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:

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

Summer Sixteen

Summer of 2016 is coming down to its final weeks and it has been a blast so far. It began with post season practice with my college sailing team. We spent the two weeks leading up to the ICSA National Championship practicing out on Boston Harbor with the Tufts team. After we brought the boats back onto the river we made one final trip down to Roger Williams University for a joint practice with several other schools.

Mark rounding at ICSA Nationals.
The BUDS had an early flight out to California and we arrived just in time to watch the last day of racing for the ICSA Women's National Championship, where our teammates came through with an excellent finish placing 12th in A-Division, 1st in B-Division, and 3rd overall. Using the experience gained from the women's event, we spent a couple days practicing out of Long Beach Yacht Club. During our rest days leading up to the event we took advantage of the nice weather and went out to Venice beach.

Nationals was definitely one of the most difficult regattas I have ever sailed in. The morning of each day of racing brought a light southerly wind that soon died and filled into the steady westerly San Diego is known for. These reliable sailing conditions and tough competition brought top level racing to the semifinals and final championship. I raced in the A-Division and at the end of the semifinals the BUDS finished 11th in A, 6th in B, and 8th overall. By the end of the finals we finished strong especially in the B-Division and placed 15th in A, 4th in B, and 8th overall. Several of our teammates received All-American awards later in the summer, which show they exemplify the true spirit of collegiate competition as well as high performance on the water.

After racing finished in California I returned to my home in Florida for a week before driving back to Boston with the F18 in tow. Once back up North I began practicing in the carbon Nacra 20 FCS, M32 (Marstrom 32), and F18. I have since joined 13Fifty Racing in their campaign for the American spot at the 2017 Red Bull Youth America's Cup. In order to prepare ourselves for this competition we have practiced in the FCS in order to get used to foiling and high speeds in a catamaran. The FCS is a 20 foot, all carbon catamaran with curved J-shaped main foils and long T-shaped rudders that lift the boat completely out of the water while sailing, greatly reducing friction between the boat and the water and raising the top speed the boat can achieve. It is not uncommon to average 25kts while sailing downwind with the spinnaker hoisted and exceeding 30kts on a run with just the main and jib. I have become quite comfortable sailing this boat on the foils and will use this experience to help my teammates progress.

The M32 has provided an excellent training platform for teams preparing for the Youth America's Cup. These boats are 32 feet long, approximately 18 feet wide, close to 1000lbs, fully carbon fiber, and are sailed with only a mainsail, furling gennaker, and 4-5 crew. They are also the same boats currently used on the World Match Racing Tour. We have used the M32 to work out team dynamics, try out new sailors, build endurance and strength outside the gym, and learn new tactics. The courses we sail during M32 regattas are nearly the same as those used in the America's Cup, allowing us to learn how to handle these unique tactical situations in a big fleet of catamarans. Reaching starts, upwind gates, and a revised set of sailing rules have made the racing all the more intense and fast paced.

The Young Guns
My first event on the M32 was the New York Yacht Club Race Week, where I put together a team of crew members who I have raced with or against in different boats throughout my career. After 3 long days of practice before the event and 4 days of the regatta we finished in 2nd overall, which was an outstanding finish for our young team and me as the skipper. Race Week was an amazing experience that would not have been possible without the help of 13Fifty Racing and M32 North America.

Next began a tour of the midwest and the first stop was Harbor Springs, Michigan where I intended to race on Escape Velocity, a privately owned M32 on which my BU coach sails. Unfortunately, during the practice day before the event I sprained my ankle and was not able to walk well for several days. This took me out of the racing, but even with only 4 crew members the Escape Velocity team sailed very well through the event. I spent that week on various support and mark boats, taking notes on both EV's and 13Fifty's performance. Since I couldn't sail I made the most of my time off the boat by learning from observing racing as well as sharing notes with my teammates to help them improve.

Following the Harbor Springs regatta I made a quick trip back to Boston in order to catch up with missed summer class work before heading to Wayzata, Minneapolis. At this venue I worked as part of 13Fifty Racing with the World Match Racing Tour to host a match racing expedition event on Lake Minnetonka. We assembled two M32s, attended several sponsor-hosted events, interviewed with local and regional news programs, took VIPs out for rides, spoke with junior sailors at the youth sailing center, and put on a show for the locals with eight match races. The goal of the event was to help set up a tour stop in Wayzata, beginning with a qualifying event, to bring more high performance racing to Lake Minnetonka, and to show younger sailors one pathway into professional sailing. The event was a huge success and I really enjoyed the time we spent there. The hospitality and support from the locals, sailors or non-mariners, made the event as fun as it was and I am looking for the next opportunity to return to the lake soon.

