Michelle Slade

Outstanding Coach Lineup Preps Young Nacra Sailors

There’s nothing like being coached by the best, as StFYC junior sailor Charlotte Versavel can attest. On March 16-17, Versavel and other junior sailors attended the StFYC Nacra Clinic in almost-perfect early spring San Francisco conditions – warm days with blue skies and light breeze.

Four Nacras were on the water with coaching from Charlie Ogletree, Helena Scutt, Bryan Payne, Mike Martin and Craig Healy. Long delays waiting for wind extended into marathon chalk talks but enough time on the water to justify the exercise, reported Kimball Livingston, StFYC Junior Chair.

The clinic included two full days of training on the cityfront with coaches, guest speakers, and daily video debriefs.

“The Foundation supports many clinics including this one,” Versavel said. “These clinics are an incredible opportunity for us as sailors because we get the chance to be coached by incredible coaches. Jack (Sutter) and I learned so much – we feel as prepared as we can be going into Midwinters west.”


Michelle SladeOutstanding Coach Lineup Preps Young Nacra Sailors
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StFYC Juniors Ace Nacra 15 Midwinters East

By Kimball Livingston

Congratulations to Jack Sutter and Charlotte Versavel who took first place in the Nacra 15 Midwinters East (hosted by Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans, LA). The regatta is also the first installment of the youth worlds qualifier that will be hosted by StFYC in March in conjunction with the Spring Dinghy Regatta.

It’s been a journey. Jack and Charlotte have worked assiduously, believed earnestly, and never wavered from their commitments as team mates while growing through their middle-teen years (!). These are young people we are proud to claim as our own, even as we share them with our friends at Richmond Yacht Club. Coach Adam Corpuz-Lahn has been with them every step of the way, through regattas, clinics, broken parts and minor meltdowns, and by way of his involvement is now the Nacra 15 class president.

Kudos also to Pam Healy for her on-the-water coaching, life coaching, national-level politicking and relentless inspiration.

It was a one-point win. This is a time to celebrate, but not to rest. JJ Smith and Will Murray came on strong. They were unknowns to most of us, but a very little bit of online searching led me to say to myself, Self, I reckon if you’d been paying attention to youth sailing in Florida, you’d have known these names. I won’t need a manicure for a month . . .



Michelle SladeStFYC Juniors Ace Nacra 15 Midwinters East
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US Sailors Medal in Miami

Congratulations to U.S. athletes Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) and Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.), both St Francis Sailing Foundation grantees, who clinched bronze and silver medals respectively during their medal races at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami.

In the Finn class on the final day of racing, Muller began the race leading the pack but fell to the back of the fleet after taking some penalty turns on the first windward leg. Making a significant recovery, Muller was able to finish the race in fourth, earning him the bronze.

Railey started the final day of racing securely on the podium, sitting in second with thirteen points between her and the competitors both ahead and behind her. She held her position and finished the race with a claim to the silver medal in the Radial class. As the highest placing U.S. athlete, Paige also won the Golden Torch Award.

Twelve other U.S. athletes also made medal race appearances. Finishing shy of the podium, yet still proudly in the top 10 were: Charlie Buckingham (4th, Laser), Erika Reineke (6th, Laser Radial), Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (4th, Men’s 470), Atlantic Brugman and Nora Brugman (9th, Women’s 470), Bora Gulari and Louisa Chafee (8th, Nacra 17), Sarah Newberry and David Liebenberg (10th, Nacra 17), and Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (9th, 49erFX).

View full story & results

Paige Railey, US Sailing Team

Michelle SladeUS Sailors Medal in Miami
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StFSF Grantees Make Shortlist for 2018 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award

We’re excited to announce that two great athletes and StFSF grantees – Foilboarder Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) and Laser Radial sailor Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) – have been nominated for the 2018 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award! Well done Daniela and Paige!

Full story: https://www.ussailing.org/news/rolexyyawards2018-finalists/


Michelle SladeStFSF Grantees Make Shortlist for 2018 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award
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Ninety of the top 505 sailors on the planet came together to enjoy the solid wind and warm water of Fremantle, Australia during the 2019 SAP 505 World Championships. Despite the stacked fleet with Olympic Medalists, America’s Cup sailors and 10 previous World Champions, the Americans stole the show taking four of the top five places on the leaderboard. The 2019 title went to now four-time 505 World Champion Mike Martin and now two-time 505 World Champion Adam Lowry of St. Francis Yacht Club. Runner-up was the team of two-time previous World Champions Mike Holt from Santa Cruz, CA and Carl Smit from Annapolis, MD. Finishing off the podium was the team of Parker Shinn and Eric Anderson, both from San Francisco.

