Three young sailors who grew up on Lake Hopatcong and sail out of the Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club finished in second place overall at the Thistle National Championships, an 84-boat regatta in Westport, Conn. A former tactician on the America’s Cup, David Dellenbaugh, won the event, which was sailed by several national-champion competitors, including sailmakers Greg Fisher and Skip Dieball. Brian Kitchin, Doug Kitchin, and Alexa Gruber at the Thistle Nationals awards banquet in Westport, Conn.Brian Kitchin, 24, sailing with crew Doug Kitchin, 22, and Alexa Gruber, 19, finished the seven-race regatta with several top-five finishes, including a first place in the second race. The wind was light to medium velocity early in the week, with a breezy day for the last race on Friday. Kitchin was sailing boat 3463, a several-decades-old fiberglass hull. “This has been the best week of my life,” Kitchin said at the awards banquet on Friday, where he and his crew received a standing ovation from the hundreds of sailors in attendance. His success on the national stage came in the wake of a fourth-place performance at the Atlantic Coast Championships in Annapolis. Other Lake Hopatcong boats that performed well on the national stage were Brent Barbehenn (with crew Chris Murphy and Jessica Murphy), who finished in fourth place and Lloyd Kitchin (with crew Greg Kitchin and Scott Lennox), who finished in 18th place. In all, the lake had six boats in attendance at the National Championships. The Thistle Class is more than 65 years old, and boasts more than 4000 boats built during that time. The Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club is the second-oldest inland yacht club in the country, dating back to 1905, and is on the National and New Jersey registers of historic places. For more information, visit: The Thistle Class website: The Thistle Nationals website: The Lake Hopatcong Yacht Club website:

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