Tight Racing from the Trainees to the Top at Oakcliff Grade 4

Tight Racing from the Trainees to the Top at Oakcliff Grade 4

Trainee Joe Richter puts out the pole during Saturday’s racing.

August 2, 2020 (OYSTER BAY, NEW YORK) – Hot off a win at last week’s Grade 3, Doug Shannon went undefeated at this week’s Grade 4, with Jim McNally taking second and Brendan Feeny taking third place. But the real story is the match racing prowess of the two boats crewed entirely by Oakcliff trainees, all of whom began match racing two weeks ago. Acorn Sam Rifkind-Brown, who gave Shannon a run for his money in the semi-finals, took fourth place, while Acorn Paloma Mannon placed sixth in Sunday’s hot, balmy 15-20 knot southerly. 

“I thought overall we sailed the course very well,” said Sam Rifkind-Brown. “We also learned a lot of lessons – improving our starts and boathandling significantly and getting better at flying the kite.”

Oakcliff trainees competed in two graded match racing events, allowing them to get real-time experience sailing against seasoned match racers. The trainees dove into an intense training program that would exhaust anyone, but is not available to many. 

“By competing in these match races with the pros, they learned how important anticipation is,” said onboard coach Andres Guerra. “They also learned that in match racing, it’s always important to have a plan.”

Oakcliff also continued beta testing live streaming equipment, creating new media towers and allowing every boat to have at least one of their races live streamed. With these recorded live streams, competitors can learn from each other, umpires can see their calls from inside the boats, and the race committee and mark set boats can see what a wonderful job they did setting the course. 

For Doug Shannon, winning this event is a culmination of weeks of hard work with his team. 

“Going undefeated in a Grade 4 is a first for me,” Shannon said. “We did really well in our prestarts as well as hitting the right shifts on Sunday’s puffy course. I don’t think we were faster than any of the other teams, we just played the shifts better.” 

Shannon plans to carry this success into an entry to the Oakcliff International Grade 2 in August. “We’ve heard there’s been some international cancellations [because of COVID],” he said. “We’re going to try to do it if the A team is available.”

Right now, Oakcliff is the only place in the USA hosting graded match race events with our COVID Safe Boating Protocol. We will continue to host match races later this month starting with a Grade 5 and seguing into the Oakcliff International August 27-31.

See full results from the Grade 4 here: https://theclubspot.com/regatta/FllpKTpt2x/results