16 year old David Gonzalez of Venezuela bested a fleet of 70 competitors, the heat, the weeds and a stiff sea breeze to win the 51st Sunfish North Americans at Brant Beach New Jersey July 18-20, 2013. The win followed his third-place finish at the Sunfish Youth Worlds held earlier in the week at the same venue.
The three days of racing featured temps well into the 90s and a West-Southwest breeze that each day started at 8-10- MPH from the WSW then moved closer to the South and built to over 20 MPH. The shallow bay and big breeze meant a significant chop and a lot of weeds. The conditions rewarded the best conditioned sailors in the fleet – clearing a board of weeds every few minutes while fully hiked broke down many an otherwise competitive racer.
Day 1 saw Rhode Island’s Amanda Callahan win the first race in a light breeze. But as the breeze came up Callahan faded and New York’s Dan Hesse stepped up to hold the lead after the first day (4 races).
Day 2 saw Gonzalez take the lead by finishing 11, 1, 2, 3 in the four races of the day. Headed into the third and final day 2009 Champ Doug Kaukeinen (NY), Hesse and Gonzales had separated themselves from the pack and only a few points apart with three races to go.
Hesse won the second race of the final day, but was eliminated from contention for the top spot by an 11 and a 10 in the other two races. Kaukeinen did his best with finishes of 4, 7 and 1, but it was not enough.
Gonzales widened his lead with finishes of 2, 4, 2 and won the championship.
The Brant Beach Yacht club, and their amazing team of volunteer cooks and hosts, did a great job of making everyone feel at home.