Donnell, Stinson win Koch Cup


Pair from Newport Beach pulls off dramatic win to capture sailing crown near San Francisco.

August 03, 2012|By Bruce Bourquin
(Courtesy of Jim…)

Picture some of the most thrilling moments in sports. The buzzer-beating jump shot in basketball, the game-winning touchdown in football, the walk-off home run in baseball.

Now imagine a two-person sailing team taking on grueling 20-knot winds and choppy ocean waves, along with competing against 20 teams from eight different countries over a seven-day, 21-race period. And picture that gauntlet of a week coming down to the last race, and that team winning it by the slightest of margins.

That's exactly what Jack Donnell and Brooke Stinson of Newport Beach both did, beating the team of Mike Anderson and Amanda Norris from New Zealand, 76-78. Donnell is a 6-foot-4, 16-year-old incoming junior at Corona del Mar, while Stinson graduated last spring from CdM and will be attending Abilene Christian in Texas.

Finland's team of Niklas Kirkkomaki and Zacharias Still came in a close third, with 79 points.

Sailing a 14-foot Flying Junior boat while naming themselves the Renegades from July 22-28, the two won the William I. Koch International Sea Scout Cup. It was held nearly 10 miles off of the coast of both San Francisco and Oakland, and was sponsored by Cal State Maritime Academy in nearby Vallejo. The race is held every two years in locations throughout the United States. Everyone in the race was in the Boy Scouts of America or in Sea Scouts.


Donnell is also very close to earning his Eagle Scout award, the highest honor in the Boy Scouts, perhaps looking to earn the award sometime this fall. He only needs to attend a final review of Scout leaders, who determine whether he will earn the award, and has already finished his Eagle Scout project, required by Eagle Scouts.

Donnell and Stinson won the first race by nearly five boat lengths and the last clinching race by four boat lengths.

"Probably racing the first day [Thursday] was the toughest," Donnell said. "The days all blended together. The sixth, seventh and eighth day was tough. We'd been out on the water all day, we were tired … it was sweeter knowing that New Zealand's known for sailing. It [gives us] a little bit more bragging rights."

Stinson also enjoyed the experience versus other countries.

"Neither of us had a chance like this," Stinson said. "It was a fight the whole way. It was exhilarating, it was probably the best time of my life."

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