After missing nearly half of my classes this summer term I have to spend a week here in Boston to get caught up. Fortunately, I have kept up with the work and will finish strongly. Next weekend I will be competing in the US Team Racing Championship for the Hinman Trophy with a group of Tufts sailors. This will be a very challenging event and will help prepare me for team racing in the Spring college sailing season. The following week the BUDS will be reuniting in Newport for preseason practice where we will focus on getting more open water experience in 420s. At the end of that week I will resume my college academic and sailing schedule, but will continue working with 13Fifty Racing in our challenge for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup.

Springtime Sailing

The Spring school semester has finished and now I can focus solely on sailing. This was one of the most difficult semesters for me so far as I began taking more advanced classes within the engineering curriculum. However, I enjoyed these challenges and gained a good understanding of core engineering principles, especially in thermodynamics and the kinetics and kinematics of bodies in motion. I have begun looking ahead at course materials for next semester as I will be taking my first class towards a minor in materials science.

The BU sailing team reached many successes this spring season and despite not qualifying for the Team Racing National Championship we did qualify for the Women's National Championship and the Co-ed National Championship. All three of these events will be held in San Diego and the Co-ed Championship will be raced in 2 parts: semi-finals from May 31-June 1 and the finals from June 2-3. In order to qualify for the Co-ed National Championship we had to place in the top 9 at our own New England Conference Championship which was raced at Dartmouth. With no racing on Saturday due to a lack of wind, we had to squeeze in four races in light conditions on Sunday and I placed 3rd in A division, helping our team reach a 2nd overall finish. We were rewarded for our hard work all season at the awards ceremony where our head coach Stan Schreyer was named NEISA coach of the year. We also had 2 members of our team named 2nd team all-NEISA crews and I was named a 2nd team all-NEISA skipper. These accomplishments show how our team is quickly rising through the ranks and becoming one of the strongest in college sailing.

2nd team all-NEISA skippers

In order to practice for the National Championships our team is spending two full weeks sailing out of Cottage Park Yacht Club in Winthrop, MA. We towed our boats down the river and through the locks, rigged them at Courageous Sailing Center, and sailed them around Logan Airport to the club. Sailing out on the harbor provides us many training opportunities that could not be had on the river. We can spend much more time speed testing and fine tuning our boat settings to maximize speed and pointing ability as we have much more space to sail in a straight line. We can also practice judging laylines and making tactical decisions in current. Finally, and arguably the most significant point of all, we can sail in more consistent wind conditions. On the river we have large city obstructions causing large variations in wind direction, but out in the harbor we have a more consistent sea breeze and smoother land masses. The Tufts sailing team has joined our practices and this is very helpful as it allows us to sail all 18 boats and simulate real regatta conditions in a competitive fleet.

After Nationals I will be returning home to Florida for a short time before driving back North. I will be taking a summer class during the second session in order to stay on track with my degree and on weekends will be racing in the F18 circuit like last year. My goals for this summer include gaining more experience on foiling catamarans, Marstrom 32, and in kiteboarding. I will place links to the event page of the National Championships at the bottom of this post when they become available.

BU Sailing Team Facebook page

New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Facebook page

Intercollegiate Sailing Association Facebook page

Shot from the Tradwinds Regatta in January.

Winters in Florida

Another academic semester has come to a close and now I am back in the sunshine state sailing catamarans on the clear, warm waters of the Sarasota Bay. Spending winter break home in Florida always provides a nice break from the cold and busy city of Boston and allows me to get some color back in my skin before I head back up for the Spring semester near the end of January. This last semester went by quickly, but a lot happened between August and December. Sailing and school kept me quite busy during the week so when the sailing season finally ended I made sure to take more trips into the city and around Boston.

During the sailing season I was able to practice 3 of our 4 scheduled days during the week and sailed a regatta every weekend, taking one Sunday off near the end of the season on a lighter competition weekend. Sailing this much has helped the entire team improve and this can be seen in our season's results. We earned top finishes and wins at many events including the Fall New England Championship at the Schell Trophy. This was a big accomplishment for us as it shows we have great potential for the Spring season and how our team is growing in strength. We may travel South to some regattas in February and March as the Charles River will most likely be frozen over and our next major event on our calendars is the Spring break trip to Miami where we spend a full week practicing on Biscayne Bay. This will be a very productive week for us as it was last year and will help us knock the rust off as we prepare for the next sailing season.

