By BRANDON SCHLAGER
Niagara Gazette — Adam Burns has been busy the past few weeks.
On Sept. 9, the Lewiston resident and a crew of nine fellow sailors out of the Youngstown Yacht Club won the Beneteau First 36.7 North American Championship, a regatta which features top yachtsmen from across the continent, for the third straight year.
Burns didn't have much time to soak in the victory. Immediately after the race, he left Cleveland and shot up to Tawas Bay, Mich., to race in the North American J-22 Championship just one day later.
He and his crew won that, too.
That makes five championships in four years for Burns on a North American stage, including a top finish in a Melges 24 regatta in 2010.
"It's all been surreal, really," Burns said. "It's all the crew, though. This has always been my statement and I'm sticking to it: There's no 'I' in team, especially in sailing."
In the 36.7-foot boat division, Burns is part of skipper Gary Tisdale's crew. That crew consists of seven other local sailors, including Jack Huebschmann (Lewiston), John Goller (Buffalo), Jimmy Carminati (Youngstown), Tom Esposito (Amherst), Rich Carlo (Wilson), Ryan Suitor (Youngstown), Jason Suitor (Youngstown) and Todd Hiller (Annapolis, Md.).
Tisdale's crew finished with a cumulative 26 points in the six races of the 36.7, placing first in the field of 30. After a storm wiped out the first day of racing, Tisdale, Burns and the rest of the crew came back from fifth place to defend their title.
A day later, Burns met up with skipper Chris Doyle of Kenmore and Will Harris of Wilson in Michigan as he led the team of three to his second championship in as many regattas. Burns, Doyle and Harris finished 12 points ahead of the second place boat, totaling just 16 points in the nine races.
Other than Burns' presence, the one other thing the two crews have in common is their love for sailing, Burns said. After defeating a majority of teams which feature professional sailors, each member, whose ages range from late-20s to mid-50s, returned home to their day jobs. In the end, it's just a group of sailors out on the water having a good time.
"Everyone on our boat has day jobs," Burns said. "We all do it as a hobby, for the love of the sport. You don't just win it (the 36.7 championship) three years back to back to back, especially when you have a big target on your back like we did. It's the crew. With a crew like ours, it's all about having fun at the end of the day."