SailStrong team racing teams successful on two continents this weekend

With three teams traveling to two events this weekend the kids were busy. SailStrong Red finished 5th of 20 teams at the Trofeo Marco Rizzotti in Venice, Italy. It was the first international team race for SailStrong. There was definitely a lot learned about a different style of racing than we usually see here in the US. SailStrong Blue and White were at Southern YC for their inaugural Opti Team race. Being a first time event it was a small turnout with 6 teams but SYC put on a great regatta and given the low number of teams the teams were able to get in a lot of races relative to a two day event with 15-20 teams. Racing was also close with all teams winning races and victory for SYC Black coming down to the last race. Our White Team finished 2nd and Blue Team 3rd.

Both events produced lots of good preparation for Nationals in July.

Trofeo Marco Rizzotti Team Race Results 


Southern YC Team Race Results

SailStrong Red Team USA Trofeo Marco Rizzotti 2014 (JC Hermus, Gray Benson, Maddie Hawkins, Thomas Rice, Clayton Johnson, and Coach Scott Norman)

SailStrong Red Team USA Trofeo Marco Rizzotti 2014 (JC Hermus, Gray Benson, Maddie Hawkins, Thomas Rice, Clayton Johnson, and Coach Scott Norman)

SailStrong Blue at SYC Team Race (Michelle Lahrkamp, Jordan Bruce, Ian Jezak, Nick Chisari)

SailStrong Blue at SYC Team Race (Michelle Lahrkamp, Jordan Bruce, Ian Jezak, Nick Chisari)

SailStrong White (Walter Henry, Madeleine Rice, Torrey Chisari, Vanessa Lahrkamp, Sam Bruce)

SailStrong White (Walter Henry, Madeleine Rice, Torrey Chisari, Vanessa Lahrkamp, Sam Bruce)

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!


USODA National Championship Report

26 team members spent 10 days in Detroit for the three USODA National Championships; Team Racing, Girls, and Open Fleet Racing.

For the Team Race we had two teams, SailStrong Blue and SailStrong White. The Blue team made up of Gray Benson, Maddie Hawkins, Madeleine Rice, Sam Bruce, and Jordan Bruce finished 2nd in Gold Fleet (Top 8 teams) and the White team (Brendan Little, Nick Chisari, Torrey Chisari, Stan Picard, and Caroline Benson) finished 3rd in Silver Fleet. The Blue team overcame Gray being sick on the first day, went in to the final round in fourth, and only lost one race in Gold Fleet to finish second. They were also the only team to beat the eventual National Champions LISOT Black. The future is bright for SailStrong Team racing with all the team members from both theses teams, along with their teammates that missed Nationals while sailing at North Americans and Worlds.

In the Fleet Racing portion of Nationals we also had a great showing, lead by Thomas Rice finishing 3rd Overall and 1st in Blue Fleet. Other standouts were Thomas Hall finishing 9th Overall and 1st in White Fleet and Maddie Hawkins finishing 10th Overall and 3rd Girl. We also had 15 sailors make the Gold Fleet (Top 85 of 250 boats).

Team Results

Gold Fleet: Thomas Rice 3rd Overall, 1st Blue, Thomas Hall 9th Overall, 1st White, Maddie Hawkins 10th, 3rd Girl, 3rd Blue, Boyd Bragg 23rd, Sam Bruce 26th, Michael Pinto 28th, Stan Picard 47th, Brendan Little 51st, Reed Menszer 54th, Jordan Bruce 64th, Madeleine Rice 67th, Caroline Benson 69th, Chapman Petersen 72nd, Jagan Subbiah 79th, Gray Benson 81st

Silver Fleet: Daven Subbiah 1st, Nick Chisari 5th, Eloise Burn 40th, Harrison Menszer 57th, Liam Randall 74th, Cordelia Burn 82nd, Torrey Chisari 86th, Ellie Menszer 93rd, Michaela Obrien 112th, Colleen Obrien 117th

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.

USODA Atlantic Coast Champs & Team Race

A great weekend on Long Beach Island! After a light day for practice Friday, Saturday brought 18+ knots and big chop to Barnegat Bay. Our kids had a solid day with 22 of our 24 sailors finishing all the races while much of the fleet retired early. Sunday was lighter and much colder. The conditions were shifty and much flatter water than on Saturday. The RC did a great job getting in 7 races over the two days.

Our team highlights for the fleet race were 1st and 5th in Blue Fleet, 4 of the top 5 and 5 of top 10 in White Fleet, and 19 of out 24 sailors in the top half of a large and competitive 224 boat fleet.

On Monday after the fleet race was over, Little Egg Harbor YC hosted a one day Team Race with 12 teams in attendance. In a competitive group our Red team had only 2 losses and won the regatta, and our Blue team finished 6th. Fun to see the group as a whole improving with their team work and understanding of the team racing game.

Nice job to all the sailors in both events.

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. 

Volvo Ocean Race Youth Academy Team Race

At each stop of the Volvo Ocean Race there has been a Youth Academy Team Racing program, where kids from around the country of that port come together to learn, meet members of the VOR teams, see the boats, have fun, and do some team racing. At the same time there was an ISAF (International Sailing Federation) umpiring seminar going on so the kids got to get some great rules instruction. The first day was a practice day, followed on the second day with some work with the umpires and practice races. The third day was the regatta. On the evening of the second day there was an event dinner where members of each team met with the kids and talked about their experiences in the race. Each youth team represented on of the VOR teams and we happened to be representing Team Sanya which sailed in on our second day there. We also got to see the boats on the hard and the repairs being done to the boats, as well as the stepping of the masts and launching of some of them. Overall it was an amazing experience for the kids and the Volvo Ocean Race did a great job of hosting us.

After having a tough regatta at the qualifier to attend this event in New Orleans in January, the team sailed a great showing. They were tied for third but lost their sail-off to finish 4th of 8 teams, which was a huge improvement over being the last to qualify. It was a great training weekend and confidence booster for the kids, and they should go into Team Race Nationals with a good mindset.

Lauderdale Yacht Club Team Race Championship

Mehvish, Gray, Thomas, and Aaron recently sailed in one of the coolest Opti events around at Lauderdale YC. With provided boats and sails, all the sailors need to bring is their gear. We ended up 10th of 16 teams though that does not tell the whole story for this event. We raced some close races against the top teams and all kids learned a lot. I encourage everyone to get this event on the calendar for next year.

Thomas and Gray at LYC Team Race 2011