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2022 banner year for Community Sailing

Supporting community sailing is a priority for the St Francis Sailing Foundation: ensuring that opportunities are available for those who would like to learn to sail, improve skills or simply experience getting out on the water for the first time. The Foundation is proud to support outstanding Bay Area community sailing organizations including Alameda Community Sailing Center, Blue Water Foundation, Call of the Sea, and Treasure Island Sailing Center. 2022 proved a banner year for these organizations.

Alameda Community Sailing Center continues to be very proud of its partnerships with at-risk youth community organizations and facilitating more kids into sail boats from these organizations. ACSC had a very successful year with nearly 350 kids spending two weeks on the water learning to sail, with a high returning rate of regulars each year. Nearly all ACSC’s 25 -30 instructors have come through its programs, and the organization is hopeful that in the next year or two some of the kids from the at-risk organization will be joining their ranks and be earning a wage teaching sailing.

“We are not making Olympic sailors at ACSC, but we are fulfilling our vision of “Inspiring Lives Across Generations”, Mike Bishop, President of the ACSC Board, commented. “We’ve enjoyed a great quote from one of the girls from Acta Non Verba, an East Oakland Community organization – her mother later told us that her daughter said, “I now want to be a marine biologist rather than be a WNBA player”, after she had finished her sailing camp!”

2023 is starting off well for ACSC, with 30% of its summer camp places filled. The organization recently received a grant from the Olympic Club Foundation to buy its seventh RS Feva, and expects to take delivery of an eighth support boat – a 17ft RIB – thanks to a CA Department of Boating and Waterways grant.

ACSC hopes to expand its weekend classes and program more adult introduction-to-sailing classes. Five race-ready Lasers will be available to charter and join the Thursday evening and Sunday Laser practice racing. The 505 Pacific Coast Championship (PCC) will be hosted at ACSC in August, and ACSC is partnering with the Hobie 16 fleet to hold that fleet’s North Americans, so ACSC is not leaving the adults or experienced sailors behind! – Mike Bishop

Blue Water Foundation – Since 1992, Blue Water Foundation has brought the magic of the Bay to thousands of at-risk and under-represented youth through school districts, juvenile probation departments, and community groups. An all-volunteer organization, BWF programs operate out of the San Francisco Municipal Marina on Golden Bear, a 46’ ocean racer, and the Berkeley Marina on Benjamin Walters, a 43-foot Han Christian and Aleta, also a 46’ ocean racer.

A volunteer base of over two hundred sailors come from all over the Bay area and participate in regular training sails, safety protocols and First Aid/CPR/AED certification.  The last couple of years have been rebuilding our connections and encouraging our partners to return to the water after the pandemic interruption.  In 2022, BWF reached over 350 youth, and held 51 sails for 12 partner organizations. Each student sail requires a minimum of five certified volunteer crew: a first captain, a second captain and 3 crew members. Blue Water Foundation’s newest program in development is outreach and providing opportunities for visually impaired sailors and non-sailors. – Shannon Kastner

Call of the Sea – Call of the Sea (COS) continued to make big strides in 2022, as reported by the Sausalito-based not-for-profit:

208 sailing trips / 3,237 students / 6,654 passengers / 571 hours of education

Call of the Sea’s Sylvia Stompe, reported, “Schools have returned to planning field trips after the two-year Covid pause on outdoor education and bussing for many schools; 2022 had a major increase in schools booked. We are optimistic that 2023 will see the trend continue and grow. We also have a goal to greatly increase our scholarship support for schools, organizations, and individuals this year.”

In 2023, Call of the Sea will see an expansion of youth programs, with an Aloft date (ages 12+) once per month, and Spring and Fall Saturday morning educational programs (ages 8-18) at the dock, followed by a two-hour sail (open registration for youth organizations and individuals).  – Sylvia Stompe

Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC) – 2022 was a summer filled with the sights and sounds of hundreds of children of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds leaning on land, rigging, sailing, and enjoying the challenges and friendships the sailing environment offers. TISC’s Spring, Summer, and Fall Progression program was well attended and delivered at a high level of instruction. It’s popular STEM and Adaptive Sailing programs were equally successful. Attendance is rebounding to pre-COVID levels. 2022 was also a year of unusual challenges including the redevelopment of Treasure Island which has required that TISC relocate its facility to fit into a roughly twenty-foot-wide strip of land along the waterfront thus reducing its footprint (i.e., structures and equipment) before resuming Spring programs.

TISC has an almost entirely new team with four of the five leadership team members new to their positions this year, including Doug Paine, the Executive Director. Gresha Wallace is Youth Outreach Program Coordinator, running our Community Partner, Leadership, STEM, and Volunteer Outreach programs. She also handles the organization’s required bureaucratic and personal interactions with the community, participants, and their families.  As the Waterfront Director, David Elias manages the tenants’ yard, oversees the transition plan and interim projects related to modular buildings, manages events, and fills in, fixes, or draws attention to a continuously changing set of challenges. Hunter “Cazzie” Cutting is our Head Coach for our Youth Progression Program after many years as a TISC Instructor. He also leads our new parent advisory committee for the race teams.

In 2023, TISC anticipates changes in the way instructional programs are delivered. It has redesigned its offerings to emphasize more varied types of boating experiences and a greater orientation toward non-competitive skills development, which means different equipment for programs.

Meeting financial goals will be challenging but more importantly, TISC is about something other than the facilities or the finances. It is about the people involved: the parents, sailors, and staff, board members, college sailors, V15 sailors, Olympic trainees, veterans, and administrators who make TISC unique and special. – Gresha Wallace

Many thanks to the hard work and dedication of all of those involved in these community sailing programs that StFSF is proud to support!