Balancing sailing and classes was tough like usual, but I made it work and ended the semester maintaining high grades. I am close to finishing the general engineering prerequisites and am excited to begin taking more specialized classes. In one of my classes this past semester I finally got into a shop to build parts and use machines, something I always love to do. As the classes get more interesting and specialized they will continue to get harder and creating the proper balance between sailing and school will become even more difficult, but this is a challenge I am always ready to tackle.

Now that I am back in Florida I have been sailing as much as I can and plan to do the Tradewinds Regatta again this year in Islamorada before school begins on the 19th. Below I have listed an ad for the F16 Viper that I have for sale. Please contact me if you know of anyone who would be interested in this boat.

F16 Viper for sale

Summer of School and Sailing

I finally returned home to Florida last week to take a much needed break from the rush of classes and sailing. I had just completed my final regatta for the summer and finished my third summer class, freeing my schedule up significantly. It was nice to come home and see visiting relatives as well as my immediate family all at once. After spending a week at home I traveled back up North and am currently in Oyster Bay, NY training on foiling carbon Nacra 20 FCS, loving the entire experience.

BU campus during summer.
Earlier this summer I began taking a few classes at BU, staying after my spring semester had ended. After studying during the day I often sailed out of MIT or BU's boat houses in order to keep fresh and get out on the Charles River. On the weekends I competed in many regattas, borrowing boats from friends and traveling around to some of New England's many sailing venues. One weekend a few of my college sailing teammates and I drove down to Annapolis for a team racing event, which provided a nice opportunity to work on skills we learned during the year and see friends from other schools. This summer brought many new sailing experiences, including my first distance race in a catamaran. The Statue Race, held on the 4th of July, began at Sandy Hook, NJ and led us around the Statue of Liberty and back to the finish line, a total of 19 miles. With wind conditions ranging from zero to 15 knots and sunshine to pouring rain, this shorter distance race was full of challenges and I will definitely be sailing in it again. None of this would have been possible without the help of many friends in sailing: a huge thank you to Ryan Epprecht and his family as well as Mike Easton and Tripp Burd for lending their boats for many of this summer's events and to Jim Zellmer, Brendon Scanlon, Brian Firth, and other sailing friends for helping with other event details.

Now at the end of the summer I am focusing on training in the foiling catamarans before I head back to school to resume college sailing and classes. These boats are extremely fun and are among the fastest sailboats on the water, flying above it most of the time. The learning curve has been quite steep and initially there was a bit of a fear hurdle to overcome, but after a few more days on the boat and some building confidence it has become easier to push the boat harder and reach higher speeds. Crew work on this catamaran is different than others I have sailed in the past with tacking boards, constantly adjusting foil rake, and the rapid speed changes, but these challenges have elicited harder work and a much more rewarding sailing experience. Foiling is the future of high performance sailing and I am happy to be involved, I will be posting a video of sailing the foiling catamaran later this week.

I will be returning back to Boston soon and moving into my new housing accommodations. Classes this year will be more difficult, but I am ready to learn even more both in the classroom and on the water.

View from the Statue Race.
Ronstan Rocket at Newport Regatta.

Weight training in Oyster Bay.

Foiling catamaran training.

Finishing Up Freshman Year

These past few months have been jammed full with classes, sailing, and college life. Now that summer has come I have much more free time to continue working on this website. The spring semester began after I returned to Boston from winter break. When I landed I was greeted by fresh layers of snow covering the ground and a frozen Charles River. Little did I now that my first winter in Boston would set records in snowfall and missed class days due to hazardous weather. We had a total of 5 snow days and even though they were a nice break from classes and a totally novel experience for me, I still missed being out on the river! The Boston University Dinghy Sailors (BUDS), myself included, made a few trips South to venues such as the College of Charleston and Jacksonville University for intersectional regattas. We spent our spring break training in Miami and returned to the city with some color in our skin, drawing envy from our northern friends.

We finally broke off the ice and headed out on the river in late March and as the weather warmed up we quickly returned to our regular practice schedule. The spring sailing season was shorter than the fall, but not any less packed with action and excitement. In addition to regular fleet racing style regattas I competed in some team racing events and even one sport boat promo on a J-70. Sailing on this boat and in the different style of racing provided a nice break from the typical college racing format and helped me work on skills that could be used across sailing disciplines.

Light wind practice on the river.
J-70 regatta at Coast Guard Acad.

