A total of 90 sailors are lined up to compete in the US Team Racing Champs this weekend 7/9/06

A total of 90 sailors are lined up to compete in the US Team Racing Championship for the Hinman Trophy, kicking off with racing on tomorrow, Friday 8 September and running through Sunday 10 September at San Diego Yacht Club in California.

With an average age of 24, a closer look at the wide range of backgrounds of the competitors at this national championship offers insight to the popularity of this type of sailboat racing in the US.

From world champions to local club champions and high school athletes, the competition promises to be intense because there is even more than a national championship title at stake: the top six finishing teams at the regatta will qualify to compete in the US qualifier for the 2007 ISAF World Team Racing Championship.

Sailed on Vanguard 15s, the US Team Racing Championship is sponsored by Rolex Watch USA Inc, Nautica, Vanguard Sailboats, and Dry Creek Vineyard.?? Veterans and reigning world champions Cape Cod WHishbone will face 14 other strong teams. Cape Cod WHishbone, made up of Tim Fallon, Karen Renzulli, Tim Wadlow, Erin Largay, Patrick Rynne, and Galen Largay, have won the US Team Racing Championship twice before (2003 and 2004). While last year’s US Team Racing Champions are absent this year, it will not be easy for Cape Cod WHishbone to pull off the hat trick, since one of the other teams competing will be Silver Panda, which finished second at the last Team Racing Worlds.

While Cape Cod WHishbone and Silver Panda may be the favorites to take home the Hinman Trophy, we can’t overlook any of the other teams. Perhaps this year, the big upset will come from one of the relatively unknown teams, such as the Pointers, the youngest team competing in the regatta with an average age of barely 16. Made up of six San Diego region sailors – Benjamin Todter, Nicolas Kaschak, Briana Provancha, Caleb Paine, Morgane Renoir, and Claire Bagg – this team will have the home-court advantage. Several other teams who regularly sail on the waters off San Diego will also enjoy showing off their skills close to home, such as Team San Diego Yacht Club and the Bay Area Babes, the only all-female team.

Whatever the outcome will be, the regatta will be busy for the nearly 20 on-the-water judges and umpires who are responsible for the more than 80 races scheduled to take place over three days of racing. With the race course scheduled to be set close to San Diego’s downtown area, spectators should be able to watch the racing from shore.