Michelle Slade2022 banner year for Community Sailing
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Call of the Sea Scholarships Give Kids An Opportunity to Sail

A St Francis Sailing Foundation grantee, Call of the Sea (COS) continued to make big strides in 2022, as reported by the Sausalito-based not-for-profit:

208 sailing trips / 3,237 students / 6,654 passengers / 571 hours of education

Call of the Sea’s Sylvia Stompe, reported, “Schools have returned to planning field trips after the two-year Covid pause on outdoor education and bussing for many schools; 2022 had a major increase in schools booked. We are optimistic that 2023 will see the trend continue and grow. We also have a goal to greatly increase our scholarship support for schools, organizations, and individuals this year.”

In 2023, Call of the Sea will see an expansion of youth programs, with an Aloft date (ages 12+) once per month, and Spring and Fall Saturday morning educational programs (ages 8-18) at the dock, followed by a two-hour sail (open registration for youth organizations and individuals).

Call of the Sea offers a scholarship program for kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend its programs. Return summer camper, Dylan Lovato, is a great example of a youth that has been inspired by the sailing program and has attended on a scholarship each year. Read his story:

Sailing in Marin: Camps sparking a love for the sport in young sailor

When Dilan Lovato was four years old, holding his stepmom’s hand he walked from El Salvador across the US-Mexican border. His dad, who he did remember clearly, was already in the US waiting for them.

The memories of that journey are on quick-recall for Lovato, now 12-years old.

“It was scary when the border patrol grabbed us and it was cold in the detention center, they just gave us aluminum foil for blankets,” the youngster said. “We stayed there for two days. I didn’t recognize my dad at first until he said my name. It had been a long time – he left before I was two.”

A handsome young man with a great smile and sense of humor, Lovato these days is well-adjusted to life in Marin: he’s a sixth grader at Davidson Middle School in San Rafael, his favorite activity at school is volleyball, he loves camps, and anything to do with being on the water. His dad, Adrian, has a steady job working for Luiz Martinez, co-founder/owner with his wife Alison Healy of Bay Area Marine Services in Sausalito.

One day, Martinez took the young Lovato sailing for the first time.

“I got to steer,” Lovato grinned. “It was a bit challenging as the wind wants to take you a different direction!”

That one experience plotted a course for Lovato that set sailing firmly on his agenda. He couldn’t go sailing, however, without Healy who has known the Lovato family for three years. She helps by ferrying the young Lovato, a typical latch-key kid, to and from after-school activities.

Healy couldn’t help but notice the big smile on Lovato’s face when they returned to the dock after that first sailing experience: he was captivated by seeing so many boats on the water. She asked Lovato if he’d like to go sailing again, and he replied that he’d first like to learn to kayak to be sure he wasn’t afraid of the water. Read on

About Call of the Sea

 

Sailing in Marin: Camps sparking a love for the sport in young sailor

 

Michelle SladeCall of the Sea Scholarships Give Kids An Opportunity to Sail
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Commodore Heineken: A life of family, fun, service and adventure

John Arndt, publisher/Latitude 38, introduces the ever-buoyant Commodore Paul Heineken in his recent podcast:

Paul has been a lifelong sailor starting on the East Coast in New Jersey and sailing on the Princeton sailing team, but he found his sailing home in San Francisco Bay when he moved west after medical school. He’s sailed dinghies, windsurfers, foiling windsurfers, and today would like to see succeed at wing foiling. He’s raised to two world class kiteboarders: Johnny and Erica Heineken.

For 10 years he was a volunteer at the Cal Sailing Club, which introduced him to the Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC), where he is now on the Board of Directors. He’s been a member of the St. Francis Yacht Club for many years, where he helped develop its leadership role in racing on windsurfers and kiteboards. He became Commodore in 2019. There aren’t many Commodores of yacht clubs, especially at the status of the St. Francis Yacht Club whose specialty is board sailing…Full podcast here.

Michelle SladeCommodore Heineken: A life of family, fun, service and adventure
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Preparation & Persistence

A review of our Fall and Winter training program and a look into the preparation for the 2023 Racing Season – by Ian Barrows & Hans Henken.

It’s been a busy few months for us as we’ve been training hard in Miami, Florida in anticipation for the start of the US Olympic Trials in January at the West Marine Miami US Open and in February at the Clearwater US Open. We’ve been fortunate to have access to both the US Sailing Center in Coconut Grove and Miami Yacht Club in order to prepare, and we’ve been making the most of every opportunity to get on the water.

Over the past three months, we’ve been focusing on a variety of areas as we look to fine-tune our performance and get ready for the trials. In October, we trained with the current 49er World Champion crew, Floris van der Werken, and it was a truly invaluable experience for our team. Not only did we get the chance to sail with one of the best in the world, but we were also able to learn from his expertise and insights into the sport.

Working with Floris helped to change our attitude towards training, as we were able to see firsthand the level of dedication and commitment required to succeed at the highest levels of the 49er class. His advice helped us to refocus our minds on what it takes to get better, and we came away from the experience with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. Read on

Michelle SladePreparation & Persistence
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Hans Henken: Executing at the Highest Level / Reaching Goals

Hans Henken’s biggest goal as a kid – and still is – was to compete at the Olympic Games, against the world’s best on the world’s biggest stage. At thirty years old, Henken is nothing short of one highly accomplished human, both on and off the water. Starting off as a six-year-old in the Naples Sabot, Henken has since spent most of his sailing career competing on the US Sailing Team honing his craft and campaigning on the Olympic circuit in the 49er Class, currently with a view to Paris 2024 alongside teammate Ian Barrows.

