Great results at USODA Team Trials

The team as a whole had great results at the 2013 USODA Team Trials at Pewaukee Yacht Club. 195 Optis showed up for a primarily light air event. Being on a lake lead to some interesting shifts and puffs. Consistency and not taking too many risks were the keys to putting together a good score line. Pewaukee YC was a wonderful host and the Race Committee, led by Anderson Reggio, did a great job getting 11 races in.

Team highlights were

– JC Hermus 4th overall

– 3 sailors in Top 15

– 1st and 2nd Blue Fleet

– 5 Sailors in Top 50

– 4 of Top 10 White Fleet

– 12 Sailors in Top 100

SailStrong Team Members will represent the USA at numerous international regattas this summer.

World Championship Team  – JC Hermus

European Championship Team – Kathryn Hall

North American Championship Team – Clayton Johnson, Thomas Rice, Michelle Lahrkamp

British National Championship – Madeleine Rice, Boyd Bragg, Jagan Subbiah, Daven Subbiah, Brendan Lord

USODA Team Trials Practice

23 SailStrong Opti sailors are in Pewaukee, Wisconsin getting ready for this weekend’s USODA Team Trials. They have had 2 great days of practice so far, plus one day of no wind in which they worked on all their sail and boat measurements done, as well as registration. The kids have done a great job trying to figure out the lake sailing shifty conditions and are feeling good about their preparation. Two more days of practice and then the racing begins.

Lots of overseas success and fun for SailStrong this Spring

SailStrong sailors traveled to Lake Garda Italy, Lake Braassermeer Holland, and Porto Alegre Brazil over Easter week. Great experiences and racing were had by all.

Thomas Rice and JC Hermus were part of the US Team attending the IODA South American Championship in Brazil. Thomas ended up 12th and JC 17th of the 145 boats. JC was part of USA 2, which won the Nations Cup Team Race. Thomas was on USA 3, which narrowly lost to USA 1 in a race for the finals and ended up 3rd.

Four sailors travelled to Lake Garda, Italy for the Lake Garda Meeting, which for the second year in a row set a Guinness Book Record for the largest one-design regatta ever with over 1,400 Optis taking part. The event was split into the Cadetti Division (11 and under) and the Juniores Division (12 and up). In the 300 boat Cadetti Division Maddie Hawkins ended up 13th and second girl, and Madeleine Rice 31st. The much larger Juniores Division was split into 5 groups 250+ boats and after three days of qualifying Jake Vickers and Stephanie Houck ended up 11th and 77th in Bronze Fleet.

Four more SailStrong team members headed to Holland for the 200+ boat Magic Marine Easter Regatta . Jordan and Sam Bruce qualified for the Gold Fleet with Jordan ending up 26th and Sam 57th. Thomas Hall finished 37th in Silver Fleet and Brendan Little 20th in Bronze Fleet.

USODA Team Race Midwinters

Another great weekend in Jensen Beach. 21 teams showed up for Team Race Midwinters this year and the weather provided great conditions for the first two days, if a little wet from some showers. Day one and part of day two was used for qualifying races and then the teams were split into Gold and Silver Fleets. SailStrong Red made the Gold Alpha Group, while the White and Blue Team were in Gold Bravo. SailStrong Purple just missed gold after some good racing for the young and inexperienced team. After the second day Red was in 3rd, White 12th, Blue 14th, and Purple 4th in Silver.

Unfortunately the wind was light on the third and last day of the regatta and the Race Committee was not able to get enough races in to finish the next round, therefore the results reverted back to the end of the previous round. We had a good practice day but no results.

Congrats to the Red team for the podium finish, after coming up just short in 4th at Team Race Nationals. All the teams learned a lot are looking forward to preparing for Nationals.

Midwinters Wrap-up

SailStrong sailors spent most of Thanksgiving week down in New Orleans at Southern Yacht Club for the USODA Midwinters, which this year was the qualifier for the Spring international teams for US Opti sailing. The sailing was tough with two days of very light air followed by shifty and choppy conditions on the third and last day. We had 21 sailors attending the regatta as well as Scott Norman and Leigh Kempton helping me out with the coaching. The kids worked hard and the team came away with some great results. JC Hermus was consistent throughout finishing 3rd overall and 2nd in Blue Fleet of the 210 boats sailing, qualifying for his second South American Championship. Thomas Rice had a tough last day and fell from 5th to 14th overall and 3rd in Blue Fleet, but still an outstanding performance. Gray Benson was our third boat in the Top 25 at 23rd place. Our youngest sailors continued their strong performances from earlier in the Fall taking 6 of the top 8 spots in White Fleet, lead by a guest member, Rayne Duff, of the British Virgin Islands. In a telling sign of the depth of the group 12 of our 21 sailors finished in the top half with a few others just outside. Way to go everyone and keep up the hard work!

