St. Thomas Optimist Regatta – Practice Days

We had a great first day in St. Thomas on Wednesday with 10-12 knots of typical sea breeze and 2-3 ft. waves. We focused on technique for boat speed and handling in the waves. Here is a video of some downwind work and I will post some more later of upwind sailing.

Thursday was our second day and we again had picture perfect conditions with a little more wind and bigger waves. The kids all improved from day 1 in the conditions and are psyched for the regatta to start tomorrow. Here is some upwind video from the training.



SailNewport Youth Challenge

Congrats to all our sailors who sailed the SailNewport Youth Challenge this past weekend. It was a fun event and SailNewport did a great job as usual. Thanks to the Lahrkamps and Obriens for organizing a team dinner at New York YC.

Dana Haig lead the team in the 91 boat Opti fleet in 11th. Vanessa Lahrkamp was 1st in White fleet.

Team Results

Dana Haig 11th, Torrey Chisari 19th, 7th Blue, Liam Randall 27th, Vanessa Lahrkamp 30th, 1st White Fleet, Michaela Obrien 34th, Colleen Obrien 36th, Adra Ivancich 51st, 5th White, Galen Dean 64th

Event Results 

Team  dinner at New York YC.

Team dinner at New York YC.

Vanessa Lahrkamp - White fleet champ 2014 SailNewport Youth Challenge

Vanessa Lahrkamp – White fleet champ 2014 SailNewport Youth Challenge

Pre Opti Nationals Coaching

We have pre Opti Nationals training dates set for July 21-22 with coach Leigh Kempton. If your team is not arriving early or you are not team racing and would like to get a couple extra days of practice in on site we have open spaces for those dates. Contact us if you are interested.



SailStrong sailors 1/3 of US team for British Nationals!

Congrats to Ian Jezak, Harrison Bailey, Michelle Lahrkamp, Madeleine Rice, and Nick Chisari will join SailStrong Coach Scott Norman on the USODA team heading to the British National Championship this August in Weymouth, the sailing venue for the 2012 London Olympics.

4 SailStrong Sailors Qualify for Opti North Americans

Congrats to the 4 SailStrong Opti team members that have qualified to represent the USA at the IODA North American Championships in Nayarit, Mexico in July. Sam Bruce, Maddie Hawkins, Michael Pinto will all make their first trip to a continental championship and Thomas Rice will be heading to his second North Americans.

More info at the event webiste:


Big team racing weekend ahead for 3 SailStrong teams!

SailStrong teams will be traveling to two team race events this weekend. 

First, SailStrong Red ( JC Hermus, Thomas Rice, Gray Benson, Maddie Hawkins, and Clayton Johnson ) are headed to Venice, Italy to compete in the Trofeo Marco Rizzotti. They qualified for this international team race by winning the USODA Team Race Midwinters back in February. This is one of the most competitive Opti Team races in the world and a great honor to represent USA there.


At the same time SailStrong Blue ( Michelle Lahrkamp, Ian Jezak, Nick Chisari, Jordan Bruce) and White (Madeleine Rice, Walter Henry, Sam Bruce, Torrey Chisari, Vanessa Lahrkamp) are traveling to Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans for their inaugural Junior Team Race. It looks like it is going to be a great event with a similar format to the Lauderdale YC Opti Team Race with provided boats and sails. It’s always nice to be able to arrive with just your sailing gear and lifejacket to sail. Thanks to SYC for putting this together and hopefully it builds into a great team race in coming years. 

Click to access 2014_inaugural_opti_tr_promo_piece.pdf

Good luck to all our sailors this weekend. Enjoy!


US Optimist National and Developmental Team Announced

Congrats to the 11 SailStrong Opti sailors who qualified for the 2014-15 US National and Development Teams at Team Trials earlier this month. 

National Team: Sam Bruce (2nd year), Maddie Hawkins, Walter Henry, Michael Pinto, and Thomas Rice (3rd year)

Development Team: Harrison Bailey, Jordan Bruce, Ian Jezak, Michelle Lahrkamp, Brendan Little, and Madeleine Rice

Enjoy the experience!

USODA Team Trials 2014 wrap up

24 SailStrong team members attended the 2014 USODA Team Trials at Stamford YC May 1-4. The event presented a range of conditions with winds from 5 – 20+ knots, and strong currents from the tides on Long Island Sound. 9 races were sailed over the four days. The current lead to many more OCS and Black Flag penalties for being over early at the start than is usually seen in an event like this but the sailors that managed to start cleanly were able to maintain the best scores, especially with some sailors carrying multiple starting penalties.

Our sailors worked very hard in preparation for this event and positive results were to show for many of them, though we too fell prey to the starting penalty.

Maddie Hawkins lead the team finishing 14th overall and 4th place Girl. She was followed closely by Michael Pinto 16th and Sam Bruce 20th. We had 6 sailors in the top 50, 14 in the Top 100, and all our first time Team Trials sailors finished well even in the windiest conditions on the last day.

Team Results (217 boats)

Maddie Hawkins 14th, 4th Girl, Michael Pinto 16th, Sam Bruce 20th, Thomas Rice 27th, Walter Henry 43rd, JC Hermus 47th, Ian Jezak 59th, Harrison Bailey 61st, Michelle Lahrkamp 66th, Jordan Bruce 67th, Brendan Little 70th, Madeleine Rice 78th, Clayton Johnson 97th, Nick Chisari 98th, Dana Haig 114th, Reed Menszer 115th, Emma McInnis 120th, Chapman Petersen 130th, Jack Farrell 142nd, Torrey Chisari 145, Liam Randall 192nd, Colleen Obrien 197th, Harrison Menszer 200th, Brendan Lord 209th