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Monday, September 29, 2008

Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club Team Captures U.S. Offshore Championship Title

Racing on the final day of the U.S. Offshore Championship on Tartan 10s out of Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club, sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Dry Creek Vineyard, was tight and exciting in winds of 9 to 14 knots on Sunday afternoon. The battle for the National Championship title and the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy was between Rick Strilky (Chicago, Ill.) and his team representing Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club and the defending champion Chuck Nichols (San Diego, Calif.) and his team from San Diego Yacht Club. Going into the final day of racing, Nichols' team was within striking distance of Strilky's team, just three points separated the two teams. The race committee put on three races on the final day. In the end, it was the team of hometown favorite Rick Strilky that had stronger finishes: two race wins versus Nichols' one race win.

Strilky and his team of Peter Sherman (Lake Forest, Ill.), Paul Wurtzebach (Woodridge, Ill.), Brian Kaczor (New Lenox, Ill.), Scott Melanson (Chicago, Ill.) and Vincent Fanizzo (Plainfield, Ill.) are the first team from the state of Illinois to win the Championship.

The last race of the regatta was a very close one. With one race to go, Strilky appeared to have the series wrapped up since he had won the first two races of the day. However, the last race was as intense and fierce as all the other races, and Strilky ran into some bad luck: not only did he take a penalty-turn after an incident at the first mark rounding, the boat's spinnaker ripped on the hoist after the penalty turn. Trailing the fleet now, the team quickly grabbed the spare spinnaker. Not letting this bad luck get them down, the team picked up favorable shifts in the puffy northeasterly, working their way back up to sixth by the second weather mark rounding, then surfing to cross the finish line in third place.

Demonstrating his experience in the U.S. Offshore Championship, Nichols won the final race and took home second place, along with his teammates Kyle Clark (San Diego, Calif.), Kelly McKeown (San Diego, Calif.), John Reiter (Carlsbad, Calif.), Matthew Brown (San Diego, Calif.), and James Sakasegawa (San Diego, Calif.).

Complete results, daily reports, and photos from the event are available on the event website at www.ussailing.org/championships/adult/usoffshore
. The U.S. Offshore Championship for the Lloyd Phoenix Trophy is part of US SAILING's National Championships series. For more information about these events, visit www.ussailing.org/championships.

The 2009 U.S. Offshore Championship will be hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. US SAILING is currently accepting bids from sailing organizations interested in hosting the 2010 U.S. Offshore Championship.

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