Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) and crew Steve Hunt (San Diego, Calif.) and Victor Diaz De Leon had a three point lead over Betsy Alison (Newport, R.I.) and crew mates Will and Laura Jeffers (Tarpon Springs, Fla.). Skip Dieball (Toledo, Ohio) and crew Tom Starck (Avon Lake, Ohio) and Abby Freeman (Vermilion, Ohio) were seven points back in third place.
Race 15 Sunday morning featured winds out of the west at 5 to 8 knots. The Race Committee shortened the course for the upwind finish. The race was won by Lee Sackett (Cleveland, Ohio), followed by Greiner Hobbs (Tampa, Fla.) in second, Alison in third, and Keane in fourth. Dieball placed 13th. Heading into the final race of the regatta, Keane had a four point lead over Alison, and Dieball was 11 points behind. Dieball went on to win Race 16, followed by Keane and Starck.
Keane won the regatta by 10 points over Dieball and Alison. Dieball won the tie-breaker to take second place. Keane was representing the J/80 class, as the 2012 J/80 North American Champion. Despite not winning any races this week, Keane finished in the top three on seven occasions through 16 races. He placed outside the top six just twice.
"We had never raced Lightnings before, so it took us a while to get comfortable," said Keane. "We had to learn how to accelerate, make tactical maneuvers, and the cadence of the wind. It's a testament to this great event that allowed us to compete at a high level. The boats were similar, which took away some of the advantage that the Lightning sailors here had. Also, with the event being held on a lake, it put the emphasis on reading the wind and tactical positioning. It's not all about sailing fast."
US Sailing’s Championship of Champions is recognized as one of the more unique adult racing events in the country. All helmsmen qualified for this event by winning a 2012 or 2013 one-design class National, North American, or World Championship. Helmsmen and their crew were tested in Lightnings over three days of racing on Lake Murray. For more US Sailing Championship of Champions sailing info