Matt Struble Wins the 2015 A-Cat North American Championship
St. Andrews Bay in Panama City tested the 41 competitorsí light-air skills on the last day of the 2015 A-Class Catamaran North American Championship. Matt Struble secured his third North American championship title with two more first place finishes. Bruce Mahoney, last yearís champion, finished the event second overall with a 3-2 scorecard today. Bailey White captured third overall.
Matt Struble, 2015 A-Class Catamaran North American Champion, taking his "victory lap",
Photo Credit: Walter Cooper, 2015 A-Cat NAs
Fourth place Woody Cope, who also brings home the great grand master title (65+ years old), quipped to the spectator fleet as he rounded in front of Struble at the top mark in the last race of the day, "Well, this is a first." In the shifty conditions and heavy current no lead was safe, however. When they split at the bottom mark, Strubleís move out the right side paid off, overtaking the lead and the win.
"Today was really the icing on the cake,Ē Struble said, ďBruce is going so well, and with the big change in conditions today I had no idea how I would get along in non-foiling conditions. I was the most nervous today of the whole week. But it worked out nice. I had adjusted my sail set up, which allowed me a little bit more power, and tactically allowed me to go where I wanted to go."
The top finishers, from left to right: Bob Hodges (5th), Bailey White (3rd),
Matt Struble (1st), Bruce Mahoney (2nd), Woody Cope (4th) - Walter Cooper, 2015 A-Cat NAs
Struble noted that while heís been sailing a lot this year, itís probably the least amount of racing heís ever done and chuckled, "I think Iím sailing the best Iíve ever sailed."
Bob Hodges, who suffered damage from a collision in day one and an over early penalty, battled back throughout the remaining three days to capture fifth place with the help of the second throwout. "I was really happy to get back into the top five. "Overall this week I learned a lot downwind and felt like thing were starting to come together," - said Hodges, who races on the eXploder, a foiling design. "I think Iíve filled my notebook to take home and help me prepare for the Worlds in Italy."
2015 A-Class Catamaran North American Champion
Full results, video and photos are posted at www.acatnorthamericans.com. Follow the racing and color commentary via the event Facebook page (www.facebook.com/acatnorthamericans) and Twitter (@US_ACats).
PANAMA CITY, A WORLD-CLASS REGATTA DESTINATION
Beginning with the A-Cat NAs, Panama City and St.ABYC plan to show the world that their premier sailing and tourist destination is ready for primetime. Panama City recently approved a tourism grant to introduce racing and cruising sailors to its beautiful town on the Bay, which offers protected deep water, consistent breeze and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. The fantastic sailing conditions, St.ABYCís warm hospitality and top-notch race management, combined with Panama Cityís family-friendly atmosphere, great restaurants and boutiques, provide the perfect package to host premier sailing regattas.
ABOUT THE A-CAT
The A-Class Catamaran (A-Cat) is the fastest singlehanded small catamaran in the world. Sailors range from 17 years old to over 70. The A-cat is a highly responsive lightweight boat (165 pounds), and the powerful rig means that even the heaviest sailors are on the trapeze upwind in six knots of breeze and flying a hull downwind (wild thing). The top sailors have now mastered the art of trapezing downwind and foiling downwind, making the boat even faster and more exciting, for the sailor and spectators alike. The boat is very easy for an experienced sailor to sail, but challenging to sail really fast.