The California “Team Tuesday” formula seems to be working. Winners Martin and Lowry, and third place-overall finishers Shinn and Anderson, are training partners out of StFYC. Fifth-overall finishers Howard Hamlin of Long Beach and Jeff Nelson of Truckee and seventh place finisher Reeve Dunne (sailing with skipper Ian Pinnell) are also part of the program. For previous World Champion Hamlin, this event was his 40th Worlds as a competitor.

“Our ‘Team Tuesday’ training sessions out of the St. Francis really paid off. Training on the Cityfront every Tuesday prepared us for Fremantle conditions, particularly in the breeze,” said Martin. “Five of our training partners finished in the top seven, so it shows how important our training program was to our mutual success.”

Team Tuesday was founded by Martin and Hamlin in support of the American 505 class. Its goal is to help accelerate the preparation, learning and development of its participants as they prepare for nationals and world titles in the 505, and has included coaching support from Jay and Pease Glaser of Glaser Sails (three of this year’s top four competitors used Glaser Sails). Since its inception, it’s produced four world champions who have won a combined eight world championships. – Read on: https://tinyurl.com/y9cskzax

Images by Rick Stewart, Perth Sailing Photography 

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Paula LeRoy – Friend Extraordinaire

This past week the sailing community lost Paula LeRoy, a dear friend and devoted member of the St Francis Sailing Foundation. As the supportive wife of Founder and President Emeritus Bill LeRoy, Paula was involved with the Foundation since its inception in 1985. During the past fifteen years Paula worked tirelessly on fundraising campaigns for the Foundation. She and Bill organized the first Foundation fundraising event, a boat show at the StFYC harbor, a huge success and just the beginning of many events Paula was involved in, including each of our 14 auctions, organizing the silent auction displays and soliciting many unique auction items from her many friends in the yachting community. She served multiple years in roles of Director and subsequently Advisor, providing many creative ideas during her tenure. In 1993, Paula was honored as StFYC Yachtswoman of the Year.

Paula was a fun and funny person who will be sorely missed. She had many friends in our local sailing community. Paul Cayard, an early recipient of Foundation support as a junior member of the club in the early 80’s, later worked with Paula on many of the auctions and will remember her as loving and compassionate beyond words.

“Paula was a standout lady, smart, productive, dependable and a doer. She really loved her Bill and in his times of need, she was there for him in spades. They were an inspiring couple to the next generation.”

The LeRoys loved their sailing and raced several times to Hawaii on the Pac Cup. As Paul recalls, during the lead up to AmericaOne, they let the team try a scaled down version of its America’s Cup keel design on their SC 50 Gone with the Wind, a boat Paul bought 8 years later and raced the 2008 Pac Cup with his kids.

“Paula was just one of those people you were always happy to see. I will miss her.”

Bill Hoehler, Foundation Secretary/ Treasurer, will remember Paula not only as a force in her family, in her business and in our Foundation, but always as “Party Central”.

“She was upbeat with a “we can do it” attitude that was infectious and a joy to have on the team.”

Paula was a very good sailor and fearless; she was one of the first attendees of the US Sailing Woman’s Offshore Sailing Clinic. She skippered a women-only Tahiti cruise and always had room on her houseboat at Tinsley Island for Women’s Cruise attendees. Off the water, she taught countless friends to play mahjong. She was a peripatetic traveler and cruiser, she LOVED the Giants and Spring Training in Arizona, she was the grandmother supreme, and she created and sold a pension support business. Her contributions to the Foundation were constant and considerable. Some will remember that when money was being raised for the J/22 fleet, Paula would not let the team out of the room until everyone had pledged something. Not only was she fun and extremely generous, she was a perpetual source of out of the box ideas and had the organizational skills to make them happen.

We will miss her.

Michelle SladePaula LeRoy – Friend Extraordinaire
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Fast boats, high spirits = Girls High Performance Clinic

Report and photos: FAST USA  Staff

Two days, 24 girls, coach boats and safety boats and fast boats and high spirits, that was the Girls High Performance Clinic made possible by the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. Participants came from as far away as Florida and Hawaii—even Idaho—with ten of our own StFYC juniors  Four-time All American Allie Blecher was a lead coach along with Nacra 17 campaigner David Liebenberg, who holds six titles as a 29er helm.

Skippers were rotated into crew positions and vice versa in our C420s, and they were rotated out of C420s to sail on a 505 as crew (thank you, Mike Martin) or as driver (thank you, Adam Lowry). They also rotated onto a 470 (thank you, Perfect Vision Sailing) and 29er (thank you, Hoel Menard). Event organizer Pam Healy said, “We’re not trying to perfect anyone’s roll tack. We want to get them out of their comfort zones.” Sailing under the bridge and nearly to Point Diablo was a high point.

Also on the scene as a Clinic participant was Chloe Holder, providing an i420 for other girls to experience and a favorite moment of the weekend for Staff Commodore X. Wait for it.

