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.

Interviews with the Lead Pack

I recently found this article on the United States Formula 18 Association website about an interview from the F18 Americas Championship last year. Apparently I now have the nickname Ravi "The Young Gun" Parent! The original article can be found here. The USF18 class site has excellent organization and sections for viewing ads, tuning tips, purchasing F18 merchandise, and other related subjects.

Interviews with the lead pack: Ravi (The Young Gun) Parent

What is (are) your name(s), and where do you sail?
Ravi Parent, I sail in Sarasota, FL on the Sarasota Bay.

How long have you been sailing F18s?
RP:  I have been sailing F18's for 3 years now, starting in the middle of my freshman year in high school.

Did you do anything special to prepare for the 2013 F18 Americas Championship?
RP:  I trained twice a week in multihulls, F18s and F18s, and two additional days in monohulls in order to perfect boat-handling maneuvers and learn the wind patterns of the bay. I also train [in the gym] 6 days a week in order to keep myself in peak physical condition which proved helpful on the windy days. Over the summer I traveled to three high caliber multihull regattas in order to gain big line starting experience, battle against other top teams, and re-learn wind patterns in different venues.

What do you think was the biggest factor in your success in Sarasota?
RP:  My time spent consistently practicing in the boat prior to the event was the biggest factor in my success in Sarasota. I mastered fast boat-handling techniques and limited my mistakes in the boat which helped me hold consistently fast boatspeed on all parts of the course.

The Americas Championship was a 17 race event with conditions from 5-25 knots. How did you manage to have success over such a broad range of conditions?
RP:  I had prepared in all these conditions prior to the event. I gained big wind and wave experience in regattas over the summer and was comfortable in these conditions. I knew what needed to be done on the race course and took each race one at a time. I was in a disadvantage on the windy days as I was a light team, but I focused on my strengths during the races, upwind and downwind angle rather than speed, and used these to my advantage. I positioned myself on the start and around other boats in a way that took full advantage of these strengths.

What was the most memorable regatta moment for you?
RP:  My most memorable regatta moment was winning the final race of the regatta. The actual winning of the race wasn't the most significant part for me, but actually the combination of all the right moves my teammate and I made during that race. Our decisions during the race displayed the results of our persistent training and showed that all our hard work paid off when we were able to nail the start, maintain fast boatspeed, and call the correct shifts on the course. Winning this race showed me that hard work truly does pay off and that I am capable of achieving my desired results through all this hard work and preparation.

Every event has difficult moments. What was yours, and how did you overcome that setback?
RP:  My difficult moments occurred on the windiest day of the regatta, Wednesday. I was a light team and knew I would not have the boatspeed advantage on this day. In order to overcome this setback I chose to take each race, even each leg of the race, one moment at a time and focus on how I could make the best of each situation on the race course for my ability in the boat. I pushed as hard as I could and maintained decent race results, kept a positive attitude, and reminded myself that there were many more races left in the regatta for us to regain positions on the scoreboard.

If you could get a redo for one sailing mistake during the week, what would it be? What would you do differently?
RP:  I would have started more conservatively during race 3 of the regatta. Unfortunately I was scored OCS during this race which I had actually won and if I had started more conservatively and made sure I was not over early I would have had the same chance to win the race and would not have used one of my race discards, placing my points closer to that of the competitors in third place on the final day of racing.

For new teams just getting into F18 sailing, what would be your biggest piece of advice?
RP:  Spend as much time as you can perfecting your boat-handling and boatspeed before events. It is important to perfect these aspects of racing so you can forget about them while you are actually on the race course. If you are able to maintain fast boatspeed with limited boat-handling errors, you will be able to devote more time and energy to analyzing the wind conditions and predicting shifts.

I do not own the content of this article. It can be sourced to the USF18 Class Association and the original article can be found here.