The pair are currently ranked 2nd in the 2022 World Sailing World Rankings in the 49er following a stellar year: a 1st place finish at the West Marine Miami US Open, 2nd place finish at the Princesa Sofia World Sailing World Cup, 5th place at the Allianz World Sailing World Cup and 11th place finish at the 49er World Championships.

A bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford (2011-2018), Henken’s also been an asset to the US SailGP team as flight controller, helping the team chase its first SailGP Championship. To say that the guy is goal-oriented is an understatement. With an exceptional education and two Olympic campaigns under his belt, Henken’s focus has always been on how to reach goals when the internal goal has been to compete/operate at the highest level.

“I think a lot of it [my accomplishments] have been driven from an internal goal to compete at the highest level, knowing where I want to end up and how to set the tempo for how everything else follows through on that,” Henken noted. “I’ve always been fascinated with competition and I saw the opportunity for myself because I really enjoyed sailing so much, although as a kid you don’t see it as a career but just as a sport that you do because you love the water. My goal to compete in the Olympics has driven me to do everything else in my life I do to accomplish that.”

Henken admits that having big-reach goals requires an incredible amount of organization and the ability to break down the big goals into smaller pieces, recognizing that Rome wasn’t built in a day and understanding how all the small pieces fit together in the overall path to the destination.

“The job then becomes that of understanding how to hold yourself accountable for reaching those goals – the accountability factor then becomes the driving force behind the results,” Henken said. “If you go to events or a training block without a formal review of what you set out to accomplish then it becomes hard of keeping track of making progress.”

While they didn’t make the cut for either event, Henken views his two Olympic campaigns with Judge Ryan in the 49’er (Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021) as successful: they provided Henken with valuable experience which he’s now applying to his current campaign with Barrows.

“They taught me how to take a close look at what didn’t work and realizing why it didn’t work, which is what I’m focusing on and applying now to my campaign with Ian,” Henken said. “Judge and I became good at identifying the small goals, but we failed at staying accountable to those goals and tracking that progress.”

Having the patience to work through the failures together with the successes is an attribute Henken says his parents instilled early on.

“My parents always said that things don’t happen overnight, that they can go slowly, to realize that and embrace it as part of the whole process,” Henken said. “Getting it right the first time can be hard and to realize that and make it part of the planning process builds patience along the way.”

Henken’s also embraced bringing more people into the performance review process.

“Having the outside perspective from people not engaged in the emotions of the results offers an unbiased view of what the plan was versus the result and to focus on giving us good advice on how they see the process coming together.”

To that point, Henken’s been fortunate to work with Charlie McKee for most of his career, who he met when he was in high school.”

“I met Charlie when he was into trying out a new class of boat, the foiling moth,” Henken smiled. “My brother and parents were interested at the same time as to what the foiling moth was all about and had purchased a similar boat. That sparked a huge relationship between me and Charlie which has only become stronger – he is my biggest mentor when it comes to almost more than sailing itself, like life mentoring in a lot of ways.”

With Paris 2024 on the horizon, Henken is only too aware of the stiff competition in the Olympic 49’er class across all the countries competing.

“We train with a lot with them, so it’s always been this interesting dynamic where for two weeks we are training super hard together and sharing a lot of information and trying to get faster as individuals and as groups and trying to explore what it means to be a top-level 49er sailor then the next week, we’re highly competitive and really going within inches of each to get that advantage. My team and the other US teams are all hyper competitive too – we are constantly training full-bore all the time trying to get an edge over our international competitors and each other! At the end of the day, only one team goes…”

Once he’s fulfilled his Olympic and professional sailing goals, Henken plans to take his exceptional education to the sky, literally. He always knew he wanted to work in engineering because he loves solving problems, and he wanted to solve difficult complex problems.

“As a kid I was always fascinated with airplanes,” Henken shared. “The 5-year-old Hans wanted to be an astronaut and the 30-year-old Hans is still considering that as an option. I feel like aeronautical engineering is where all the hardest problems occur, at least to me. I think in any field of engineering there are incredibly difficult but there’s something about space, something about flying, and that really drew me in. I could see myself being involved with something like SpaceX (laughs), doing my own research with Lockheed Martin – there are a lot of cool projects out there to work on. I want to work on cutting edge things that are just being imagined – tip of the sphere in terms of engineering.”

Henken likes to spend his spare time hanging with his family who live north of San Francisco. He’s also planning September 2023 nuptials with fiancée and Olympian Helena Scutt.

“I love to spend time with my parents and whenever I get the chance I go home,” he said. “Helena and I are super excited about getting married and are in a big wedding planning process which has been a whole other thing that’s been interesting to learn about (laughs)!”

Sailing Achievements:

  • 2022 NEAR Spain SailGP, Andalucia – Cadiz – F50 – 2nd
  • 2022 Range Rover France SailGP, St. Tropez – F50 – 1st
  • 2022 World Championships – 49er – 11th
  • 2022 Allianz World Sailing World Cup – 49er – 5th
  • 2022 Hyeres French Olympic Sailing Week – 49er – 11th
  • 2022 Princesa Sofia World Sailing World Cup – 49er – 2nd
  • 2022 Miami U.S. Open – 49er – 1st
  • 2021 World Championships – 49er – 4th
  • 2021 Asian Championships – 49er – 5th
  • 2021 North American Championships – 49er – 1st
  • 2017 U.S. National Championships – 49er – 1st
  • 2017 Sail Melbourne – 49er – 3rd
  • 2016 North American Championships – 49er – 1st
  • 2015 U.S. National Championships – 49er – 1st
  • 2015 Stanford Conference Male Athlete of the Year
  • 2009 World Championships (U23) – International Moth – 1st
  • 2008 ISAF Youth World Championships – 29er – 3rd

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Club: St. Francis Yacht Club

Work: Professional Athlete (SailGP, US Sailing Team)

Website: https://www.barrowshenkenracing.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarrowsHenkenRacing/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hanshenken

Michelle SladeHans Henken: Executing at the Highest Level / Reaching Goals
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Leandro Spina’s Journey to the Olympic Development Program

“I grew up on a farm in Argentina, I’m actually a farmer!” Leandro Spina laughed with his characteristic enthusiasm. Spina, Olympic Development Program Director at US Sailing, played multiple sports as a kid and by luck discovered sailing when he was 14 years old. He fell in love with it immediately.

