Sailing: SPYC sailors thrive during summer

Youth Olympics: Belleair’s Margot Samson was 16th in the Techno 293 girls’ windsurfer competition in Singapore.

Special to the Times

Youth Olympics: Belleair’s Margot Samson was 16th in the Techno 293 girls’ windsurfer competition in Singapore.

It has been a busy summer for local youth sailors.

In July, St. Petersburg's Mateo Vargas represented the United States in the Laser Radial class at the Volvo Youth Sailing International Sailing Federation World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey.

Food poisoning sent several sailors, including Vargas, to local hospitals, but he powered through and finished 13th.

Vargas wasn't the only local in Turkey. Clearwater's Cullen Ahearn was the U.S. representative in the RS-X windsurfer class.

Vargas and fellow St. Petersburg Yacht Club teammate John Wallace also raced in Scotland's Firth of Clyde at the World Laser Radial Youth Championship.

The event attracted more than 200 of the world's best youth sailors, with Vargas finishing 20th in Gold Fleet and Wallace taking 12th in Silver Fleet.

In August, the St. Petersburg sailors headed to California's Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club for the U.S. Youth World Sailing Championships, which featured C420s, Lasers, Radials and 29ers.

In the end, Vargas took home the Radial fleet title. Wallace led his fleet from start to finish. He won his first six races and finished 7-3 overall.

By winning the Full Rig and Radial National Youth Championships, Wallace and Vargas automatically qualify for the 2011 U.S. Sailing Olympic development team.

The SPYC Laser team, which included Noah Blacker, also traveled to Texas to compete in the Laser Gulf Coast Championship, which was followed by the Laser North American Championship. In the Gulf event, Vargas finished third overall in the Laser Radial division, and Blacker was 43rd. Wallace was 17th. In the North American Championship, Vargas was second overall and the top American. In the Radial fleet, Blacker was 20th in Silver Fleet. Wallace finished eighth overall.

Log North Americans: St. Petersburg Yacht Club member Fay Baynard and her navigation crew of Robert VanLandingham, Glen Schwalm and Fred Sellers finished second overall at the North American predicted log contest Aug. 7 off the coast of Long Beach, Calif.

The contest, sponsored by the North American Cruising Association, challenges competitors to navigate an unfamiliar boat using only basic tools such as a chart, compass and tachometer. Competitors are judged by how accurately they navigate the course in a predetermined amount of time. The SPYC team navigated a 46-foot Bertram Sportfisher along a 37 nautical-mile course.

The St. Petersburg Yacht Club will host the contest in October 2011.

Windmill Nationals: SPYC's John Jennings with crew Julie Valdez captured four first-place finishes to win the Windmill National Championships hosted by Georgia's Lake Lanier Sailing Club on July 15-18. Jennings and Valdez competed against 21 other teams in the 15-foot, two-person racing dinghies created by Clearwater boat designer Clark Mills, best known for the Optimist Pram.

Sunfish Worlds: Jonathan Martinetti of Ecuador narrowly defeated St. Petersburg's David Mendelblatt to win the Sunfish World Championships held in June in Tuscany, Italy.

On the last day of the regatta, Martinetti held a five-point lead over Mendelblatt, who won that day's race. Martinetti finished sixth, creating a tie on points. By virtue of his three first-place finishes, Martinetti won the tiebreaker. Conner Blouin of Tampa finished fifth overall.

Winning in Newport: St. Petersburg's J.P. Creignou and his teammates, Jan Bartleson, Magnus Liljedahl and David Bannister of Miami, won all five of their races in the seven-boat J/22 fleet at the 2010 Sail Newport Blind National Sailing Championship in Newport, R.I.

Samson in Singapore: Belleair's Margot Samson finished 16th in the Techno 293 class after sailing in 11 races at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last month. The windsurfer delivered a strong and steady performance, reaching as high as 10th place in the international competition.

Sailing: SPYC sailors thrive during summer 09/02/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 1, 2010 8:57pm]

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