Blue Chip Regatta, hosted by the Pewaukee Yacht Club (Wis.) on Sept. 25-27. Technically there was only one winner, Vincent Porter, and deservedly so. Vincent and his crew sailed extremely well to win the regatta. However, there was another admirable team worthy of recognition from this event.
Sam Rogers and his team of Chrisy Hughes, and Tony and Lynn Jewett were in first place by a point over Vincent’s team going into the final race. “Our team has sailed well all year, but we really found our mode at this year’s Blue Chip Regatta,” said Sam. “We were sailing well enough to compete for the title going into the last race.”
After the fifth and final race on Saturday, the principal race
officer brought it to Sam’s attention that a competitor noticed his
team used two different spinnakers throughout the regatta. Sam was
under the impression the rule applied to each race of the event, not
the whole series. After learning what the actual rule was, Sam asked
the race committee to withdraw his team from races 2 and 3. It turns
out Sam used a newer white spinnaker in the first race and then an
older black spinnaker in races 2 and 3. Then he used his white
spinnaker for race 4. The black spinnaker is a little older and is of a
different material than the white one, but both spinnakers were the
same size and shape. His preference was to use the black spinnaker when
there was more wind and the white newer spinnaker in the lighter winds.
Realizing he broke a class rule, Sam and his team withdrew from races 2 and 3, when he used the black spinnaker. The competitors were hoping there was another option for Sam. They wanted a solution that did not penalize Sam and his team to such an extent. However, it was Sam's choice to stand by his decision to withdraw from the races. “We broke a class rule and there was no disputing that,” Sam explained. “Withdrawing from the races was the proper course of action.”
Sam’s team came up short of winning this year’s Blue Chip Regatta. However, the display of sportsmanship they showed won over the respect of all their competitors.
Sam started sailing with his father at the age of 9. He raced X
boats on Lake Minnetonka (Minn.) whenever the opportunity presented
itself. Sam raced for four years on the varsity sailing team at Hobart
College. Sam sails professionally now, after spending three years
working at Melges Performance Sailboats and North Sails Zenda.
Sam’s schedule is full of Melges 32 sailing this winter with the Samba Pa Ti program. He is also part of a Melges 24 team that will compete at the Melges 24 World Championship in Annapolis, Md. on Oct. 23-31.
“Our E Scow team is already looking forward to next summer,” added Sam. “And we’ll be using only one spinnaker.”