Milwaukee, Wis. (August 21, 2006) – It all came down to the final day of racing on Sunday at the U.S. Singlehanded Championship to determine this year’s national champion at Milwaukee Yacht Club. At the start of Sunday’s racing, Mitch Hall (Seminole, Fla.), the Interscholastic representative, and Michael Karas (Kirkland, Wash.) were locked in a battle for first place, with Karas in the lead by just two points. Nipping at their heels were Benjamin Richardson (Gloucester, Mass.) and Chris Branning (Sarasota, Fla.), the Intercollegiate representative. In the final race, the lead changed several times, but in the end, Mitch Hall’s second place finish in that race earned him the National Championship title and US SAILING’s George O’Day Trophy.
Hall, who will be starting his freshman year at the University of South Florida this fall, has been practicing with his new sailing team for the last month and credited that training to his victory.
Chris Branning gave Hall a run for his money, especially after Branning got two second place finishes in the first two races on the final day. In the final race, it looked like Branning was on his way to win the event, until he lost his lead on the final beat of the race and finally crossed the finish line in sixth place.
“I stuck my head in the compass but not out of the boat,” said Branning after that final race. “Mitch is just so fast, you can’t get near him.” Branning finished the regatta in second place overall, three points behind Hall.
The event was once again sponsored by Vanguard Sailboats, which provided the Lasers, and Rolex Watch U.S.A., which has consistently recognized excellence in every important arena of competitive sailing dating to the 1958 America’s Cup. Over the years, Vanguard’s wide range of support has helped enhance the sport on many levels, from guiding a new sailor into their first Opti, to taking experienced sailors to world championships and beyond.
Top three (16 boats, 9 races):
1. Mitch Hall (Seminole, Fla.): 3, 6, 1, 7, 1, 4, 3, 1, 2: 28 points
2. Chris Branning (Sarasota, Fla.): 4, 4, 5, 1, 5, 6, 2, 2, 6: 31 points
3. Michael Karas (Kirkland, Wash.): 1, 5, 4, 2, 6, 2, 4, 5, 7: 36 points
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