Portsmouth, R.I. – When racing starts at the U.S. Championship of Champions this Thursday, October 18 at Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego, Calif., the starting line will be packed with familiar names from across the country’s one-design sailing community. This should be no surprise, the event – which wraps up on Saturday, October 20 – is known as one of the toughest one-design competitions since it brings together the country’s top 19 one-design sailors of all ages who have won major events in their respective one-design classes in the last year. The Championship, sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A. and Dry Creek Vineyard, is held in a different one-design boat every year in a different part of the country.
This year’s event is sailed in Snipes, which could make Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.), the 2003 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year who has countless Snipe titles to his name, the odds-on favorite. But a win by Diaz is by no means guaranteed because he will be joined on the starting line by sailors such as 19-year-old Kyle Rogachenko (Collegeville, Pa.) who won the Laser Radial Youth World Championship and the U.S. Singlehanded Championship this year, 70-year-old seasoned Sunfish sailor Dick Tillman (Syracuse, Ind.) who is the oldest of fleet, US Sailing Team member and Olympic hopeful Carrie Howe (Grosse Point, Mich.) representing the Formula 18 class at this event, and several others. And perhaps the upset could come from local favorite Jake La Dow (San Diego, Calif.), who at age 14 is the youngest of the fleet and qualified after winning the Naples Sabot Junior National Championship last year.
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