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Monday, November 21, 2016

Dee Smith Wins 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship

Dee Smith in action.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (November 20, 2016) – Dee Smith (Annapolis, Md.) captured the 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship today in Clearwater, Fla. following three days of racing at this US Sailing National Championship, hosted by Clearwater Community Sailing Center.

Sailors racing in a fleet of 12 2.4mR sailboats tallied nine races, including three on Friday, two on Saturday and four on Sunday.

Smith won seven races over three days and did not compete in the final race of the championship on Sunday.

“The first two days were light and shifty, but today, we had more wind which is always more fun,” said Smith. “I saw a lot of improvement in the fleet each day,” added Smith who offered instruction to the fleet this week.

Smith is a former America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race competitor and many other high-level racing programs over the course of his career. The Maryland native has hundreds of thousands of ocean racing miles under his belt.

Smith’s top results to date include a 4th at the 2016 Paralympic Games and 5th at the 2016 Para Sailing World Championship.

Placing second was Charlie Rosenfield (Woodstock, Conn.), an experienced and accomplished 2.4mR sailor who won this title in 2012, 2011 and 2009.

Rosenfield said, “The hosts were outstanding, the weather was great and I think it was a very successful event. It’s great we have so many new people and they are right there in the mix doing well.”

The regatta’s youngest competitor, Barbara Galinska (Chicago, Ill.) said, “I think I learned more in the last five days about sailing than I ever have. The most beautiful thing about sailing with these guys is that they are all such tough competitors. The staff here and race committee was amazing.”

It is US Sailing’s goal to organize events like this with host organizations around the country to increase participation and drive more awareness to the opportunities in adaptive sailing.

This US Sailing National Championship is one of the oldest sailing regattas in the U.S. for sailors with disabilities. The talented field often includes Paralympians, current or former US Sailing Team members, and new contenders. First established in 1986, the U.S. Independence Cup became US Sailing’s National Championship for sailors with disabilities in 1989. In 2007, the regatta moved under the championships division of US Sailing and was renamed the U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship. Many competitors from this championship have gone on to represent the United States at the Paralympic Games including Nick Scandone, gold medalist at the 2008 Paralympics, and Jennifer French, silver medalist at the 2012 Paralympics.

These athletes raced this week to stake claim to the Judd Goldman Trophy. Peter Goldman donated the Judd Goldman Trophy in honor of Justin “Judd” Goldman (1914-1989) who, despite his own physical disability, was an accomplished sailor and inspired the creation of the Judd Goldman Adaptive Sailing Program in Chicago.

For results and standings, photos, Twitter and Instagram (#DisabledSailing16) updates from Clearwater, and more information about the 2016 U.S. Disabled Sailing Championship, please visit the event website.

- See more at: http://www.ussailing.org/disabledchamps16-final/#sthash.uovN5mgV.dpuf

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