Skipper Pierce Barden and his boat team based in Charlotte, N.C., claimed first place with 19 points during the Carolina Yacht Club’s 21st annual Lightning Regatta sailing race June 6-8 in Wrightsville Beach. This year’s event served as the Southeastern District Championship.
Barden defeated 18-year-old Peter Hogan by five points to win the tournament.
“I think we had great teamwork,” Barden said. “We gelled perfectly. My job is to keep the boat going fast, and they’re looking for wind on the water, waves, other boats on the water to help make tactical decisions. We did a great job.”
Twenty-four boats competed in the 2014 regatta. Three races took place Saturday, June 7, followed by the final two Sunday, June 8. Each race was about one mile long on the ocean side, just east of the Carolina Yacht Club. The five races all followed a very similar route.
This tournament followed strict, one-design rules. All boats had to be the same size and design, and only three people were allowed in the boat.
Tanya Cuprack and Oliver Humphries joined Barden as the winning crew.
“I had a great crew of experienced sailors. Tanya and Oliver both played huge roles and their experience really showed this weekend,” Barden said.
After a race, each skipper was given a certain number of points based on his or her finish. Sailors who finished in first place scored one point. The crew with the least number of points by the end of the weekend was the winner.
Barden and his crew finished in the top eight of every race, and won two of the five races.
Barden is familiar with Wrightsville Beach’s waters. Having grown up in the Wilmington region, he learned to sail at the Carolina Yacht Club.
“This is one of the favorite stops for the people who travel,” Barden said. “This is one of the unique and awesome places to sail because you get to sail out in a huge ocean, and there is also such great shore-side activity.”
Along with first-place Barden and second-place Hogan, four other skippers earned a spot in the North American Lightning Championships. Chris Hamilton, Lenny Krawcheck, Eric Oetgen and Jim Harris will travel to Sheboygan, Wis., in August to compete in the national championships. The top 18 boats in this tournament will clinch a spot in the world championships.