Patton high on confidence after podium display
Campbell Patton returned home yesterday on a high after his podium display at the US Laser National Championships in Houston, Texas.
The 17-year-old placed third in a 81-strong Laser Radial fleet with six top-three finishes during the four-day regatta that finished on Tuesday, including two wins en route to qualifying for the gold fleet.
It was his second podium this year after finishing third in a fleet of 154 at the Laser Radial Youth European Championships in Balaton, Hungary, in April.
Patton trailed overnight leader and eventual winner Ricky Welch, of the United States, by seven points going into the final day of the regatta but was unable to make further inroads after racing was cancelled because of a lack of wind.
Reflecting upon his overall showing on the Texas Gulf Coast, Patton said: “I started the regatta on a high and was winning after the first day with great upwind speed in medium to heavy winds.
“The second day was windier and I felt even faster but there was a course confusion which caused me to lose a large lead and fall back to fourteenth in the first race.
“The next race I was second and third race I won but was disqualified for being early. After that I went from first to sixth.”
Patton staged a late fightback on the penultimate day, posting a 3-7-3 record to move up to third and keep his victory hopes alive before the weather intervened.
“Sadly we did not sail on the final day due to light wind,” he said.
“It would have been great to sail on the final day for me to have a chance to redeem myself and have a shot at first place because I have good confidence in my speed.”
Patton was one of two local sailors that competed at the championships hosted by the Houston Yacht Club.
Also holding their own at the regatta was compatriot Benn Smith, who placed seventh in the 35-boat standard Laser fleet with seven top-ten finishes in the nine races, including a first in the fourth race.
Malcolm Lamphere claimed top honours in the standard Laser fleet. Patton and Smith will resume international competition later this month.
Patton is competing at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, from July 14 to 21 and Smith at the Laser North American Championships in Long Beach, California, from July 12 to 15.
The Laser North American Championships will serve as the country qualifier for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. The top seven countries not previously qualified in the full Laser rig (men) and Laser Radial (women) will secure qualification.