Tuesday, July 17, 2012
US College Sailor of the Year Wins Gorge Blowout
First place went to Chris Barnard, US 2012 College Sailor of the Year with a time of 2:48:24, second to Alexander Heinzemann (CAN) in 2:49:50, and Robert Davis (CAN) with 2:50:42 - an extremely tight finish over 18 miles of racing.
For Blowout veterans the lighter inconsistent breeze today was disappointing as it compromised the fear-of-death racing that Laser sailors seem to love about the Gorge. For the few Blowout newbies, the lighter air was probably a blessing, although some were surprised at just how big the swells on the Columbia River can get - not somewhere you want to bury the bow of a Laser. Overall, carnage was minimal and fun factor high.
21-year old Chris Barnard from Newport Beach, Calif., was psyched to win his first Blowout. He was in top form and race ready having just come off four weeks of competition sailing in Europe.
“I was really excited to do it,” Barnard said. “I came up here to do the North Americans and have heard about the legendary Blowout. I thought it’d be really fun to do a great warm-up event before the North Americans. It seemed like we had pretty close to ideal conditions and it was a lot of fun.”
“It's days like this in the Gorge that makes Lasers one of the more fun boats to sail,” Barnard said. “You’re just playing around in the waves, although it hurts sometimes - its definitely a physically demanding boat but you get plenty of satisfaction when you come out on top on a really physical kind of boat.”
Clearly blessed with plenty of natural sailing ability, Barnard said he tried to so as much research as he could for this week’s racing in the Gorge.
“For the second run the breeze was much more consistent and the current seemed much more even. It was easier for me to be conservative, stay close and I knew I didn’t have to win that leg. It was blowing much harder. It was a really good fleet out here so you just have to put the pedal down as hard as you can.”
As for the North American’s that start on Thursday, Barnard is out to win.
“I think it’s going to be a really fun regatta, my goal is to hopefully win the regatta - but there’s a solid group of guys here and they’re all going to be fast this week. It’ll be a tough event for sure.” -- Event website: http://www.laser.org/index.php?option=com_helios&view=ShowEvent&eID=2327
Pic 1: Chris Barnard taking a break after first run of today's Blowout
Pic 2: Resting up half way down the Blowout track
Pic 3: Starting second half of run to finish at Hood River Marina
ABOUT COLUMBIA GORGE RACING ASSOCIATION
Based in Cascade Locks, Oregon, CGRA has been promoting small boat sailing events in the Gorge since 1996. Today, CGRA enjoys a reputation for excellence in regatta management and continues to host a growing number of premiere one-design regattas, national, North American, and world championships. Over the last 15 years, we have hosted more than 50 major competitions. As participation grows for sailing in the Columbia River Gorge, the CGRA is expanding its efforts to support the overwhelming interest. Thanks to individual and corporate generosity, we hope to add equipment, staff, volunteers, and other resources. To volunteer or contribute, please visit: http://www.cgra.org/Support_us.htm
Posted by Michelle Slade at 5:30 PM