“I loved the freedom of being on the water and all that goes with that, but I also had to figure out how to get better from this little town with a little lake near our farm,” he smiled.

To sail with better sailors, at fifteen years old, Spina, 47, started taking the train into Buenos Aires where there is a massive river which looks like an ocean – the Río de la Plata – and where the best sailors in Argentina sail. It was about a three-hour commute either way, just for Spina to become a better sailor.

“This is how I would move forward in this sport for the next thirty years – I have always looked for the next opportunity to grow and get better.”

Spina likes to share this story because it set the stage for his future as an elite sailor and coach, which ultimately led Spina to lay the foundation for US Sailing’s Olympic Development program which is fast becoming the cornerstone of elite youth sailor development in the US.

Spina sailed and raced on everything, traveling internationally to represent Argentina. He sailed Optis, Snipes, keel boats, he learned to crew on big boats, he sailed the J24 in the 90’s when the class was one of the strongest in the world, and he also did some 470-sailing including multiple Olympic trials.

Spina was working in Miami when 9/11 happened which forced him to switch gears workwise. He turned his focus to professional sailing and coaching. By 2008, he was involved in many classes as a coach – the Star, TP52s, Optimists, A-Cats, the Tornado, and had a desire to support athletes because their stories often mirrored his own, that of finding opportunities to make things happen.

“I am very passionate about athlete development,” he acknowledged. “When the US Olympic program asked me to join in 2009, I said I’d only if they would let me create a development program. I was excited to create a missing piece of the Olympic pathway for our upcoming young talent.”

Around 2014, he met Paul Cayard and Doug Smith who were involved in the America One Foundation. They shared Spina’s vision for an Olympic development program and through the America One Foundation, the first funding was initiated to develop what is known as the ODP – Olympic Development Program.

At the time, Spina notes, there was little structure in place to identify talent, bring those sailors together and offer them top-level coaching. While it is a seemingly simple formula, in a country the size of the US where sailors are spread far apart, it was a challenging mission. But once the program got rolling, Spina saw that the bar began to rise quickly at the youth level.

“We focused on the under-19 group because I was a firm believer that we needed to change the DNA of our athletes at a younger age, before they go to college and start an Olympic campaign – I want to come in early to ensure they have a strong foundation. The goal of the ODP was always to support the transition from youth sailing to Olympics.”

Seven+ years down the road, Spina and his team have developed excellent best practices in the ODP and truly have a machine going. The success stories among youth sailors have been multiplying. The next hurdle was transferring that into the Olympic classes, and in Spring 2021, Paul Cayard took the helm of the US Sailing Team, inclusive of the US Olympic Sailing program, as Executive Director of U.S. Olympic Sailing.

“Thanks to Paul’s leadership, we have more focus on performance and are truly a performance driven team now,” Spina noted. “We have more supporters thanks to Paul and with more support the athletes can be more efficient. Even with the shorter timeline of this quad I think we are making big improvements quickly because of this focus and additional assistance.”

Another layer that Spina references is domestic training, an important element of ODP best practices: doing most of the work at home instead of just chasing the international fleet.

“We now have a domestic platform that people can enter at their own pace at any given time – regattas like the West Marine US Open Series that have been held in San Francisco and other places, they are crucial because now the sailors do not need to go to Europe to start an Olympic campaign, they can attend ODP clinics and multiple domestic regattas,” Spina commented. “We accomplished this during the pandemic: when everybody froze, we took a big leap forward, and now it is much easier to make gains than before.”

Cayard concurred, “The West Marine sponsored events are a great series of races that allow our athletes to get racing competition in the US/domestically which is critical to building a solid foundation of skills before our athletes spend valuable time and money to travel abroad. These events are also great for motivating the next generation because they can see the top athletes, rub shoulders with them, and go sailing with them. And, we will have domestic trials leading up to Paris 2024 in maybe six or seven classes, in December 2023 and spring 2024.”

These clinics and regattas are now regularly held all over the country, thanks to organizations like West Marine and other supporters like the St Francis Sailing Foundation. For a long while ODP clinics were heavily favored on the east coast due to Miami being the hub of the US Sailing Team’s training. ODP clinics were occasionally hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club, taking advantage of the opportunity to hold heavy weather clinics on the famed San Francisco Bay. But west coast youth sailors were still missing opportunities to become part of these clinics.

Pam Healy, president of the St Francis Sailing Foundation, and Sailor Athlete Director for US Sailing, worked with Spina to open opportunities to west coast kids and kids who were not quite ODP level.

“I convinced him to let the kids participate in the ODP if they brought their own safety boats which made it easier for him to include our kids including those who were not ODP level but right below it,” Healy explained. “Leandro saw how much work they needed to do, whether it was to build their confidence, or to learn to stand on their own feet, for example, and it resulted in the ODP opening up even more doors for talented youth sailors.”

She added, “It’s fun for people to learn about the ODP which is working year-round to bring up the game in the US – the goal is to podium in every class in 2028 – I know they’re working very hard toward that.”

Spina’s encouraged by the successes that current US Olympic hopefuls are already experiencing.

