Walk-on takes military regatta

An unknown walk-on walked away with the top trophy in last weekend’s Armed Services Championship Regatta hosted by Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

According to Keith Kinnebrew, commodore of Whidbey Island Naval Sailing Association, champion Brendan McAndrews, representing NAS Whidbey, walked on so late that he missed the first race. Undaunted, the sailor absorbed the “did not start” penalty for that race, and went on to finish with the best score.

McAndrews won the single-handed sailor award for all the armed services, winning the Champion’s Trophy and first place medal, plus his name will be inscribed on the perpetual ASSHCR trophy which was first awarded in 1969.

Six racers vied for the “best in the military” trophy award. In 14-foot Lasers, four Navy and two Coast Guardsmen entertained spectators with their amazing mastery of these small, spirited racers. Other awards included:

l Mike Heffernan from Annapolis received the Best-in-Navy trophy and the second place medal.

l Bill Weinbecker of U.S. Coast Guard in Jacksonville, Fla., won the Best-in-Coast Guard trophy for taking third place in the regatta.

l Mallory Cawlfield of NAS Whidbey received the third place medal for her tie score.

l Steve Springer of NAS Whidbey received an engraved cup for fifth place.

l Mark Cottrell of the U.S. Coast Guard, Seattle, received an engraved cup for sixth place.

Neither Army, Air Force nor Marine Corps fielded contestants.

Commodore Kinnebrew said the winds were steady on Friday but Saturday’s winds “sorely teased everyone,” blowing from all directions with velocities bouncing from 5 knots to zero and back up to 10. Meanwhile, the incoming 14.7 foot tide “produced furious currents that outwitted everyone but Mike Heffernan.” In fact, in one race Heffernan was the only one to reach the finish line and it took him eight tries to do it. Unfortunately, the race committee threw out the results because of bad wind-tide conditions. A good wind piped up for the two final races.

On shore, Bob Howe, executive director of the U.S. Navy Sailing Assocation, presided over the awards ceremony with some 40 people looking on. He thanked Crescent Harbor Marina personnel, lead by manager Mike Rowe, for providing all the boats and support services. Others noted for various contributions included the Race Committee of Jack Jouett, Skit Meisch, Wendy Geyer and Jan McKinney; as well as Bob Howe, Jason Clark, Mary Kearns, Larry Calhoun, Mary and Rodney Hubbard, Bob Miles, Maria Litrenta, Beth Munns, Rose Kinnebrew and many others.

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