F18 Americas Championship

This past week I chose to miss four days of school in order to take advantage of a unique opportunity. The F18 Americas Championship was held out of my local sailing club, the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, and I decided to miss school in order to compete. Prior to this event I spent two days a week practicing with Sam, my teammate, perfecting our boathandeling maneuvers and boatspeed. We had spent a large amount of time training in the F16 before the summer so the transition to the F18 was not too drastic; however this larger boat is much more powerful so we had to alter our mark roundings and depowering techniques to accommodate this increase in power.

I started out the week of racing by competing in the annual Buzzelli Multihull Rendezvous. This regatta served as the Stiletto Nationals and a great warm up for the upcoming Americas Championship. We had eight boats registered for the F18 fleet but around fifteen boats raced on our course. We were able to get five races off on Saturday but on Sunday we were unable to get any races off due to a lack of wind. The sea breeze fought the remains of a front for the entire day, creating glass water and cloudless skies. Fortunately we had a several top finishes in the races that were sailed and we finished this regatta in first place.

Tuesday was the first day of racing for the Zhik F18 Americas Championship and the conditions were similar to those in the Buzzelli Multihull Rendezvous. We had light wind for the first four races of the regatta and we took wins in two of these four races, but unfortunately we were OCS in race 3. This score became one of our discarded races for the regatta and hurt us initially in the overall results. Wednesday brought completely different conditions than what we had raced in the previous days. Another cold front caused a rapid drop in temperature overnight and created a strong frontal breeze consistently blowing in the upper teens that lasted up until Saturday morning. We made and achieved our goal for the windy races: finish within the top fifteen in order to remain in contention for a spot within the top five. We were not the fastest boat out on the race course on the windier days, but we used our local knowledge and tactical experience to keep us in the front of the pack. We made several mistakes during these races, including beginning races with second row starts and not capitalizing on our gains in the fleet while we could; however we quickly learned and saw consistent improvements throughout the regatta.

Video is the property of Sam Greenfield. Thank you for putting this great video together for us! It truly highlights what youth multihull sailing is all about!

Saturday presented more light wind conditions in the Sarasota Bay. We got one final race off to end the regatta and Sam and I were able to put all the pieces together and pull off a win. This race moved us up from fifth place to fourth and we ended the regatta as the second junior team which included sailors aged 23 and younger, third American team, and fourth place overall.

This regatta taught me many lessons over the course of a whole week. I learned how to manage a large catamaran fleet as we had 56 boats out on the course. Managing a big catamaran fleet uses different tactics than the management of a large dinghy fleet; boatspeeds are much higher and it is slow to make several tacks to cover the fleet. I learned how to get first row starts on a long starting line in a big fleet and how to pace myself during a long and tiresome regatta, especially while on the starting line. One single bad start, such as our one OCS of the regatta in race three, makes it much more difficult to finish in the top of a large fleet. This race initially put us out of the top ten, but through hard work and persistence on the race course we were able to work ourselves back into the top five. Seventeen races also take a toll on a sailor both mentally and physical by the last day of an event and it is important to use free time between races and while off the water to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each day so improvements can be made. This entire week was a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete in this regatta against world renown sailors at my home venue and I am glad I chose to take four days off from school for this event. It is commonly said that having the home field advantage helps, but our results at this regatta show how much we have been training and how this hard work pays off.

The full regatta site is here.

Results for the regatta can be seen here.

Pictures taken by Tim Wilkes here.

All regatta reports from Scuttlebutt can be found here.

All of the regatta videos from each day can be seen here. posted several reports about the event that can be found below:
Day 1 Report
Day 2 Report
Day 3 Report
Day 4 Report
Catsailingnews Final Report
Final Report by Annie Gardner

The Remainder Of This Year

The beginning of my final academic school year of high school has arrived and with that also comes an increase in my workload. Since I am enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program I have a different set of graduation and diploma requirements than the typical high school student. IB students must complete projects called Internal Assessments in each of our classes throughout the school year. IB students are also required to write an Extended Essay over summer. I won't go into details about each of these assignments but it is fair to say that they have taken up the majority of my free time. Fortunately, I am still able to sail several days a week if I budget my time according to my schedule. Over the next few months I am planning on racing in several high caliber regattas, including the F18 America's Championship that will be held at my home club, the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Prior to this event is the Buzzelli Multihull Rendezvous which is a smaller event in memory of an avid multihull sailor. These events will provide world class competition and I am excited to meet, sail against, and learn from this competition.