“It takes time to get to the top, but we are on the rise, some results are exciting and proving that we are on a good track. My focus is not on the number of medals we win but to show the younger generation the path to success and that we can do it: the process and giving that confidence to our athletes that we can compete.”

When asked if he had just one more resource at his fingertips that he could tap into for US Sailors, Spina was quick with his response.

“I know this sounds cheesy, but it would be time,” Spina laughed. “Unfortunately, we cannot buy time and it’s the same for everyone else. But we’re on a very good track and I know we’re going to succeed but it takes time. If we lose momentum, we cannot get it back. We have momentum and energy right now. I started from scratch – from nothing – the classes that we are now competing in in the Youth Worlds were nonexistent in the country. We had to change the culture and we had to prove that we could succeed.”

And what is Spina most excited about for our sailors in Paris 2024?

“I’m excited that we are rising to the top, we are getting better. It’s going to be a good opportunity to show that we are on a very good track. I think the sailors are starting to feel it too, they’re gaining confidence. I think it’s going to be very good for those who go to the Olympics and for everyone who stays home with the next Olympics being in Long Beach in 2028. I’m excited about the momentum.”

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Michelle SladeLeandro Spina’s Journey to the Olympic Development Program
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Getting the Job Done: Winning My 6th World Title

Excerpts from Daniela Moroz’ blog post following her recent sixth World Championship win, written by Daniela.

I first need to address some thank you’s before telling this story. First, a massive thank you to my coach Chris and technical advisor Nate for their tireless work and dedication to helping me become the best athlete I can be. They worked so hard the last few months helping me and I truly couldn’t have done it without them.

Next I have to thank my parents for their constant support and for coming out to Sardinia to watch me race.

Thank you to all of my partners, sponsors, and suppliers for making all of this possible. I recently announced Mirabaud as one of my main partners going into 2024, and it is their financial support along with the St Francis Sailing Foundation and US Sailing Team that help me do this full time. Additionally, Flysurfer Kiteboarding – my kite sponsor of 5 years now on which I’ve won 4 World Championships now, Levitaz Hydrofoils, Tarifa Foil Boards, SK Shapes, Robline Ropes, Sailmon Instruments, and Ride Engine. THANK YOU.

And now, how the leadup to world title #6 went down.

I arrived in Europe at the beginning of September to start my preparation for the World Championships, giving me 6 weeks to train before the first day of racing. My priorities were to test out some new kites I had just received and to also gain some muscle mass as I believed that these things were key to gaining back the speed I had been missing over the summer. I also began working with Chris Rashley, who was joining my team as my full time coach for the rest of this campaign, and also brought in my good friend Nate Housberg to help me as my technical advisor for the next several weeks, which I had divided into 2 phases.

Phase 1 was 3 weeks in Hyeres, France, entirely dedicated to testing out my new kites and spending lots of time in the gym getting stronger. Hyeres is one of my favorite places to kite because of the different conditions, and in September you can ride in anything from 5 knots to 30 knots within the same week, so it was the perfect place to go test all my kites in a wide range of wind conditions. It was nice to be in a single place for so long (yes, 3 weeks in one place is a long time for me), and we built an awesome routine while we were there. I went to the gym every morning to work out. There was an incredible bakery just across the street from the gym, so of course I had to stop for coffee, croissants, and baguettes on my way home (by the end of the trip, Nate and I were eating one baguette a day). Next I would make breakfast and meet with Chris to plan the sessions for the day and what we would be working on depending on the conditions. Then we would head to the beach once the wind picked up and get on the water. Hyeres delivered incredible conditions as usual, with several days of more than 25 knots and big swell balanced with some days of completely flat water and barely enough wind to foil. We made the most of every day, and by the end of the 3 weeks I was extremely confident in my new kites and much faster than before.

Phase 2 of my World Championships leadup plan was 2 weeks spent training at the venue where the regatta was being held: Poetto Beach, located just outside the city of Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia. I’ve been coming to Sardinia to race every year since 2018 (apart from 2020), and it’s become another one of my favorite venues. It’s a very technical spot with many different wind directions, and the offshore mistral is my favorite. The offshore wind can blow to 30 knots, sweeping across the island and eventually spilling out over Poetto Beach. It’s not far from the conditions in San Francisco, except that it’s completely flat water, no current, and no shipping traffic, making it significantly easier for riding. On the onshore days, a strong sea breeze picks up, bringing big swell with it. There are several other wind directions and sea states common this time of year, and the biggest reason I wanted to arrive at the venue this early was to get familiar with these different types of days and practice riding in the different conditions. It was for this reason and a few others that I decided to skip the European Championships, which were happening about a week before the Worlds. Although it was a bold move, I believe it was the right call.

After 2 weeks at the regatta venue, I could not wait to get racing – I had never felt more ready to deliver my best performance at a regatta. Despite being slightly disappointed with my results from the summer, I had no doubt that I was going to be more competitive than ever. I was really proud of the progress I had made in the weeks leading up to the Worlds, not only on the water, but off the water. I had been meeting with a sport psychologist on a weekly basis to help me build a strong and confident mindset. I had been practicing mindfulness, meditation, and visualization. I had been working out and felt super fit. I felt so good and so ready in a way that I had never felt before. And on October 11th, it was finally time to get racing.