One year Anniversary!

Debrief after first day of sailing as SailStrong.

One year ago, this coming weekend, SailStrong Youth Racing had its first practice. Thanks JC, Chrissie, Mehvish, Julia, Camille, Thomas, Gray, Aaron, Madeleine, Caroline, Joe, and all their families for showing up that first day to get things going. One year in, we have been to Opti regattas all over the US, had sailors represent USODA in internationals events, had several sailors make the US National Team, held open clinics on Long Island, in Maryland, and in Florida, started 420 training, and will have nearly twice as many sailors showing up for our first practice of this school year season.

This would not have been possible without the never-ending support from the parents of all the sailors. This is a coach lead program, but so much of the effort to get the kids off the beach still comes from the parents. Thank you all so much! 

I can’t wait to see what year number two brings.

USODA Nationals

We had a great 9 day trip to Sandusky, Ohio for Opti Nationals. The kids participated in Team Racing, Girls, and Open Nationals and had success in all three.

For Team Racing we had three teams, two of which, our White and Blue teams, were made up mostly of kids doing their first team race regatta. It was tough but a good learning experience for all.

SailStrong Red, made up of JC Hermus, Thomas Rice, Gray Benson, Porter Kavle, and Stephanie Houck, had a great regatta and finished 4th of the 26 teams. They were 2-2 vs the winner, Team FOR, and won a close race against the second place Lauderdale YC, but in the finals round they lost 2 of three races. Being one of the youngest teams in the group, they all came away with a lot of confidence for their next team race.

Girls Nationals proved to be another good event for the team, with 10 girls sailing. It was a long day with 4 races and 102 boats. Highlights for the team included Sinead McManus 6th Overall, Julia LaForgia 10th and 3rd in Blue Fleet, Caroline Benson 15th overall and 1st in White Fleet, Stephanie Houck 21st, Camille White 28th, Madeleine Rice 38th and 2nd in White Fleet, and Michelle Lahrkamp 46th. Nice job to all the girls.

At this point, the week was just getting going, with the four days of the Open Nationals remaining. Racing was tough with very shifty medium wind and a lot of boat chop on Sandusky Bay, which created a washing machine effect. Because of bad weather, the RC was not able to get many races off during the qualifying portion of the regatta, so we had 7 races on the first three days to determine who would be in the Gold (top 94 boats) and Silver Fleet (next 188). Of the 25 sailors we had in attendance 10 made the Gold Fleet. JC Hermus ended up 4th overall and 1st in Blue Fleet. Thomas Rice was 16th overall and 5th in Blue Fleet. Sean Crabb was 18th Overall. In Silver Fleet we were lead by Julia LaForgia in 10th and Camille White in 27th. Lots of good sailing by all the kids and a big group qualified for Team Trials.

Off to Newport next for New England Champs. 

Pics from our sailors’ spring overseas adventures.

SailStrong’s Inaugural Orange Bowl

We just finished up our first Orange Bowl as SailStrong Youth Racing. It was much warmer than last year but the wind did not cooperate for most of the regatta which led to some very tough sailing throughout the event. Day one had the most wind with 18 knots from the South and if you have sailed in Miami you know the chop can be tough when the wind blows straight up Biscayne Bay. The following three days were sailed in under 8 knots with no races on day 3 of the event.

Our top finishers were Joe LaForgia in 56 and Thomas Rice in 63rd (80 place improvement from last year). We also had top 10 races from Brendan Little and Nick Brady and top 15 races from Jack Brown and Michelle Lahrkamp. All the kids learned a ton and of course we will back for this circus again next year, hopefully with some more breeze but still warm. 

We also need to wish Nick Brady well on his next sailing adventures as he is retiring from the Opti (we are making him team race with us at Midwinters so this was his last fleet race).  Since he is towering over the rest of the fleet it is definitely time to move on to his next challenge. I guess it is time for us to start a 420 program. Good luck Nick and thanks for being part of SailStrong in these first few months. 

Long sail to Stiltsville

Since we have had so much good sailing this week we decided to make today an adventure and head out to Stiltsville for lunch. Stiltsville is a group of houses in Biscayne Bay just south of Key Biscayne. Thomas was excited to do this for the second year in a row and I think this will be an annual event for our Orange Bowl practice. Have to throw some fun into the mix 🙂