That’s how this story begins. With thirteen sailors.
Athletes who came together because the allure of the skiff. Thirteen with different backgrounds and success stories in other boat classes. A group that filled their summer with layovers, highway miles and hours at sea. Sailors who competed at events like IODA Worlds, Kieler Woche, US Youth Champs, 29er Nationals, c420 Nationals, and more have banded together to push themselves and the status quo of youth sailing.
This band of misfits strolled through the entrance of the US Sailing Center Miami toward water’s edge. Setting down their gear bags and stringing up the masts of the six high-powered sleds sitting beneath the flag pole. Like a pit of orchestral players tuning their instruments, rig tensions were set and sails hoisted. And the experiment began.
I have sought after the vision of this day for a year. Making phone calls, creating budgets, mapping regattas, and moving across the country to thread together the parties interested in the skiff. The biggest hurdle is creating an entry for sailors to try the boat. Lasers and 420s make sense. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and the path is clear. Sailors can connect the dots from point A to B.
Our goal is to create access to 29er sailing, offering try it out and drop in days for sailors to get a taste of the speed and excitement.
And also expand the regatta calendar to keep sailors hooked. This fall and leading into the spring we’ve got a local regatta series, including Naples Cup, Fall Ocean Regatta (MYC), and Open Orange Bowl. Along with MidWinter’s East after the new year and more in preparation for the 2017 29er Nationals and WORLDS in Long Beach, CA next summer. That’s all down the road.
This past weekend was about gathering together and establishing a structure for development. We fleeted 6 skiffs, a new record for our Miami based squad.
From this “ground zero” we build the plan for the entire season. I can’t wait to see what evolves from the diligent effort of these athletes.
THE ICING ON THE CAKE was sitting in on a talk from jedi master, Ed Baird, during the radial youth worlds team clinic at Miami YC this Sunday. Ed shared some incredible words of wisdom. Here are some of my notes on his talk:
Strategy Vs. Tactics: From pre-Start to 200 yard to top mark, sailor’s are in strategic sailing mode. “What’s the wind doing?, What side do I want to be on?, Where’s the next shift?”
200 yards to Mark, switch to tactical mode. What do I need to do to beat the 3-5 boats closest to me? Who can I push out past layline? Or cover? Or control in starboard/port situation?
Forecast & Plan Establish whether or not the breeze is “Stable” or “Unstable.” In stable breeze focus on finding clear air and maintain boat speed. In unstable conditions stay lifted. Leverage positions with winds shifting 10-15+ degrees very costly or rewarding.
Motivation Ed is involved in racing at the top of our sport. It takes big teams of numerous skilled people to execute successful TP52 and America’s Cup campaigns. Not everyone on these teams were great dinghy sailors or junior racers, some are great engineers or lawyers, but everyone has a skill and specific job they contribute to the team.
Words of Wisdom Don’t be distracted by things that aren’t going to make you go faster.