The 2018 US Championship was contested by a group of 12 competitive Soling sailors from as far away as Nova Scotia, Milwaukee, and Germany.
The weather in Annapolis in the spring can be quite unpredictable as most of you know but due to a huge high-pressure system, the weather turned out to be perfect for the first 2 days of the event with summer-like temperatures in the upper 70ís and southerly breezes.
It was enough for a number of Canadian crews to break out shorts! Peter Hall in CAN 225 showing no slowing from his past ankle injury negotiated the 3 races held on Day 1 to take a commanding lead with 3 bullets but due to the consistency of John Finch & Gordy Devries CAN 210 and Tom Freeman CAN 233, there was still plenty of racing to be had to challenge for the Championship.
Day 2 again greeted the fleet again with 70+ degree temperatures, however, the results of Day 1 were not to be repeated. Race 4 again saw Peter move out again to record the win. Race 5 was a game changer as the southerly breeze decided to die to nothing on the left side of the course leaving Andy Dize USA 798 and Peter hung out to dry to watch the mid and right side course boats moving smartly to the weather mark on the incoming wind. Congrats to Tom Mitchell CAN 227 for putting together a great race for the win! Stu Walker USA 839 who also gladly took advantage of the right side wind rounded the weather mark second. Peter was able to claw back to an 8th place finish which pulled the leading boats point totals closer together. For race 6 with the wind back to a steady southerly direction and velocity (14-17 knots), the fleet enjoyed a near perfect 5 leg windward-leeward race. Peter was back to his form and handily won with Michael Dietzel GER 11 finishing second, and US 798 in with a respectable third.
Day 3 as forecasted slapped the competitors all back to reality that it was still spring and not summer! Easterly wind at 12 Ė 18 knots and 52 degrees quickly made us all forget the near perfect weather of the prior 2 days. The racing was still close and competitive for the final 2 races however Peter Hallís march to another US Championship was not to be denied as he won both races. CAN 210 and CAN 233 held on for their respective 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the regatta.
In addition to the excellent racing, there was no lack of good spirits on shore after each day of racing. At the awards ceremony, all competitors joined in with a raucous chorus of happy birthday for our elder statesman, soon to be 95 years old, Stuart Walker. Even with diminished eyesight and a variety of wind conditions, Stu started and finished every race. Cheers to Stuart!
Article wrote by Andrew Dize