NYYC Silver Panda Successfully Defends U.S. Team Racing Championship

The reigning world champs add another national title to their resume at the 2007 US SAILING Team Racing Championships.

Oyster Bay, N.Y. - It all came down to the final day and the final race at the U.S. Team Racing Championship at Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, NY, this afternoon, as the sun was setting over Oyster Bay Harbor. Long-time rivals NYYC Silver Panda and WHishbone faced each other on the starting lines once again in the finals. And again they didn't disappoint viewers who enjoy a thrill. WHishbone got the early lead by winning the first race, but NYYC Silver Panda - the defending champions and reigning world champions - came back with a vengeance in the next two races, to win the title and take home US SAILING's Hinman Trophy once again.It took three intense days of racing and over 200 races in total among the country's best 22 teams to get to this point. The final day of the regatta brought beautiful 70-degree summer-like weather to Oyster Bay, home of Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club, host of the regatta, and 0-10 knots of wind. The racing was briefly halted due to a lack of wind during the afternoon, but resumed on a shortened schedule. While WHishbone took second place, the Woonsocket Rockets beat San Diego Yacht Club to capture the bronze medal. The NYYC Silver Panda team has somewhat become used to stepping on top of the podium. Just three weeks ago, the team won the ISAF Team Racing World Championship in Spain. The U.S. Team Racing Championship was sailed on Vanguard 15s, different from the International 420s used in the World Championship."We were a little rusty at times getting used to the Vanguard 15 again," said NYYC Silver Panda team member Pete Levesque (Annapolis, Md.). But the team - which in addition to Levesque included Colin Merrick (Portsmouth R.I.), Clay Bischoff (New York, N.Y.), Amanda Callahan (Canton, Mass.), Lisa Keith (Boston, Mass.) and Elizabeth Hall (Washington, D.C.) - managed to pull out the win. WHishbone is made up of Tim Wadlow (Beverly, Mass.), Karen Renzulli (Somerville, Mass.), Erin Largay (Beverly, Mass.), Tim Fallon (N. Falmouth, Mass.), Richard Bell (Narragansett, R.I.), and Graeme Woodworth (Baltimore, Md.). The Woonsocket Rockets team members were Frank Ustach (Hull, Mass.), Joel Hanneman (Newport, R.I.), Nick Ewenson (Charleston, S.C.), Adrienne Patterson (Corona del Mar, C.A.), Meredith Nordhem (Chicago, Ill.) and Hilary Wiech (Newport, R.I.).Regatta Chair Bruce Cook, who was umpiring the event, commented that "these were world-class sailors who sailed aggressively but accepted their penalties in a sportsman-like manner. It was a highly competitive regatta which tested the best of the best!"During a competitors' dinner on Saturday-evening, the Gay Lynn award - presented to the person who demonstrates utmost dedication to the sport of team racing by working tirelessly and selflessly to better the sport - was presented to Francis Charles. Charles is the head sailing coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and long-time proponent of team racing. Among the many events he is involved in is the Charles River Open Team Race event run on Boston's Charles River every year.