Gulfport, MS (October 11, 2015) – The top 49er team in the country showed their diversity on the race course this weekend and captured one of US Sailing’s most intriguing championships. Brad Funk (Largo, Fla.) and Trevor Burd (Marblehead, Mass.) successfully acclimated to VX One to win the Championship of Champions (Oct 9-11), hosted by Gulfport Yacht Club.
US Sailing’s Championship of Champions is recognized as one of the more unique adult racing events in the country. All helms qualified for this event by winning a one-design class National, North American, or World Championship in the qualifying year (2014 – 2015). Twenty teams were tested in the VX One this year on the waters of Mississippi Sound.
Funk and Burd got off to an outstanding start on Friday by notching three consecutive bullets. However, Kenny Wolfe and Virginia Hannan of the MC Scow class were the most consistent team through Friday’s five races and took a six point lead into Saturday. They won the final two races Friday to take the lead. All five races were conducted in the afternoon in moderate to light breeze.
Despite back-to-back 10th (Friday) and 11th (Saturday) place finishes, Funk and Burd took command on Saturday en route to a 24-point lead through another six races in moderate to heavy winds.
On Sunday, the breeze was heavy in morning with chopping conditions. Wind speed reached 15 knots in the morning and dropped to 6-8 knots later in the day.
Funk and Burd placed third, sixth and second in Sunday’s three races to seal the win. Christopher Alexander (Ocean Springs, Miss.) and John F. Dane (Pass Christian, Miss.) of the VX One class won two of three races Sunday to finish second. Mike Holt (Soquel, Calif.) and Edward Conrads (Sausalito, Calif.) of the International 505 placed third overall.
“I was able to apply my skill sets from sailing the Laser, Vanguard 15, and the 49er, to this boat,” said Funk. “I sailed the VX One a couple times before as crew and I was able to give some intel to Trevor. We were able to get good starts and when we hit the pressure we were strong on the downwinds.
“There was a really relaxing and fun group of people here from different niches of sailing. I had heard about several of these talented sailors, but never raced against some of them. I think we all started to figure out the boat, and when we did, the racing got tighter and tighter.”
Funk and Burd will compete at the 49er World Championships in November for a chance to qualify Team USA for the 2016 Olympic Games in the 49er (Skiff) competition.
Three days of racing was preceded by a special VX One boat clinic and technical briefing on Thursday led by Brian Bennett, designer of the VX One.
The championship is named in honor of Jack Brown who was noted for his service as a judge, regatta organizer and member of US Sailing Committees.
Final Results (Top 5 of 20; 14 races, 2 discards)
1. Brad Funk/Trevor Burd, 1-1-1-2---2-5-4-2-7-3-6-2- ; 36
2. Christopher Alexander/John F Dane, 6-12-5-8-2-8--2-3-5--1-11-1- ; 64
3. Mike Holt/Edward Conrads, 12-3-2---6-1-3-8-1-14-2-7-6- ; 65
4. Chris Raab/Donovan Brennan, 8-4-8-6-9---4-7-4-5-5-3-4- ; 67
5. Kenny Wolfe/Virginia Hannan, 2-2-3-1-1-13--10-12-3-12-4--5- ; 68
Event website – Scoreboard – Entry list
Report by Jake Fish, US Sailing