Late in the session on Sunday, with Chloe and another sailor on the i420, there were issues that resulted in a turtle and a need for assistance. Nothing caused by Chloe, mind you, and it turned out OK so we won’t go deep, but there was a scare, and it took time to straighten out the mess that ensued. Chloe’s spinnaker wound up in the safety boat with Commodore X along with the i420 crew while Chloe’s frequent sailing partner, Kris Zarembinski, dove in to replace her. All this took much longer than the telling, and the breeze was up and the water was cold and the ebb was building and you might think the girls would be whipped at that point. Then came the question, “Do you want your spinnaker back?” And the answer:


What the girls had to say…

It was great to sail with Olympic sailors in Olympic class boats! Sailing the high-performance boats showed me things that I can improve on in a c420. I was able to work on my wire to wire tacks in a i420 with Nikki, improving them and giving me more specific parts to work on in a c420. – Alex Stauffer, 15 Newport Beach, CA 

The clinic helped me improve my boat handling in windy, marginal and choppy conditions. I really enjoyed getting to skipper in the 470 and that has made me more interested in the i420. One thing I’ll try next time I’m on the water is waiting to set on a reach until I’ve gained more height and making sure my boat is stable before I do anything else on a downwind. – Jean Wanlass, 15, Newport Beach, CA

I’ll improve my communication with my crew by sharing my observations instead of reacting to events. A friendly, fun, fantastic learning experience, thanks! – J.J. Smith, 16, Palmetto, FL

The clinic was amazing, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I learned I need to be active in search for opportunities and not passively waiting for them to come to me. This clinic made me excited to learn and work on higher performance boats, but firstly to improve my trapeze skills. I absolutely loved the coaches and how they all worked so hard to accommodate us but also were interested in what each of us as unique individuals were doing. If you host another clinic I would love to go again. Thank you for this opportunity. – Anna Krylova, 16, Pacifica, CA

Every time I am on the water I feel my skill grow with my experience, and this clinic especially because the breeze was consistent and heavier than what we experience in Newport. I improved my wire to wire tacks every time we tacked and my spinnaker flying also improved. I also learned how to deal with problems that arose in faster conditions. My favorite part of the clinic was the focus on our future in sailing, especially as women. The clinic helped me realized that many doors could be opened that I hadn’t even thought of. – Gretchen Hohenstein, 16, Newport Beach, CA

This clinic helped me see how much more is out there in the world of sailing. It elevated my passion for sailing to the next level. As well as meeting a great group of girls, I learned that I have control to take my sailing in the direction that I want to go. – Sophia Browne, 16 years old, Lafayette CA

I really enjoyed being able to practice in much more wind than I am used to sailing in. This clinic will definitely benefit my crew and I when we are sailing in some of the windier venues at major c420regattas. It also helped me realize the countless opportunities and resources there are for girls my age in sailing. – Sophia Devling, 14, Newport Beach, CA

The clinic taught me about all the possibilities that the future holds for me as a sailor and introduced me to a lot of new friends from all over the country. I was also able to sail with lots of incredible people and learned a ton about sailing from them. – Colette Lee, 15, San Francisco



Michelle SladeFast boats, high spirits = Girls High Performance Clinic
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San Francisco 4th Graders Setting Sail & Learning

Photo Courtesy: TISC / 2018 Fall Set Sail Learn Program Underway

Set Sail Learn is back in swing at Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC) this week with its fall program which runs through October 23. The program, which launched in 2013 thanks to a significant grant from the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, is now in its 5th year and in the past year alone provided a whopping 1300 4th graders from the San Francisco Unified School district with the opportunity to go sailing and learn about all things related to our oceans. The Foundation continues to support the program and is proud of that which it has accomplished in a short time.

Set Sail Learn provides a fun and educational classroom experience while introducing students to sailing and the Bay. For most kids participating, it is a first-sail experience for them, and often their first introduction to the Bay waters. It teaches them not only how to enjoy the Bay but also how and why we need to protect it.

“SSL provides a meaningful STEM based curriculum which supplements and reinforces next generation science standards (NGSS) being taught in school but does so in an engaging way which cannot be replicated in any classroom,” said Travis Lund, TISC Executive Director.

Set Sail Learn takes place Monday through Thursday, with one group of up to 30 4th-graders from one school participating per day. On the water, the kids sail in RS Ventures unless the predicted wind is above 15 knots, then they’re in J/24’s.

In the classroom, the program offers a lot of science curriculum which teachers can work with prior to the kids coming to the program, and then it offers curriculum for a week or two after they leave so the experience does take longer than just the one period. The kids are also sent home with information about Opening Day, summer camps, etc., fall and spring classes with the hope that they’ll return.

