Perry grabs fourth crown

CORONA DEL MAR — Skipper Dave Perry of Southport, Conn. won his fourth U.S. Match Racing Championship on a sunny, windy Sunday afternoon off Newport Beach.

Perry, with crew Mark Rehe (Harper Woods, Mich.) and Chris Museler (Portsmouth, R.I.) defeated Taylor Canfield (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) in the finals Sunday, 2-0, to claim his fourth Prince of Wales Bowl. The four-day U.S. Sailing National Championship was hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club in Corona del Mar.

Perry advanced to the finals after edging skipper Chris Nesbitt (San Diego) earlier in the day in six thrilling matches. After winning the first match, Nesbitt battled back to win the next two. In match three, a 0.75 penalty deduction was applied to Perry for causing boat damage during contact on a Rule 14 violation by Nesbitt. Perry was forced to win three straight matches to advance, which his team achieved due to their great starts. Team Perry went 14-5 during the week overall.

In a first-to-two-wins finals series between two generations of match racers, Perry won two straight over No. 1 seed Canfield in the finals.

"This time the old prevailed over the new, so the young guys still have to go through us," Perry said in a playful tone, according to a release. "I love aggressive sailors who love to win and hate to lose and Taylor is one of those guys. He has beaten me before and I know how good he is. We need guys like him in the sport."

Canfield sailed with Tod Reynolds (Chicago, Ill.), Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Jennifer Wilson (Chicago, Ill.). They were 15-1 overall, including the Single Round Robin, First Knockout Series and Sunday's semifinal three-win sweep over skipper Brian Angel (El Segundo). Also, Canfield defeated Perry in a first-round match on Friday.

Angel, a two-time U.S. Match Racing Champion, and crew Michael Delanty (Redondo Beach) and Steven Natvig (Redondo Beach) defeated Nesbitt and crew Travis Wilson (Chula Vista) and Steven Pickel (San Diego), 2-1, in the Petit Finals to finish third.

Perry, the top-ranked U.S. match racing skipper by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), won his first U.S. Match Racing Championship back in 1982. He also won in 2006 and 2008. The 2011 championship marks his third title representing the Pequot Yacht Club (Conn.). Museler won with Perry at the 2006 and 2008 Championships.

Perry is also the women's match racing coach for the U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

Sunday was the best day of sailing all week for the competitors. Breezes ranged from 10 to 12 knots throughout most of the day with heavy chop. Racing was conducted between Balboa Pier and Newport Pier.

Perry received an invitation to race in the 2012 Knickerbocker Cup and 2012 Ficker Cup, two Grade 2 events and World Tour Qualifiers.

— From staff reports

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