Dec. 13, 2017

Report: U.S. Competing at Youth World Mid-Regatta

 

Sanya, China – With three days of racing complete at the 2017 Youth World Championships in Sanya, China (December 11-16), 14 Americans are in the midst of intense racing against 360 other competitors from 60 nations at the world’s premier junior sailing event. U.S. sailors currently lead two fleets (Girls Laser Radial, Girls I420), stand in third in Boys I420, are battling in the top-10 in three other classes (Nacra 15, Boys Laser Radial, Boys 29er) and are third in the standings of the highly coveted Nations Trophy, which honors overall national performance. Closing ceremonies will be held Friday, Dec. 15.

“I am really pleased and proud with the effort of our athletes and coaches here in Sanya so far this week,” said Leandro Spina, Olympic Development Director at US Sailing and U.S. Team Leader for the event. “We have seen very difficult conditions so far, and our sailors have raced very well. Our team is focused on finishing the event as strong as possible, and also on improving as athletes against some of the best competition in youth sailing. This is my 6th year serving as Team Leader, and the level of our sailors is truly getting better every year. This can be seen from the results. People should be excited about the future of high performance sailing in the U.S.”

The battle for the podium should be fascinating to watch as the event comes to a conclusion, and the Houston, Texas native, Charlotte Rose hopes to return to her home state, host venue of the 2018 Youth Worlds, with some hardware.

Joseph Hou (Newport Beach, Calif.) is in 7th overall in the Boys Laser Radial, but is firmly in the hunt with only 14 points separating himself from third place with three races remaining in the series.

In the Girls 420, Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) have been the regatta leaders since Day 2, and hardly let their foot off the gas on Wednesday on their way to a 2, 2. Since coming out on the wrong side of a protest on Day 1, the identical twins from New York have not had a finish worse than second in the highly competitive 25 boat fleet. 12 points separate them from the pack. France and Italy are the closest teams, with three races remaining.

The Boys 420 team of Thomas Rice (Garden City, N.Y.) and Trevor Bornath (Stuart, Fla.) are in 3rd position overall but tied on points (22) with Australia. Both teams are only six behind the leaders from Israel. Rice and Bornath have been remarkably consistent all week, and have yet to record a double-digit score.

In the Nacra 15 multihull, Mark Brunsvold (Sarasota, Fla.) and Dylan Heinz (Sarasota, Fla.) have eight top-10 scores in nine races, and sit in 5th overall.

“Racing at the Youth Worlds, and being the only American boat, is kinda cool to think about,” said Brunsvold. “It makes you try harder, and makes you want to win more.”
 
Neil Marcellini (Lafayette, Calif.) and Ian Brill (San Diego, Calif.) are sitting in 8th overall, and continue to fight hard in the top-10 of the Boys 29er class. First-time Youth Worlds competitor Marcellini and returning Youth Worlds medalist Brill have flashed top-level speed this week, with five single-digit scores in nine races, and will look for more consistency to close out the event.

In the Girls’s 29er, Berta Puig (Key Biscayne, Fla.) and Charlotte Mack (Stuart, Fla.) crossed the finish line in the lead in Race 7 on Wednesday, only to discover that they had been UFD-flagged for crossing the starting line an instant too early. Nevertheless, Puig and Mack, who currently sit in 16th overall, said they were encouraged by their day. “Overall I’d say it’s getting better, though today was rough [with the UFD flag],” said Mack, who is in her first year as a student at the University of Miami. “We’re sailing against all girls, which is cool, because normally we’re a mixed fleet [in the 29er]. It’s pretty cool to be at the Youth Worlds, and it’s pretty charged up, but once you start racing it’s the same out there.”

In the RS:X, Steven Cramer (Miami Beach, Fla.) is in 17th overall, but said that his trip could hardly have been more valuable. “Everything here is just top-level and incredible,” said the Floridian. “I’ve learned so much in just the three days we’ve been competing,” said Cramer, echoing a sentiment shared by many sailors at the event. “It’s another level, and it’s much better [for learning] than even the [RS:X class] Worlds or Europeans. It’s one athlete per country, the best of the best, and everyone trains hard for this.”

Dominique Stater (who currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina) said that she has really appreciated the team atmosphere that surrounds the U.S. Youth Worlds team and coaches. Prior to the Youth Worlds, the team participated in multiple U.S.- based training camps organized by US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP). After arriving in China, American sailors have operated as a united team by sharing coaching, housing, transportation, meals and following a joint performance program.

“I think it’s great, and I’ve learned a lot in all of our meetings,” said Stater, who until recently lived in Bethesda, Maryland. “Every time I meet with a coach, or in a group, I learn a lot about what I can do to improve. Coming to this event is very motivating. It tells you what you are lacking, and what you need to work harder on. One thing I really wish is that more girls from the U.S. would start windsurfing.”

The coaching staff for the team is comprised of Leandro Spina, Steve Keen (Stamford, Conn.) and Rosie Chapman (Houston, Texas). Racing will continue until Friday, Dec. 15.

For more information, visit www.usasailing.org.