Sarah Newberry and Matthew Whitehead finished off the 2015 Zhik F18 Americas Championship the way they started it, with a bullet. The U.S. Olympic Sailing Team hopefuls didn’t need it. Two third-place finishes in Friday’s races had already sealed the title, but the win added an emphatic finish to a dominant performance that saw the duo win seven of 15 races. Their worst finishes were a sixth and a seventh on Thursday, both of which didn’t count under the regatta’s two throw-out format. In addition to the Zhik F18 Americas Championship crown, Newberry and Whitehead won the 2015 U.S. F18 Nationals laurels and the 2015 Zhik F18 Americas Mixed-Crew title.
Three-time defending champions Michael Easton and Tripp Burd had the winners in their sights as Friday began with winds in the mid-teens and a menacing sky. But despite winning the second race, they were still 12 points back with one race to go and no mathematical chance to win. They finished with a sixth place and wound up 17 points back. Michael Easton: “It was awesome sailing all week. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to an event where the wind was so steady 10-20 from the same direction for 6 straight days. The level of the US fleet has definitely improved which made coming back in a race and winning races that much harder. Sarah and Matt seemed to have a boat speed advantage for most of the week. We started figuring out our tuning and gears on our Falcon with Glaser sails after losing our rig on Monday, but it was a little too late to stage a big comeback.”
John Casey and Colin Page notched two second-place finishes, but a sixth in Race 2 cost them a chance to overtake Easton and Burd for second place overall. They finished two points back in third. Charles Tomeo and Dalton Tebo jumped up a spot to fourth place on the strength of a win in the first race Friday and a pair of fifths to end the day. Olivier Pilon and Maxime Loiselle of Canada logged a pair of fourths trying to hold onto their Day 4 position, but a 12th place in the last race forced them to burn their second throw-out on that race and they wound up five points back of Tomeo and Tebo. Robbie Daniel Keenan Madewell had their best day of the week, with a third, a sixth and an eighth, to place sixth overall.
Scott Miller and Alberto Serrano won the Zhik F18 Americas Masters title, beating a 10-crew field of sailors with a combined age of 85 or older. Dubbed by sailors as the “strongest men in the fleet” after they ripped the head of 2 main sails this week, they finished 11th overall, finishing in the Top 10 in seven of 15 races. Their best result was a sixth on Wednesday.
Overall Top 5 results:
- Newberry/Whitehead (24 points)
- Easton/Burd (41 points)
- Casey/Page (43 points)
- Tomeo/Tebo (55 points)
- Pilon/Loiselle (66 points)
Text: Brian Gleason