We started with 3 days of the opening qualifying series in which competitors are mixed in 2 separate fleets based on world ranking. We did 3 races in strong onshore conditions on day 1, no racing on day 2 because of a lack of wind, and 1 race on day 3. I was the only competitor, male or female, to win every race of this qualifying series, but my closest competition, Lauriane Nolot from France, was only a point behind. On day 4, the top 25 sailors went into gold fleet, completing 4 races. It was a beautiful mistral day with 20-25 knots eventually picking up to gusts to 30 knots, extremely gusty and shifty, and completely flat water. It was a day I had sailed in repeatedly in training, and I knew exactly what I had to do. After a disqualification due to being over early (UFD) in the first race, I continued to win the following 3 races, even finishing with a healthy lead of about 800m in the last race. This scoreline kept me in first, but still only a couple points ahead of Lauriane, who was consistently finishing second. Day 4 brought more offshore wind, but this time it was extremely light and patchy. I started the day a bit slow but progressed throughout the 4 races. Going into the final race, I was 1 point ahead of Lauriane, and needed to stay ahead in order to maintain my first place advantage going into the last day of the regatta. I managed to do just that, and so only needed to win one race in the final series in order to win the world title.

The final day brought the onshore wind back with some big chop. I was nervous but excited, and proud of how I had performed and progressed all week. Now it was time for the last little push. It was Katie Dabson (GBR), Ellie Aldridge (GBR), Lauriane Nolot (FRA), and me in the women’s final. As I was waiting for our start, the wind picked up just a couple knots, and the other girls went in to change from 15m to 11m kites. I opted to stay on my 15m, knowing I should be able to match their speed upwind and be faster downwind. Off the start it was Lauriane that took the lead clear ahead with me just to windward.

As we were approaching the top mark, Lauriane crashed and I was able to take the lead. From there I knew I just had to sail clean and I could win this race. On my 15m kite I quickly extended my lead on the downwind, and by the end of the second lap, I was 300m ahead in first place. When I rounded the last mark and reached across to the finish line, there was an overwhelming sensation of pride and joy unlike anything that I had ever felt before. I immediately found Chris out on his coach boat, and as I sat down, I said, “I think we got the job done.”

Michelle SladeGetting the Job Done: Winning My 6th World Title
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Pamela Healy Elected to US Sailing Board of Directors

The St Francis Sailing Foundation is thrilled to announce that Pamela Healy, our fearless and hard-working leader for the past three years has been elected to US Sailing’s Board of Directors. Pamela,1992 Olympic Bronze Medalist and 1991 World Champion in the 470, will serve as US Sailing’s Sailor Athlete Director. The Sailor Athlete Director, mandated by the USOPC and the Amateur Sports Act, serves as the voice of active racing sailors in the U.S.

“I am truly honored to serve as a Sailor Athlete Director to US Sailing,” Healy commented. “I look forward to bringing my experience as a competitor, passionate volunteer and leader to the Board. I’m excited to see so many Board members representing the West Coast and look forward to working together to improve the sport and US Sailing membership experience. With the LA 2028 Games on the horizon, it will be exciting to be a part of a movement to showcase our sport and expand participation!”

Pam led the Foundation through the most challenging of times with grace, confidence, and her signature great smile. We look forward to continuing to have her skill and experience in our midst as she takes on this new role. We wish her all the best – go get ’em Pam!

WHAT OUR FOUNDATION COMMUNITY LOVES ABOUT PAM…

Just some of the things I love about working with Pam:
– Her ability to stay calm and focused on the long-term goal — no matter how stressful the short-term situation.
– Her mentorship of young Olympic hopefuls — she really cares about the athletes as people and wants them to succeed in life as well as on the racecourse.
– Her generosity with her time — since she’s so organized and efficient, her time is incredibly valuable! – JJ Fetter

 In my post-commodore endeavors, as Staff Commodore Ambassador to Youth Sailing, Pam has been my greatest ally and friend. But we’re still competing to see who is the bigger mother hen. Kimball Livingston

Navigating a nonprofit through a pandemic and coming out stronger takes a skipper with experience, commitment, a steady hand and a clear unwavering vision. Thanks to Pam the St Francis Sailing Foundation had all of these in Pam. USS is fortunate to have her on their board. – Bill Kreysler

If our top sailors had a fairy godmother, it would be Pam. She knows what they need and works hard to get it to them. She is in the executive suite and on the front lines. She turns her ideas into reality. – Bill Hoehler

Pam is the ultimate mentor- she gives beyond her own interest and truly invests in others. Whether it be the youth sailors she encourages, the next generation leadership she gives her time to in the sport of sailing, or simply the time she takes to build community around the sport, Pam is a guiding light in the sport across the country. – Michelle Harris

Pam has been an inspiration to the entire board of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation with her tireless commitment to fulfilling our collective mission to sailors at every level. She set lofty goals only to exceed them at every turn. Her leadership and legacy will be returning dividends to the sport for decades to come. – Sean Svendsen

Pam Healy will be an awesome addition to US Sailing’s leadership. Pam’s vision, energy, and passion for sailing and sailors are nearly unparalleled.  We will all continue to benefit from her efforts going forward. – Paul Heineken

Pam is a fearless advocate for young sailors. She knows what it takes to further the sport and patiently and determinedly works to accomplish it. It has been a pleasure to work with her. – Beth DeAtley

Pam is responsible for interviewing all Junior Members for the Membership Committee at St.FYC. The excitement and passion she shows talking about all of the young sailors is infectious. – Andrew Lorenzen

Change is always difficult, our loss is US Sailings gain. Pam has shown amazing advocacy skills for competitors, she’s absolutely perfect for her new role at US Sailing. It’s a win for everyone who supports sailing! It’s been an honor to serve on the StFSF BOD under Pam’s leadership. – Moe Roddy

Pam is a “get it done” woman. It is great to have her on the Team @ US Sailing! – Paul Cayard

Pam Healy is a tremendous leader in our sport and a tireless advocate on behalf of our next generation of sailors. Pam took the St. Francis Sailing Foundation to new heights, making grants work harder for our future Olympians, building out training programs that are taking youth sailors to the next level and providing life-changing experiences for children in underserved communities. It is only fitting to have her join the Board at U Sailing to help support and reach more young people across the country. – Stephanie Martin