TISC co-founder Carisa Harris-Adamson is very proud of what TISC has accomplished with the program:

“In the Bay Area, we’re so surrounded by water – ocean and bay – it’s amazing how many of these kids have not seen it and certainly not been on it. Many of them have never crossed the Bay Bridge so just learning that docks go up and down with waves and water – there are a lot of cool experiences that these kids are getting -– learning about wind on and off the water. It’s just so fun watching them build these little wind-powered cars that they race in the classroom.”

An instructor of Industrial Design at Cal Berkeley, Harris-Adamson loves all things science and sailing so it’s special to her to be able to share that with some many young kids.

“It’s fun to see 4th graders go through the same design process, like figuring out that their mast is too far forward so it tips over – it’s design that they are practicing and seeing that light bulb go off is fun. Science is a lot harder from a book – immersing kids in the experience while they learn at the same time changes perspective.”

Michelle SladeSan Francisco 4th Graders Setting Sail & Learning
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Nicole Breault & Crew Win Third U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship

L to R: Hannah Burroughs , Molly Carapiet, Karen Loutzenheiser & Nicole Breault

Without a single loss, Nicole Breault and her St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) crew of Molly Carapiet (San Francisco, Calif.), Hannah Burroughs (San Francisco, Calif.) and Karen Loutzenheiser (Santa Cruz, Calif.) successfully defended their 2016 title at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, August 24-26.

Allie Blecher (Long Beach, Calif.), sailing with Ali Blumenthal (Bethport, N.Y.), Beka Schiff (San Diego, Calif.) and Molly Noble (Hood River, Ore.) for Cal Sailing Club, fought hard for second in a tiebreaker semi-final against Janel Zarkowsky (Annapolis, Md.). The St Francis Sailing Foundation caught up with Breault, a Foundation grantee, to chat about she and her crew’s success on the Women’s Match Racing circuit.

StFSF: How did you manage not a single loss? What was working for you?
NB: The team benefited greatly from our experience sailing together in match racing on the city front over the past few years. We also put together great training sessions in the weeks leading up to the event, sparring with Stephanie Wondolleck’s SFYC team once and another time with an ace team organized by Russ Silvestri. The four of us felt physically strong and fit – that plus our familiarity with boat handling J/22s in our home waters (with wind, ebb chop and significant current) gave us real confidence dueling against our competitors. I knew I could put the boat anywhere I wanted with control. While we had plenty of intense exchanges, the adrenaline rush always felt good and never shook us from making good tactical decisions.

StFSF: Tell us about your crew for this regatta? Have you raced as a team before? What are each other’s strengths?
NB: Molly Carapiet, Karen Loutzenheiser, and Hannah Burroughs are core members of the Vela Racing team. We have gone to battle together many times. They were my crew in the 2016 USWMRC, so when this event came into the planning pipeline, they were the first teammates I asked to sail and all 3 were psyched to defend the title. Molly and I are both Yale sailing alumni and got to know each other sailing 470s before the 2008 trials and before my move to San Francisco. She trims the main for me and runs the pit downwind, all the while applying her tactical mind to help us make high percentage moves around the course. Karen trims the jib and spinnaker for us and is the key to our speed. She is super strong and has a positive spirit that keeps us thinking constructively and often smiling. Hannah works the bow. She is methodical and forward thinking, managing all the elements forward of the cockpit that can be problematic but are so essential to success. Together we share a fierce competitive spirit that is grounded by simple love for playing the game.

StFSF: This is your third consecutive win – how do you personally stay at the top of your game?
NB: I am fortunate to do a lot of sailing. I race J/105s regularly with my husband Bruce, and I usually sail 5 or 6 match racing or team racing regattas throughout the year. Sometimes the schedule and my performance yield additional opportunities to race high level championships. In all of this racing I am surrounded by really good competition in a variety of venues and conditions, and all of that stacks up to experience that keeps me competitive. I like to get a few hours of practice in before big events, too, which recharges the muscle memory and reminds me of the go-fast techniques and settings for sailing a particular type of boat in a particular type of venue or condition.

StFSF: Your advice for women wanting to either hone their match racing skills, or take up match racing?
NB: In addition to looking for opportunities to sail regattas and clinics (check out Oakcliff Sailing Center, regional US Sailing champs qualifiers, the California Dreamin’ series), put together your own sparring sessions at your own sailing venues. You’ll need a couple of hours (we find weeknights work well), some willing sailors, a minimum of two matched boats, and 3 marks. Set a starting line with two marks (designate one as a leeward mark too), and a windward mark. Sync your count down timers at 5 minutes, enter the start box at 4 and… you’re match racing!

Check out https://www.ussailing.org/competition/small-boat-racing/match-racing/ for all kinds of resources: scheduling, rules, tactical do’s and don’ts, video links, etc.

Michelle SladeNicole Breault & Crew Win Third U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship
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