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The Clearwater West Marine US Open Sailing Series concluded Sunday after three days of racing in a variety of conditions. The ILCA 6, ILCA 7, Nacra 15, iQFOiL, and Formula Kite all completed between 8 and 11 races over three days.
Friday saw champagne conditions, with 12-16 knots from the southwest under sunny skies, while Saturday brought the heat, testing athletes’ endurance in 16-20 knots and five-foot seas. The wind settled down on Sunday, staying light throughout the day, causing racing to be cancelled for the iQFOiL class. All other classes were able to get at least one race completed.
Well-rounded athletes excelled over the six classes this weekend, making this event a showcase of some of the best Olympic talent in America and beyond.
“With the West Marine Open Series, we’re trying to build a platform that is an opportunity for all the US Sailors to gain the strength that comes with depth of a national fleet,” said Paul Cayard, Executive Director of US Olympic Sailing.
In the iQFOiL Class, local Clearwater stars Noah Lyons and Alex Temko took first and second place, respectively; with Lyons winning by six points. This was a reversal of their finishes at 2021 iQFOiL Nationals, where Temko bested Lyons in a tiebreaker. Finally, US athlete Ethan Froelich of Austin, TX rounded out the podium in third.
Mexico’s Demita Vega de Lille finished first in the Women’s iQFOiL, winning the class handily with a lead of 12 points over second place finisher Bryn Muller (USA). US Sailing Olympic Development Program athlete Dominique Stater took third with a total of 22 points.
The iQFOiL U19 class saw a strong showing from the Hawaiian delegation this weekend. Manihi’I Pahuatini, of KYC Windclub Hawaii, took first place with 13 points, while teammate Makani Andrews took third with 20 points. Clearwater Community Sailing Center local Garrett January came in second with 18 points.
In it’s first appearance at the 2022 US Open series, the Formula Kite class was dominated by Paris 2024 hopeful Markus Edegran, finishing first with a total of 10 points. Californian Kai Calder took second, while Antiguan Tiger Tyson rounded out the podium in third.
This year’s event served as the Nacra 15 class’s sole qualifier for 2022 Youth Worlds in The Hauge, The Netherlands. Qualifying for the USA was Dorothy Mendelblatt and Ian Iles-Lee, with a total of 16 points. Cody Roe and Matthew St. Romain (USA) took second, while Elizabeth Frost and Bryan Pan (USA) came in third after a total of eight races.
“It was a stressful day, but we pulled through and we got it,” said Iles-Lee. “Tough conditions to sail in for sure. But we’re very excited to represent our country at Youth Worlds!”
In the ILCA 6 class, US Sailing ODP athlete Christina Sakellaris commanded the fleet, taking first place with a total of only nine points. US Sailing Team member Charlotte Rose came in second with 17 points, and Coralie Vittecoq of Canada took third with 24 points. This event was the first of two qualifiers for 2022 Youth Worlds in the ILCA 6 class. Peter Barnard and Katharine Doble finished on top of the U19 category ahead of the Laser Midwinters West in March.
The Canadians came out on top of the ILCA 7 class this weekend, with Tokyo Olympian Tom Ramshaw taking first with 12 points, followed closely by national teammate Fillah Karim in second with 15 points. US Sailing ODP athlete Leo Boucher rounded out the podium in third with a total of 20 points.
This year, sailors from the United States competing in Olympic classes are eligible for prize money over the three Florida and three California events; a first in US Sailing history. Athletes are awarded $1000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third. Ten US athletes took home $5,750 of prize money in Clearwater this weekend.
US Sailing would like to thank Baystar Restaurant Group, Sail Life Clearwater, the City of Clearwater, Clearwater Yacht Club, Clearwater Community Sailing Center, Dunedin Boat Club, Advent Health, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Dark Horse Marine, and Freedom Boat Club for their support of this event. Events like these wouldn’t be possible without their generous support.
Clearwater marks the end of the Series Florida tour. The California events kick off this summer, starting with the West Marine US Open Sailing Series – San Diego, June 17-19. It is followed by Long Beach, July 15-17, and San Francisco, August 12-14. Registration for these events will open soon.