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Vessella Takes Laser Masters NAs

Conditions at the 2009 Laser Masters North Americans weren’t as breezy as they were here in this photo of the 2007 Laser PCCs on the Bay, but it didn’t faze the Peninsula’s Peter Vessella (right).

© 2009 Paul Kamen

Counting two bullets, a second and nothing south of an eighth, Burlingame’s Peter Vessella took the top spot the 2009 Laser Masters North Americans. Sailing in his final year in the ‘Masters’ group (ages 45-54) the St. Francis YC member won the six-race, one-throwout series — hosted by Carolina YC in Wrightsville Beach, NC, last weekend — on a countback, after finishing tied with four-time Mallory Cup winner Scott Young of Austin, Texas. For Vessella, the regatta was his first Masters NAs win, but with two top-fives in previous Masters Worlds to his name, he’s no stranger to strong finishes in large Laser events.

"I’ve won some Masters regattas, but this is the biggest one," he said. "There were a lot of good sailors there."

Peter Vessella and the hardware that comes with a win at the Laser Masters North Americans.

© 2009 Sharon Boome

While the final tally was close, Vessella’s win didn’t come at the conclusion of a pitched, boat-on-boat, end-game battle for the top spot. Although the 94-boat fleet was scheduled to sail a three-day event, Sunday’s racing was cancelled due to thunderstorms.

"I don’t think anybody realized how close they were," Vessella said. "Everyone figured they’d be racing another day and no one knew who was leading. We were all just trying to do the best we could."

Four of Vessella’s training partners and fellow St. Francis YC members from the Bay also posted strong showings in the final results. Tracy Usher — who also sails with Vessella aboard the latter’s Etchells — finished ninth, two spots clear of the first ‘Apprentice Master’ (ages 35-44). ‘Grand Masters’ Chris Boome and Walt Spevak finished 35th and 48th overall, and fifth and eighth in their age group respectively (ages 55-64). Be sure to check out the June issue Racing Sheet for more on the regatta, Vessella, and the training regimen that keeps him at the top of the game.

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