The U.S. Team Racing Championship had no major upsets in August when, for a third consecutive time and a fourth time overall, team New York Yacht Club Silver Panda won the event, hosted by Erie Yacht Club of Erie, Pa., and sponsored by Rolex Watch U.S.A., Nautica, LaserPerformance and Dry Creek Vineyard.
The Silver Panda team — made up of Pete Levesque of Tiverton, R.I.; Elizabeth Hall of Washington; Clay Bischoff of Philadelphia; Lisa Keith of Boston; Colin Merrick of Portsmouth, R.I.; and Amanda Callahan of Canton, Mass. — won U.S. Sailing’s George R. Hinman Trophy in convincing style, defeating British team West Kirby Hawks in Sunday’s finals without losing a single race. Silver Panda has once again qualified to represent the United States at the Team Racing World Championship to be held in Australia in early 2009.
“This was a very competitive regatta,” Levesque says. “The fleet was very deep with a lot of high-quality racing.”
New York Yacht Club Silver Panda has dominated team racing on national and international levels in recent years, winning several major team-racing events, including the Team Racing World Championship and the Wilson Trophy. They previously won the U.S. Team Racing Championship in 2002, 2006 and 2007. They will be looking to defend their world title when they hit the waters off Perth, Australia, in January.
Joel Hanneman of Newport, R.I., has for several years been dedicating quite a bit of his time to help grow the sport of team racing, not only in his professional career working as an engineer for event sponsor LaserPerformance, but also as a driving force for the Rhode Island Team Racing Association. In addition, he has developed a team-racing program for keelboats at Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, Mass. For all his efforts and his dedicated commitment, Hanneman was presented with the Gay Lynn Service Award.