US Optimist National Team Practice – Lauderdale YC

SailStrong team member Sam Bruce took part in the USNT practice last weekend at Lauderdale Yacht Club. Looks like the conditions were fantastic with good breeze, big waves, and warm weather in the ocean off Ft. Lauderdale. Sam sailed well finishing the race series in 11th of the 29 boats.

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Orange Bowl Regatta

Congrats to all our sailors at the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta. We had 11 races in 3 days with unfortunately no wind on the last day. Thomas Rice lead the way for the team, narrowly edging out JC Hermus by 1 point to finish 4th. Very proud to have 2 sailors in the top 5 of such a competitive regatta. Along with Thomas and JC, we had an additional 4 sailors make the top 50 of the 240 boats, and 16 in the top 100.

A big congrats to Chapman Petersen for finishing 3rd in White Fleet. SailStrong has had a sailor on the podium in White Fleet at Orange Bowl every year we have been. It is always exciting to see the future of the class coming up.

Overall Results 

Team Results (240 RWB Optis):

Thomas Rice 4th Overall, JC Hermus 5th Overall, Gray Benson 34th, Maddie Hawkins 36th, Sam Bruce 42nd, Brendan Little 48th, Stan Picard 67th, Harrison Bailey 69th, Madeleine Rice 70th, Alex Mazzeo 72nd, Michael Pinto 77th, Chapman Petersen 79th, 3rd White, Jordan Bruce 81st, Chase Carraway 85th, Nick Chisari 86th, Michelle Lahrkamp 94th, Caroline Benson 114th, Liam Randall 133rd, Matthew Monts 145th, Torrey Chisari 156th, Ian Thomas 160th, Vanessa Lahrkamp 170th, Justin Smith 190th, Adra Ivancich 223rd, Thomas Mazzeo 235

SailStrong Holiday Opti Clinic 2013 @ the US Sailing Center Martin County in Jensen Beach, FL

Each year SailStrong does a Holiday Clinic just before Christmas and Orange Bowl. In past years we have been in Miami, but this year decided to move up the road to Jensen Beach and sailed from the US Sailing Center Martin County. The venue did not disappoint, with 10-15 knots of breeze and warm temps. One of the best features of USSCMC is the ability to maximize the time of the clinic since transit to and from the sailing area is just a couple minutes. 

We had three coaches for the clinic, Scott Norman, Juan Carlos Romero, and Peter Strong, along with sail designer Mike Marshall of North Sails One Design. This was a huge add on for the kids as they got to delve deep into the way the sails work, how they are designed, and what they can do to set theirs up to go fast for them.

Each year the our Holiday Clinic continues to grow with 24 for sailors this year from several different teams and areas of the country. Our first year had just three kids from our team and the two that have been to all three years of the clinic were happy to see the increase in training partners.

We worked a lot on starting and especially the boat handling and decision making that goes into, and it was great to see the improvement in the fleet’s general starting throughout the four days. Another focus was boat speed and Mike worked with the coaches and kids on the water with sails. We did lots of video of both the starting and boat speed which was a good help to the kids in understanding and applying what we were working on and talking about.

One of the highlights of the clinic was a talk Mike did for the sailors (and a couple parents and members of the sailing center) about the pictures and of the sails he had taken on the water. He talked a lot about how the foils work, and was able to line up different pictures of the sails to help the kids get a visual of what the different designs look like from different angles. One of the best things he did was give the kids an in depth look at what some of the controls do, focusing especially on sprit adjustments and how they affect the leach both upwind and down. Finally maybe some of them will believe the coaches when they are told that sailing downwind with a huge vertical wrinkle is not the fastest approach. Mike talked to the kids for at least an hour, and had them all paying close attention right to the end. If you have ever tried that you know it’s not an easy task. We will try to get up some video from the lecture soon.

A big thanks to Mike Marshall and North Sails One Design for supporting our clinic and making it a better learning experience for the sailors. Thanks also to the US Sailing Center Martin County for hosting us this year and we look forward to coming back soon. As always thanks to Scott Norman and Juan Carlos Romero for your work with the kids.

Come join us next year as we keep improving our Holiday Clinic to make it the best way to get ready to Orange Bowl, or break off the rust in the middle of the winter.

Holiday Clinic Practice Regatta Results

Here are some videos Scott Norman put together of each day of the clinic.

Day 1  Day 2   Day 3  Day 4

2nd Coach added for Holiday Clinic in Jensen Beach

With growing demand I have added a second coach, Scott Norman, to the Holiday Clinic at the US Sailing Center Martin County in Jensen Beach, FL. We will sail December 20-23. There are several openings left. Contact for info.

Kicking off the fall with multiple practice locations

It was a big weekend for the team, being the first time with practices running in two locations at the same time. 16 kids sailed at the Dinghy Shop on Long Island and 13 more practiced at Island Heights YC in NJ. We have come a long way from 12 kids and 1 coach two years ago in Bellport. Thanks to all the sailors sailors and parents for working hard and believing in the program. Thanks to my family for putting up with all the travel. Thanks to all the coaches that have helped with the kids.

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NJ State Optimist Championship

Clayton Johnson (far left) and JC Hermus (3rd from left) coming off the start at the NJ State Optimist Championship.

Clayton Johnson (far left) and JC Hermus (3rd from left) coming off the start at the NJ State Optimist Championship.

26 SailStrong Sailors took part in the NJ State Optimist Championship August 19-20 at Brant Beach YC. Saturday the RC got off 4 races in very shifty and light conditions. Sunday they were able to get off three more in steadier but still light air. Our sailors did very well in the 111 boat Gold Fleet and 25 boat Silver Fleet.

JC Hermus won his second straight USODA event, though this one was much closer than New England Champs. Going into to the last race JC trailed two other boats by one and two points, and lead another by only one. He won the last race and came away with a one point win.

Sarah Burn, 8th, and Thomas Hall, 10th, also cracked the Top 10 in the competitive fleet with sailors from all over the country. The team as a whole sailed very well in addition to the three in the Top 10, with 8 in the Top 20, 11 in the Top 30, and 18 in the Top Half. 

Link to Overall Results

Team Results

Gold Fleet – 111 Boats: JC Hermus 1st Overall & 1st Red Fleet, Sarah Burn 8th Overall & 3rd Blue, Thomas Hall 10th Overall & 1st White, Sam Bruce 12th, Maddie Hawkins 13th, Stan Picard 14th, Kathryn Hall 16th, Clayton Johnson 17th,  Jordan Bruce 24th, Brendan Little 26th, Eloise Burn 30th, Daven Subbiah 33rd, Brendan Lord 34th, Michael Pinto 37th, Liam Randall 39th, Jack Farrell 41st, Jagan Subbiah 45th, Nich Chisari 53rd, Fritz Sellig 64th, Colleen Obrien 68th, Cordelia Burn 69th, Torrey Chisari 70th, Justin Smith 87th, Michaela Obrien 88th, John McCarthy 96th

Silver Fleet – 25 Boats: Adra Ivancich 13th

Holiday Optimist Clinic

We will be hosting our 3rd annual Holiday Opti Clinic December 20-24. This year we are moving it from Miami to the US Sailing Center Martin County in Jensen Beach, FL. Partial attendance is ok and additional dates prior to the 20th are available as well. Please contact for price and additional details.


CORK Optimist Regatta

Two of our sailors left straight from New England Champs in Maine to make it to Kingston, Ontario for racing the following day at the CORK Optimist Regatta. Gray Benson sailed a great regatta to finish 3rd, just 3 points out of 2nd Place. Clayton Johnson sailed well too, finishing 13th of the 99 boats sailing. Way to go boys!