I will continue to keep you updated on my sailing and life experiences!

The regatta site for the 2013 F18 America's Championship is here.

2013 US Youth Championship

After sending in an application a few month's ago, I finally heard back from US Sailing yesterday and found out that I was accepted to compete at the US Youth Sailing Championship! This summer one of my teammates, Nico Schultz, and I will travel to the racing venue at Corpus Christi, TX and sail against stiff competition from around the country. This event is also one of the two that qualify full youth teams for the 2014 ISAF Youth World Championship. In order to attain the privilege of represent the United States in Portugal next year, the best youth team in the country will have to come out on top of the other competing youth teams at this event and another later in the year, which will most likely be the Orange Bowl in Miami. I'm excited that I have the opportunity to race against some of the best competition in the country this summer as it will help me gear up for other big events that I am planning on attending later this year, especially the F18 America's Championship that will be held in our very own Sarasota, FL.

Spring Break!

Ahhh, a much-needed change from the tedious routine of school has finally arrived. And what better way to spend it than sailing in one of the country's best venues? It's over a week into March and while the northern states are enduring snow and cold weather us Floridians are still able to spend time at the beach and walk around in shorts and flip flops. While the tourists who plague our streets are heading to the beaches and shops, I am driving down to the Sarasota Sailing Squadron to continue practicing and enjoying time out on the water. This time off from school allows me to catch up on some maintenance work and implement new setups on the boat that I wouldn't have the time to try out during the regular school schedule. This week is going to be very productive! I also got the chance to visit my teammate Sam at his father's shop where he is finishing up his new A-Class catamaran build. He and another teammate both built their own boats and regularly update their blog with news of their endeavors. The beauty of multihull sailing in Sarasota is that we are able to compete with a wide variety of different designs in many different classes. We have Falcon F16s and F18s, APHC boats, a Hobie Wildcat, Nacra F18s, and now A-Class catamarans all in the same venue on a daily basis! Come out and join us when you can!

Nacra Infusion MK2
Falcon F18

AHPC Viper
Falcon F16

F18 North Americans

The 2013 Formula 18 North American Championship is going to be held in the beautiful Sarasota Bay. There couldn't be a better venue for this event! We have clear water, sandy beaches, reliable wind with the trusty sea breeze in the afternoon, and the option to sail in both the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It's going to be exciting seeing hundreds of high performance catamaran sailors all in one place. The weekend before the event is the annual Buzzelli Multihull Rendezvous, a local memorial regatta for Bob Buzzelli, which will serve as a warm up for the championship in the following week. This event is going to be full of the best sailors competing at our home venue and will show the locals of the Sarasota-Bradenton area what sailing is all about!

The best venue for sailing!

Home Improvement?

Having the F18 at home has given me a great opportunity to work on some new setups on the boat, including a continuous cunningham and a better in-beam retrieval system. Today, after setting the boat up in the yard and working on these setups, I derigged the entire boat and loaded it on the trailer. I'm planning on attending the Thanksgiving Regatta in Davis Island this weekend so the boat will be on the road again soon!
A link to the regatta site here.

The Long Ride Home

We started our long drive home this past Monday and ended up stopping in Maryland near the D.C. area to visit some of my relatives. While we were there we saw some pretty neat landmarks, including the White House, the Washington Monument, and we even got to visit the International Spy Museum. Later on in the week we resumed our drive back home to Florida, stopping near Savannah, GA for a break Wednesday night, and arrived home on Thursday. After driving to Brant Beach, NJ last summer and Kemah, TX  the summer before that (both for Laser North Americans) this drive didn't seem too bad!