US Sailing is lucky to have Pam in the role of Sailing Athlete Director. Pam will bring the same passion for expanding the sport of sailing that she has shown over the past three years as leader of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. – Rolf Kaiser

Pam lives and leads with grace and passion. She has a selfless commitment to promoting the development of sailing, particularly re: getting women on the water. Whether engaging support, celebrating successes of others, planning a party like she’s on reality TV, or showing folks the ‘ropes’, so to speak, on a boat, Pam’s gifts for communication, engagement, and organization shine. Although she is a longtime contributor to our community, she had a special impact on the foundation, thanks to her tenure as president. – Elizabeth Little

Congratulations Pam!
Pam has been an incredible asset as president of St Francis Sailing Foundation, and an avid volunteer at Treasure Island Sailing Center. Since winning her Olympic medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games she has dedicated her life to giving back so much to the sport we all love.  We are very lucky to have someone like Pam dedicate her time, talents, and special experiences to the Board of US Sailing, particularly as we prepare for the 2028 Olympic Games in the USA. – Peter Stoneberg

Pam’s leadership and dedication to the sport of sailing has been invaluable. She has unwaveringly fought to both provide access to the sport as well as to help athletes achieve their Olympic dreams. She is always willing to speak up for what she thinks is right and roll up her sleeves to make it happen. – Molly Carapiet

I can certainly share that Pam is not only an excellent leader, but she is inclusive of everyone involved in the project, the event, the task at hand, whatever it may be. Essentially, to Pam, we all matter, whether we have a big part or a little part in the overall production. She was the perfect team leader as we prepared for the Foundation Auction. Pam is one of the hardest workers I know, and she does it with grace! She is kind. – Natalie Charles

Pam has been a tireless, hands-on advocate for sailors at all levels, from kids who’ve never been on a boat before to World Champions and Olympic hopefuls. She has been a kind and thoughtful leader, mentor, and friend to so many in our sailing community. – Elizabeth Anathan

Pam is a wonderful supporter and volunteer for our youth sailors with years of wisdom to share. Having her voice on behalf of the athletes at US Sailing will be a tremendous asset for sailors. – Katie Pettibone

Pam is fearless and hard-working. She’s also calm and gracious. Her unwavering commitment to the Foundation during such a tough few years has been inspiring: she also makes fun a priority which is so important! It’s been a pleasure learning from her these past few years. Good luck Pam on your next adventure!   – Michelle Slade

Pam’s been an incredible leader for the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, combining a wealth of experience, empathy for the challenges of competing at the highest levels, and a desire to make sailing more accessible to all interested in our sport. – Al Sargent

Pam is a wonder woman! Positive, forward-looking and magnetic with a big, beautiful, engaging smile. We so appreciate her leadership at StFSF and thank her for the years of dedication, belief, and progress.  – Jim Cascino

Michelle SladePamela Healy Elected to US Sailing Board of Directors
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Regatta Recap: Hot. Humid. Windy: ILCA 6 Youth Worlds 2022

Junior sailors Connor Bennett, Ethan Sargent and Tor Svendsen got a taste of big-time competition when they recently competed in their first world championship regatta in the ICLA 6 at the Youth Worlds held in Houston, TX. Some two hundred kids from over thirty countries registered to race and in final results, Tor finished 52nd in Gold Fleet, while Ethan finished first in Bronze, just one point ahead of Connor.

The boys, who are StFYC members and St Francis Sailing Foundation grantees, headed off to Texas in good company: Julian Soto, one of the country’s top Laser coaches, and Al Sargent, a regular competitor on the ICLA circuit (and Ethan’s dad).  After collecting their charter boats, they tailored them with the gear that they brought from their boats back home. In ICLA regattas, most everything is chartered: the hull, mast, boom, daggerboard, and rudder which are standard components, while competitors bring their own sails, tiller, and lines since those tend to be more customized by each sailor.

Finally, boats were inspected to ensure that everything conformed to the strict ILCA rules that place an emphasis on the sailor and their skills, versus the quality of their equipment (note that the ILCA 6 is the medium-sized rig, with six square meter sail, bigger than the LCA 4 and smaller than the ILCA 7).

It was a hot, humid, very windy, and highly competitive regatta: overall, a grueling event as the local boys who raced attested. Day one was practice on Galveston Bay. Day two was a practice race, followed by a run to West Marine to upgrade control systems. Four days of racing followed, there was no sailing on day five due to lightning, and three races were sailed on day six.

At the conclusion of a three day “qualification series” where the sailors were randomly assigned to different fleets of about fifty-two boats each, competitors were then assigned to one of three fleets: Gold (top third), Silver (middle), Bronze (bottom third).

“It was good to make Gold Fleet and given it was my first World’s, I was happy with my result,” Tor noted. “It was a really windy regatta every day, six days of continuous hiking which was challenging. Many of the sailors competing were a lot bigger than me so I was struggling to keep up with them, but I was hiking hard and doing my best.”

Connor and Ethan duked it out in Bronze fleet right up until the final race of the final day.

“Connor came out strong, scoring two bullets and putting him into first place in Bronze with an eight-point lead over Ethan, in second,” Al Sargent said. “He had to only finish 13th or better in the last race. In the last race, Connor and Ethan were close to each other, but then Connor capsized, netting him a 14th place finish in the last race to Ethan’s 5th place.”

Ethan Sargent, who has competed in the ICLA for the past four years commented, “It was the most competitive regatta in which I’ve competed, everyone was on their game and there was not one bad sailor.”

Commenting on what he learned from racing with the best, Svendsen noted that physical fitness is key to sail the Laser at a high international level.

