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Marc LeBlanc wins the Clagett in Newport

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NEWPORT, R.I. (July 9, 2012) – Against the backdrop of over a dozen vessels assembling for the Ocean State Tall Ships Parade of Sail, competitors got down to business on the final day of racing at the 10th annual C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta.  Setting courses just off Goat Island, PRO Ron Hopkins was able to run two races for the 2.4 Metre and Sonar classes before a dying northerly, competing with a flooding tide, forced him to abandon while those sailors were mid-race.  Observing that conditions were unlikely to improve in the time allowed for racing, the decision was made to send the competitors ashore.

With the largest turnout of any class in the regatta’s history, the 13-strong 2.4 Metre fleet sailed two races today.  With two Paralympians in the fleet – Marc LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) and Julio Reguero (Guyanbo, Puerto Rico) – as well as 2010 class winner Charles Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.), the racing for the podium positions was intense.  Reguero and Rosenfield had each won a race thus far in the series and the day started with Reguero in second by just a three point margin over Rosenfield.  LeBlanc, who had won two races on the second day of the event, held the standings lead and, despite posting a 2-5 today, held on for the win with a low score of 12 points.  Rosenfield had come out guns blazing and took a bullet in the first race, and followed with a second-place finish while Reguero finished fourth in the first race before going on to win the final race of the series.  It wasn’t enough, however, for Reguero to hold on to his place in the overall standings as Rosenfield had done enough to move up to second overall on 18 points, followed just one point back by Reguero.  Canadian Development Team member Jackie Gay (Victoria, B.C.) finished 6-6 today for a total of 34 points and fourth place overall, with fellow Canadian Peter Wood (Ottawa, Ont.), who did not compete because of equipment problems, finishing fifth overall with 38 points. 

 “This event is the best event in the United States,” said Reguero, who had utilized the 2008 Clagett as training before representing Puerto Rico in the Paralympic Games that year.  “Every time you go in the water you learn a new thing.  It is really tough sailing in Newport, so training here with Mark [LeBlanc] and the other guys pushes you to the limits.”  Explaining that he hoped to continue improving over the coming weeks, Reguero detailed a heavy training schedule that included the national championships in Finland and Sweden before spending a week at home preparing before travelling to London for the 2012 Paralympics.

The C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Trophy for 2012 was awarded to Marc LeBlanc (New Orleans, La.) for the second consecutive year.  Awarded to the sailor with the best overall performance at the C. Thomas Clagett Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta, the trophy was presented to LeBlanc, who will represent the U.S.A. at the Paralympic Games this September in the 2.4 Metre, at the conclusion of racing.  LeBlanc won two of the eight races sailed, finished second in five races, and saw his worst finish, a fifth which he was able to discard, in the final race of the series.

 “This regatta is a favorite of mine,” said LeBlanc during the awards presentation.  “You can show up in the shirt on your back and go sailing for three days and not worry about a thing.”

 The Scandone Trophy, given to the sailor exhibiting dedication and perseverance was presented to SKUD-18 crew Brenda Hopkin (Fairmont Hot Springs, CAN).  The Seamanship Award was presented to 2.4 Metre sailor Audrey Kobayashi (Kingston, Ont., CAN), and the Sportsmanship Award, which is chosen by the sailors, was presented to Steve Shaw (Halifax, Nova Scotia) who was competing for the first time in both the 2.4 Metre and The Clagett Regatta. 

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