Shoveling snow off our boat!
The BUDS ended the season at the New England Championship, our conference championship where teams qualified to compete at the National Championship. I had the opportunity to sail in 4 races in the B division and learned a lot during my short time on the water. I experienced what competing with our district's best sailors was like and could clearly see what elements of my own sailing needed the greatest attention. At the end of the regatta we missed qualifying by 3 points, but despite this loss I feel as though we grew stronger as a team. My biggest takeaway from this event was the importance of a team mindset, something I was not accustomed to when I first joined the BUDS. With all the lessons and morals learned this semester we will come back as a much stronger team next season and are ready to race our competition!

Academics have been going well so far. I was named to the Dean's List in the College of Engineering for both semesters and am taking more classes during the summer. The engineering curriculum is exhausting and I am enjoying the challenge. The courses will get progressively more difficult, but I will continue to work hard and am excited to learn much more about the mechanical world around us.

This summer in addition to taking classes at BU I will be racing in the northeast F18 circuit. So far I have sailed in the Madison Regatta and the Wickford Regatta, placing first in both with my regular F18 crew Sam Armington and we are making plans to sail together in the Hyannis Regatta later this summer. The summer weather in New England is perfect for sailing and we want to get as much time on the water up here as we can!

Racing at College of Charleston.
Volvo Ocean Race in Newport, RI.

Nacra F20 Carbon FCS sailing in Miami on Spring Break.

Post season practice with Tufts.

First Semester of College

It has been quite some time since I last posted on here, but I have been very busy in school and now as my classes are drawing to an end I have more free time and can publish more content.

Since my last post I have attended three months of school and even though this is a short period of time the transition from high school to college has been quite drastic. Academics have become much more challenging. Even though I am only taking four classes, it is still quite difficult to keep up with the course work and perform well on exams. Sailing while in school adds another level of difficulty to this task and now my time management and efficiency skills are really being put to the test. This first semester has been physically exhausting as well. After attending classes during the day, I spent my afternoons practicing as a member of the BU sailing team on the Charles River. Sailing took up the majority of my free time and on the weekends we were traveling to regattas around New England. Even though this schedule led to several late nights of studying or returning from regattas, this past semester has been very rewarding and I have created priceless memories with the new friends I have made at school.

Sailing on a collegiate team is a very unique experience. Even though I have only competed for one semester, I have still learned a great deal about who I am as a sailor and how to succeed in this type of sailing environment. Throughout this first semester I sailed at numerous venues, including:

Maine Maritime Academy
University of Vermont
University of New Hampshire
Mass Maritime Academy
Tufts University
Salve Regina University

We spent a few Wednesdays practicing on the Upper Mystic Lake at Tufts leading up to our freshman championship, the Nickerson Trophy, which was also held at Tufts. In addition to these practices, we frequently sailed on the east side of the Mass Ave Bridge with MIT, Harvard, and Northeastern. These practices were sailed in very large fleets and training with these schools provided us with more experience sailing in larger fleets. We practice regularly in the standard FJ, but some of this fall's regattas were held in other boats such as Fireflies, Larks, 420s, and Z420s.

A view from the Charles River.

Now that the fall sailing season has ended, I am using the majority of my free time to stay up to date with my studies and to explore Boston. It's starting to get cold and we've had a few days with snow so I'm hoping my Floridian blood thickens quickly! I'll be returning home for winter break in a few weeks and by that time I'll be in dire need of a break from the cold. It's shocking to think this semester is almost over, but there is still much to come in the few weeks left and I will be making the most of my time in one of the greatest cities in the world.

First regatta at Maine Maritime A.
Regatta win at Mass Maritime A.

Sailing F18s in Rye, NY.
Fireflies at MIT.

Larks at Tufts.

Last regatta of the season and a win at Salve.

The Beginning

As the summer has drawn to a close, big changes have taken place in my life. I have now packed up the catamarans, said goodbye to my friends back home, and moved on to college at Boston University. This change will also bring several new opportunities.

I left Florida for Boston a week before my classes began in order to do some pre-season practicing with the BU Sailing Team, aka the BUDS. During this week we've spent several days on the water and had the opportunity to sail in both open water conditions in Marblehead, MA as well as in protected waters at our home venue of the Charles River. I have learned a lot of new skills and refined some older ones in this short period of time; this is an indicator of how much our team as a whole will progress throughout the year. Our first regatta is in two weeks after the beginning of class.

As a new student to BU and a freshman on the sailing team, I was initially quite intimidated by what I thought were the expectations of the upperclassmen. However, the BUDS have approached all the new freshmen with open arms and have really made us feel at home at BU. This team is going to make sailing at BU one of the most memorable experiences of my life.