“I have lots of work to do on my fitness game,” he said, “and I also learned a lot about competing in big competitive fleets and how important being consistent is. You really must be big and strong, have endurance and hike really hard. You also have to be quick downwind. There were a lot of speed gains to be made downwind just because the waves were pretty big but there were also opportunities to overtake – if you were overtaking in waves successfully downwind then you could make a lot of gains. Also, starting in a big fleet on a crowded line you have to be really confident in your boat-handling as well as your acceleration and speed off the line.”

The boys also learned the importance of drinking plenty of water and eating properly given the heat and humidity, as temperatures throughout the regatta were in the high nineties, and winds consistently in the teens.

“On land it was really hot, and you just had to stay hydrated and fueled,” Tor commented. “The competition was tough, but I learned a lot and just had a lot of fun just racing. We got to meet a bunch of people from around the world and from around the US which was really cool.”

On October 13, support clinics like the ODP, as well as talented sailors from all backgrounds who are working hard to follow their dreams, at St Francis Sailing Foundation’s Annual Auction event. Tickets are limited: be sure NOT to miss out and book online today at https://www.stfsf.org/.

The largest contribution to the Foundation came from the estate of member and Staff Commodore Tom Allen in his trust. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation in your will or trust. If you or your attorney needs information, call Treasurer Greg Meagher at 510-541-2543.

Results: https://jpvm.org/results/2022/ILCA6_Youth/results.htm
Photos: https://2022ilca6youth.ilca-worlds.org/photos/

Feature Image: (L to R) Tor Svendsen, Ethan Sargent, Connor Bennett / Credit Al Sargent
Other Images: Credit Event Photographers

Michelle SladeRegatta Recap: Hot. Humid. Windy: ILCA 6 Youth Worlds 2022
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Embracing the Process & Going Full Time

Happy to be racing on home turf this weekend in the West Marine / US Sailing Open Sailing Series on San Francisco Bay after some four months training in Europe, Daniela Moroz, World Champion kitefoiler, StFYC member and St Francis Sailing Foundation Grantee, offers some insight into her training, season highlights thus far, and decisions she’s made in order to move forward with her Olympic program. 

The Hyeres French Olympic Week regatta at the end of April was an incredible experience, highlighted by getting to work with a phenomenal sailor, person, and coach, Chris Draper. Most recently, he has been the wing trimmer on the Japanese SailGP Team, but also has an extensive professional and Olympic sailing resume having done more than a few  successful America’s Cup and Olympic campaigns. However, it was his curiosity about kiting and eagerness to learn more about kites and foils that caught my attention when I was looking to work with some different experts to improve certain aspects of my game.

I arrived in Hyeres one week before racing to get some training time in at the venue and begin working with Chris in the lead up to the regatta. We had several days of training and practice racing in different conditions where Chris quickly learned the ropes of coaching kiting and we made some interesting conclusions regarding maneuver losses and different strategies depending on how powered you are on certain kite sizes.

I felt extremely prepared going into this regatta and was excited to start racing. It was another interesting first few days with many ups and downs in the qualifying series. My score line was not as consistent as I usually perform, but I was extremely proud of my progress with what I was working on with my starts and strategies, and Chris’ constant positive feedback was welcome encouragement as I often put too much pressure on myself when certain things didn’t go my way. It certainly wasn’t frustration, it was just a nagging in my mind telling me I could do better, and each race that’s exactly what I tried to do – everything a little bit better.

On the final day of the qualifying series, I managed to get 4 bullets out of 4 races, keeping me in first place and securing my spot in the final, meaning I only had to win one more race in a 4-boat final the following day to take the regatta win.

Finals day came around with a tricky onshore sea breeze. The wind was very marginal but pulsing, meaning there were phases of more wind followed by phases of less wind. Chris helped me identify the phase using the wind mast on the rib, and that information became extremely helpful in determining which side of the course would likely have more pressure by the time my start gun went off. Learning how to best utilize the wind information coming from the instruments on the coachboat was another essential takeaway experience, and it was a significant factor in my decision to start on port for the final race. My start put me in a controlling position off the start line, and then it was all about leading and covering the other 3 boards from there.

Getting to work with Chris was such an honor and an incredible learning experience. He brought a new level of expertise and professionalism that I will carry further into my campaign, and we plan to continue working together here and there throughout the next 2 years.

I finished racing in Hyeres on Saturday, and I needed to be in Hawaii for my final exams at University by Tuesday. I got home to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon and immediately started working on all the schoolwork and final projects I had to catch up on before school on Tuesday. I’m still not entirely sure how I did it – and honestly, I’m not entirely sure how I managed to nearly complete my bachelor degree in 3 years while also doing my Olympic campaign and SailGP – but somehow, I managed to get it done. It was a stressful following few days as I had to complete all my exams, turn in all final projects, and then figure out what was next regarding school. I have a few more classes that I need to complete to get my degree, however they are all high-level in-person classes, and although I am committed to getting my degree, I realized that my current priority is my Olympic campaign, and my current goal is to go to the Games.

I don’t want to look back after the Olympic Trials or Games wishing that I had spent more time training or racing but couldn’t because of school. I decided to take a leave of absence from school for now to focus 100% of my time and energy into my Olympic campaign. I will return to the University of Hawaii in the fall of 2024 to finish up my last credits and officially get my degree. It was a difficult decision however I believe it is the best possible scenario for me right now.

I am extremely thankful for my family, friends, sponsors, coaches, and village for their continued support as I begin to chase my Olympic dreams full time. It’s a very exciting time and I look forward to sharing the journey with you all!

Read more at Daniela Moroz

Images courtesy Daniela Moroz

 

Michelle SladeEmbracing the Process & Going Full Time
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