2014 ISAF Youth Worlds Qualifier

My teammate Nico Schultz and I have been officially named to the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds Team and will be sailing in this event in Tavira, Portugal. This summer Nico and I will travel to Europe, meet up with ten other sailors that will also be representing Team USA, and compete in the most prestigious youth sailing event in the world. Each country that is able to support a team sends sailors to race in different boats including the Laser, I420, 29er, RS:X, and SL16. This will be my second year at the event and I will bring experience as well as a matured perspective that will hopefully be of benefit to all members of Team USA.

In order to qualify to be a member of this selective team, Nico and I competed at two qualifying events over this past year to demonstrate our commitment and skill in the multihull class. The first event, the US Youth Sailing Championship, took place during August in Corpus Christi, TX and presented us with rough sailing conditions and 15-20 knot winds every day. The second event, held during January in Miami, FL, differed from the first as we sailed in a mixed fleet of F16s and Nacra 17s and had more diverse atmospheric conditions. The members of Team USA were then chosen based on the combined results from the two regattas. This two-part qualification system gave sailors a chance to race at two venues and in different weather conditions, truly forcing consistency in racing results.

2013 US Youth Sailing Championship

Training was absolutely essential to our success in these two regattas. We spent our time in the months leading up to both events sailing F16s, F18s, Club and High School 420s, and various keelboats in order to gain experience racing against the level of competition we expect to face in Tavira. Of course it is essential to perfect boathandeling and speed in our specific class; however, we understood the importance of becoming well rounded athletes and did not limit ourselves to only multihulls. In addition to spending time sailing, we performed boat maintenance to make sure our equipment would function properly in use and improved our physical fitness by exercising regularly in the gym. Sailing is a physically demanding sport and as regattas are typically held over several days muscular endurance allows sailors to remain strong throughout an event.

A view of downtown Miami.

Now it is time for us to focus on the path that lies ahead. Nico and I are planning on attending several regattas in the near future, including the F16 World Championship. In late June F16 sailors of all ages from around the world will travel to Newport, RI and race in a five day regatta. The winners will become the new F16 World Champions and the top team from the United States will be named the F16 National Champion and take ownership of the perpetual trophy Sam and I claimed in Racine, WI last summer. Even though we will not be sailing together for this event, Nico and I will be able to use the experience gained from sailing in Newport and apply it to the Youth Worlds. We are both ready to display our hard work and commitment to our sport at upcoming regattas and I am especially excited about having a second opportunity to represent my country in Europe this summer.

To read the full press release on the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds Team click here.

To read the full press release on the 2014 US Sailing Development Team click here.

National Champions

This past weekend Sam Armington and I sailed up in Racine, Wisconsin competing at the 2013 Formula 16 National Championship and after four long days and fourteen grueling races we came out on top of the competition! We won seven of the fourteen races which gave us a decent buffer early on in the regatta and which gave us one simple task for the remainder of the regatta: hold that lead. The conditions were excellent, race management was very efficient on and off the water, and the locals of the venue embraced us traveling sailors with a warm welcome.

For the first three days of the regatta we were greeted by a northerly breeze that ran near parallel to the shore that later shifted farther to the right, reducing the effect the land had on our race course. The wind strength was within the range of 5-10 knots while we were racing, yet we still had a large amount of swell build up. This provided interesting conditions that allowed for surfing waves both upwind and downwind. Consistently high boatspeed was a key factor that helped keep Sam and I up in the front of the pack and once we were up there it turned into a battle between the top boats.

On the final day of the regatta we had a significantly stronger breeze, ranging from 10 knots to gusts in the upper teens, that was from the opposite direction, the South. The chop quickly built up and made for some fun mark roundings, downwind legs, and spectacular wipeouts by a few of the competitors. After the final day's racing we took the boats completely apart and loaded the trailer, preparing it for its long trip to Corpus Christi.

This regatta had a great turnout of competitors with a large amount of the F16 sailors within the youth age bracket. We also had a team travel all the way from Europe to compete with us. Gunnar Larsen decided to join us this weekend and he helped bring the level of competition up a notch. I learned a lot this past weekend both on and off the water, however Gunnar brought to my attention the importance of still having fun in the midst of all the competitive racing. Without having fun athletes end up hitting plateaus and brick walls in their careers that they cannot overcome.

This regatta would not have been possible without many people who help organize transportation, housing, and the regatta itself. A huge thank you goes to the Chu family for housing not only myself but over a dozen other sailors this past week. Also, without the coordination and organization of Red Gear Racing I would not have had a boat to use at this event nor would I even have come to this event. Jim Zellmer, my multihull coach in Sarasota, also plays a huge part in my development as a sailor and as an individual and without him I would not be where I am now in my sailing career. And, of course, nothing I do in my life would be possible without the help and support of my family. I have one more regatta this summer before school starts: the US Youth Championship in Corpus Christi, TX. Time to gear up for that event

Preparing for a mark rounding in heavy breeze.

Heading upwind on the practice day.

The final results.
After browsing a few of the sailing websites that I regularly check up on I discovered that catsailingnews.com and the US F18 class website both included reports about this past weekend's event. If you have a moment check out these articles as they provide a different perspective and additional information about the F16 National Championship/Central Coast Championship.

Catamaran Racing, News and Design

US Formula 18 Association website

Also, if you have not already seen this site, the actual regatta site had several daily reports about the weekend's racing. C4 Regatta Site

During the 2013 F16 Nationals one of the media reporters came over to the sailors who had just arrived on shore after each day's racing and interviewed the top teams. Here's what we all had to say!

Interview from day 2

Interview from day 3

Interview from day 4

Welcome to Wisconsin

On Monday I flew into the airport in Milwaukee and drove over to Racine where the 2013 F16 National Championship is going to take place. I spent my first day here rigging the boat from the ground up as I previously had to take it completely apart to load it into Red Gear Racing's trailer. On my second day I finally hit the water and was greeted by icy chills when we pulled the boat down the launch ramp. The one thing I will never get used to here is the how cold Lake Michigan's waters are compared to Florida's. It is definitely a necessity to have cold weather gear here year round. Racing starts Friday and it looks as though we are going to have a competitive fleet here that consists primarily of youth sailors but also some veterans who have countless nautical miles under their belts. It'll be interesting to see how this weekend plays out!