PANAMA CITY, FLA., May 22, 2015 – St. Andrews Bay in Panama City tested the 41 competitors' light-air skills on the last day of the 2015 A-Class Catamaran North American Championship. Matt Struble secured his third North American championship title with two more first place finishes. Bruce Mahoney, last year's champion, finished the event second overall with a 3-2 scorecard today. Bailey White captured third overall.
Fourth place Woody Cope, who also brings home the great grand master title (65+ years old), quipped to the spectator fleet as he rounded in front of Struble at the top mark in the last race of the day, "Well, this is a first." In the shifty conditions and heavy current no lead was safe, however. When they split at the bottom mark, Struble's move out the right side paid off, overtaking the lead and the win.
The top finishers, from left to right: Bob Hodges (5th), Bailey White (3rd), Matt Struble (1st), Bruce Mahoney (2nd), Woody Cope (4th) Photo Credit: Walter Cooper, 2015 A-Cat NAs"Today was really the icing on the cake," Struble said, "Bruce is going so well, and with the big change in conditions today I had no idea how I would get along in non-foiling conditions. I was the most nervous today of the whole week. But it worked out nice. I had adjusted my sail set up, which allowed me a little bit more power, and tactically allowed me to go where I wanted to go."
The top finishers, from left to right: Bob Hodges (5th), Bailey White (3rd), Matt Struble (1st), Bruce Mahoney (2nd), Woody Cope (4th)
Photo Credit: Walter Cooper, 2015 A-Cat NAs
Struble noted that while he's been sailing a lot this year, it's probably the least amount of racing he's ever done and chuckled, "I think I'm sailing the best I've ever sailed."
Bob Hodges, who suffered damage from a collision in day one and an over early penalty, battled back throughout the remaining three days to capture fifth place with the help of the second throwout. "I was really happy to get back into the top five. "Overall this week I learned a lot downwind and felt like thing were starting to come together," said Hodges, who races on the eXploder, a foiling design. "I think I've filled my notebook to take home and help me prepare for the Worlds in Italy."
Full results, video and photos are posted at www.acatnorthamericans.com. Follow the racing and color commentary via the event Facebook page (www.facebook.com/acatnorthamericans) and Twitter (@US_ACats).