Beaufort News

Beaufort's Potter tops them all at MC Scow Masters

When the final horn sounded over the Beaufort River to end racing Saturday morning, those charged with helping haul the sailboats from the water knew whose trailer to fetch first.

Minutes later, Beaufort resident John Potter cruised to the landing in his borrowed boat, having won the MC Scow Masters Championship at Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. After three days of racing, Potter edged Charleston's Tommy Harken to win the overall title.

Potter proved a quick study on the MC, a one-design sailboat. He first raced the class earlier this month in Augusta, Ga., finishing fourth. By the end of the regatta, he had it figured out, having won three of the five races.

"I was trying to make too much of it," Potter said of the boat's dual center boards. "You've got to lower one right before you tack. I was trying to pull the other one up while I was tacking. I kept running head on into the boom. So it's like, finish tacking, then get the boat going, then pull it up. I guess that's the way everybody does it. Nobody ever told me what to do."

Lasers are Potter's specialty. He'll travel with a group later this year to attend a Laser clinic in the Dominican Republic before the class' big regattas take place at the beginning of 2012.

He said he prefers the more physical nature of the Laser, that sailing the boat help keeps him in shape.

But he decided to try the MC Scow while the regatta was in his backyard. After four races over the first two days, Potter and Harken were tied, each with two wins, a second and a third.

Harken said it was the first regatta he could remember two sailors having identical finishes after four races. And the standings set the stage for a few nerves Saturday.

With the two men well ahead of the rest of the fleet in the standings, each was concerned only with where the other was on the course. Potter started faster and easily won the day's only race.

"It's hard to make gains on somebody like him," Harken said. "You've got to do it at the beginning. You're not going to catch him too much at the end."

Harken, 61, was the top finisher in the Grand Master division, for those ages 60-69. Potter, 54, won the Master division in addition to the overall regatta.

Thirty-eight boats from 10 states competed in the racing. This was the first time Beaufort hosted the Masters race, open to those 50-and-older.

Perfect conditions Saturday helped the regatta earn rave reviews after heavy breezes Friday almost forced officials to call off the racing.

"It's the best regatta I've ever been to," said 83-year-old Beaufort resident Guy McSweeney, who beat out one other boat to win the Old Salt division.


At Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club

Division winners

Masters-- John Potter

Grand Masters-- Tommy Harken

Mega Masters-- Bob Miller

Old Salt-- Guy McSweeney

Final results

1. John Potter

2. Tommy Harken

3. Bill Rembold

4. Bob Cole

5. Jeff Grinnan

6. Byron Beasley

7. Tim Fredman

8. Eric Hood

9. Jeff Annis

10. Bob Miller

11. David Helmick

12. Paul Keyserling

13. Tom Jacobs

14. Don Fancher

15. John Houck

16. Devin Farley

17. Jack Kern

18. Richard Blake

19. Ian Buckley

20. Mike Keenan

21. Fred Herr

22. Frank Pontious

23. Ryan Gaskin

24. Tom Martin

25. Lenny Krawcheck

26. Marvin Day

27. Mike Fisher

28. Guy McSweeney

29. Mike Neidig

30. Brian Horwood

31. Phil Ecklund

32. Larry Basford

33. Roy Crocker

34. Dennis Fisher

35. Dennis Oldham

36. Charlie Laffitte

37. Dick Booth

38. Allan Gowans