US Sailing will hold its Match Racing Championship in Long Beach, CA in October, after a series of seven qualifiers around the country. On May 1-2, St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the NorCal qualifier in its fleet of evenly matched J/22s, sailed by teams of four. With identical boats, this was a test of the tactical acumen of the skippers and the boat handling skills of the crew, tested in the high winds gusting over 30 kt. Crew went overboard on both days during fast maneuvering or in broaches. The bosun boat was busy assisting with equipment repair or replacement, and swapped out one boat due to collision. Over the two days of round-robins for a total of 12 matches, Team Toole and Team Breault came to the forefront and seemed evenly matched. In the end, Oliver Toole (StFYC) took a one-point victory over Nicole Breault (StFYC), finishing 11-1 compared to her 10-2. When racing head-to-head, they split, with Breault beating Toole on Saturday and the reverse on Sunday. The difference, in the end, was when Jack Barton (representing San Francisco YC) topped Breault on Saturday. Toole, a two-time All-American sailor from Stanford and a team racing champion, came into the event without match racing experience. However, he and his wife Kelly have sailed together for over 10 years and are quite familiar with the City Front and J/22s, having practiced team racing there many times and successfully represented the Club at the Baldwin Cup and Morgan Cup. In addition to their brother-in-law Jack Ortell at bow, they were bolstered by Olympian Craig Healy on board as trimmer and tactician. “Though I graduated from Stanford in 2014, our team has stuck together. We were quite comfortable in the breeze, since our St. Francis group has practiced 4×4 team racing here in these conditions many times in recent years before we left to race elsewhere. It was terrific having Craig on board with his immense match racing talent, and of course super fun to qualify for the national championship.” Breault commented that, “We had some fresh new faces in this regatta and that bodes well for the match racing scene in California. Quite a few skippers asked me afterwards to set up some sparring sessions so we can keep playing the game and honing our skills!” Her team consisted of Maggie Bacon (bow), Karen Loutzenheiser (trim), and Molly Carapiet (main/tactics). Brock Paquin, representing Cal Maritime, finished third, with crew of Justin Zimna, Kyle Collins, Lukas Kraak.

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