Hop­per grabs lead in Women’s Fly­ing Scot NAC Re­gatta here

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - SPORTS - BY MARK WIED­MER STAFF WRITER

Mary Anne Hop­per couldn’t have had a bet­ter first day at the Women’s Fly­ing Scot North Amer­i­can Cham­pi­onships Re­gatta at the Pri­va­teer Yacht Club on Satur­day. She won all three races to all but guar­an­tee that she will re­turn home to Texas with the win­ner’s tro­phy.

“I just need to fin­ish sec­ond in one race and third in another,” she said by phone as she stood near the edge of Chicka­mauga Lake. “This is my sec­ond re­gatta here. What a beau­ti­ful place.”

Not that Hop­per was alone in sail­ing her boat “Gnat­squatch” to those three wins. She had help from crew mem­bers Melissa Miller and Jen­nifer Dra­heim.

But on a day that fea­tured two-knot cur­rent right down the mid­dle of the lake and 12-mph breezes, the Gnat­squatch crew was all alone at the top of a leader­board filled with 14 boats from seven states. There were four from Ten­nessee, four from Illi­nois, two from Texas and one each from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mary­land and Vir­ginia.

“A per­fect day,” said re­gatta chair­man Rob Fowler. “This will be the first time the women’s cham­pi­onship has had its own site. It’s al­ways been staged at the same site as the men’s cham­pi­onship. So this is the first time the women have a week­end ded­i­cated solely to them.”

The fi­nal two races will be­gin near the yacht club at 10 a.m. to­day, with a tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion sched­uled be­tween noon and 1 p.m.

Said Hop­per be­fore head­ing off to din­ner and a good night’s sleep: “I don’t know why more peo­ple don’t come here for re­gat­tas.”

Con­tact Mark Wied­mer at mwied­mer@ times­freep­ress.com.

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