Fully Foiling Fall

After competing in the Hinman and a week of pre-season training with the BU sailing team in Newport the school semester began. Back to 8am classes, practice on the Charles, and late nights in the gym and hitting the books, all things that are necessary and that I enjoy. Our first college regatta came earlier than years past landing on the first official weekend of the season and we were off traveling.

Early in the college sailing season I chose to take a break from the slower boats raced regularly on the weekend in order to travel to San Francisco There, I raced with team 13Fifty on the M32 for the Rolex Big Boat Series. We used this event to practice our large catamaran skills in preparation for our Red Bull Youth America's Cup evaluation. SF delivered powerful conditions like we expected, but we knew how to handle them and were confident in our abilities. The format for this event was different than I was used to. There were one or two races in the mixed catamaran fleet a day, which were longer and spanned the entire bay, taking over an hour to complete. Sailing in a mixed fleet was both positive and negative. It was positive in the sense that we started on the same line as another M32, an Extreme 40, and a MOD 70 trimaran, but negative in that we had to wait a long time for the slower catamarans to finish before we could start our next race. The event was moving along smoothly until the start of the second race when conditions really began to build up. Unfortunately our mast came down shortly after the starting gun went off and put an early end to our regatta. The same mast failure occurred with the other M32 later on in the same race, causing many sailors to leave the boat park less that satisfied.

On a more positive note, the remainder of the college sailing season went very well. I ended the season placing 4th in A-division at the Fall New England Championship and our women's team placed a solid 5th place in their Atlantic Coast Championship. At the beginning of this semester I was worried about how we would perform as we lost a large and talented senior class. However, we rose up to the challenge and I am very proud of our team's success. College sailing is a team effort and it takes hard work from every sailor to push each other in practice and bring out great results in regattas.

Following the conclusion of the college sailing for the semester I shifted my focus to the Red Bull Youth America's Cup. I am working with team 13Fifty in this campaign and our next step towards making this happen was to have our skills evaluated while sailing a GC32. We traveled to the base of Groupama Team France in Brest, France where we met with Hans-Peter Steinacher, one of the founders of the RBYAC. My teammates and I have written many articles on our experience during each day and I will list these at the end of this post. Mine is also linked here. As a whole this was an amazing experience both on and off the water and opened so many doors into new future sailing opportunities. We even got to practice next to the Groupama AC45 turbo!

We were also able to see some spectacular sights while in France including Mont St-Michel, Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. We spent a little over 12 hours in Paris enjoying delicious pastries and chocolates before heading home.

The amount of sailing I have done since summer surpasses all other semesters of school so far, and along with this comes many lessons learned. I missed a substantial amount of class for sailing opportunities and as a result, I have learned how to balance traveling with academics. I have also begun taking more specialized engineering classes and I applied their concepts while sailing the GC32 and learning to efficiently foil. Now that I can combine my studies and passion I look forward to attending each class more and more. I am entering this winter and spring ready to embrace new challenges with academics, college sailing, the RBYAC, and anything else I choose to take on.

My new Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/raviparent/

Links to all articles from trip to France

Below is my full recap of our trip to Best:

Team 13FIFTY’s trip to Brest, France was undeniably a great success and unique experience. We had an amazing time seeing the beautiful country of France as well as getting some solid training in the GC32. With two practice days in varying conditions we were well prepared before our evaluation in this larger foiling cat. Our first day of practice brought a nice light wind to start in the boat which made learning to foil easier, but the conditions quickly built. Our second practice day was much windier than the first and we began to push our limits harder, working towards foiling jibes and mark roundings. Unfortunately the wind was too strong on our third day and we had to take an unplanned rest which gave us some time to explore the town and coastline of Brest. Despite the cold weather we really enjoyed learning about the history of this town as well as embracing the French culture through dining at a local seafood restaurant.

During our evaluation we had excellent conditions with stronger wind the first day and lighter wind the second. By the very last day of sailing our whole team could agree that we had learned a substantial amount about how to sail a foiling catamaran at pace and how to execute crew-work most efficiently and effectively. Before this trip we had all foiled in smaller boats such as the Nacra 20 FCS, Flying Phantom, Moth, Waszp, and kitefoil, but only had experience sailing as a team on the M32. What made this experience exceptionally unique was that while we were ripping downwind at 30+ knots flying 10 feet above the water or hauling back upwind so we could sail back downwind again we would look along the rail and see all our good friends and teammates working hard and enjoying the ride each with a smile on our faces.

This trip to Brest meant a lot for our team. It served as our first training event in a large foiling catamaran and as our evaluation for a spot at the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. However, this trip also means a lot to each and every one of us individually. For me this trip reminds me of how far I have come in the sport of sailing and how much more is ahead of me. I have personal aspirations to become an Olympic and professional level sailor and this trip serves as one of the first stepping stones for me to enter in to this world.

If you came to me this time last year and asked what I thought I would be doing a year later I would not have said traveling to Europe with some of the country’s best young sailors to train on one of coolest foiling cats. My development with this team really means a lot to me. At the beginning of last summer I did not have much planned outside some F18 racing and foiling catamaran training. Little did I know that this would develop into me joining a Youth America’s Cup campaign. When I first met the team I realized I knew some of the members through college and other youth sailing events, but had not been as close with them as they already were with each other. Now after several M32 events, our entire Midwest tour, more training in Newport, and this most recent trip to France I can say I fit in very well with this talented group of sailors both on and off the water.

One of my favorite parts about this team is how well we work together. We don’t have overinflated egos, we treat each other with respect, and we make decisions that are best for the success of the team. We understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and use this to plan our roles on the boat and on shore. This breeds efficiency with our time, getting the most out of every training experience we have, and putting forth our best results.

My story with 13FIFTY should serve as inspiration to others looking to pursue a similar path in this sport. I did not expect myself to come this far so quickly, but after countless hours of hard work and the great fortune of working with such an organized team I can see myself reaching many of my sailing goals in the near future. Team 13FIFTY is looking forward to hearing of the evaluation decision in mid-December and charging forward into the New Year with new training plans and goals set.

-Ravi Parent, Standing By Boston University

Mont St-Michel

Arc de Triomphe

Paris at night