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Mixing it up with the World’s Best: Charlotte Rose Makes Top 5 at World Championships

Competing in the ICLA 6 at the recent Sailing World Championships in The Hague, the Netherlands, St Francis Sailing Foundation (StFSF) grantee Charlotte Rose took fifth overall, an incredible accomplishment. Both Rose and fellow US Sailing Team member and StFSF grantee Erika Reinecke qualified the USA for Paris 2024 in the ICLA 6. Reflecting at home in Houston and taking some well-earned time off with just a little sailing and some coaching, Rose is feeling good about where she’s at in her quest for Paris 2024.

“Going into the Worlds, I felt a bit nervous the week prior – my main goal at the Worlds was to just qualify the country,” Rose recalled. “There were a lot of rules, and it was my first combined Worlds, so it was a lot to take in with all the other Olympic classes and everyone there. But once racing started it was about focusing on what I could do. It wasn’t just me stressing about country qualification, everyone else was also. I just felt if I could stay as calm as I could and focus on me, I thought the result would end up okay.”

And it did.

Rose had nothing to lose going into the Medal Race. Entering in 5th overall, she’d managed to put enough points between her and 6th place Emma Plasschaert (Belgium), so the only way she could go was up the leaderboard. With all points in play above her, Rose sailed an aggressive final race in very light conditions on the North Sea. She rounded the leeward gate in fifth and ultimately dropped back to 9th to close out the race but stood by her decision to try mostly anything and give it her all.

Throughout the Worlds she found one of the most difficult obstacles was working the North Sea current but leaning on her college sailing experience at Jacksonville University where much of her sailing was on a river with ripping current, she understood how she needed to set up for racing in The Hague.

“Everyone was pretty shocked by the current and I think a lot of sailors were stressed about that and trying to figure it out,” Rose said. “I’m used to current and knew how I’d set up for it, how the windward mark roundings would go etc. I felt like I had a competitive edge on that, having a good sense of how far I was moving on the line etc. because of the current. But honestly, I just felt really fast the entire week, so I trusted my speed, we had pretty decent breeze most of the week, so I felt confident in that.”

Rose noted that she and her coach Alex Saldanha from Brazil (he coached Robert Scheidt in the Rio quad) started working together November 2022 are working well together and had a simple strategy going into the competition.

“I felt like at the Worlds it was business as usual, we had fun, didn’t take it too seriously but we executed what we needed to execute,” she said. “A lot of it was pretty simple, we tried not to make it complicated, I think people tend to over-complicate a lot of it. Alex and I were consistent about communicating, like what I was seeing on the compass, what I thought was going better etc.”

It was fortunate that the Men’s fleet sailed before the Women’s fleet so Rose was able to observe the outcome of their races.

“I’m very visual so I like to watch, see who crosses and who doesn’t, then I share that with Alex, he does all the measurements – how much current is going on, if the line is square and what the wind is doing relative to that,” Rose commented. “We were also on top of the forecast in the morning and very disciplined about, “this is what is happening right now,” and then taking those facts and figuring out how I could immediately apply it to my next race.”

The women who took places first through fourth to beat Rose are literally the best in the world, she noted.

“I’m sailing alongside world champions, Olympic medalists, youth world champions – gold, silver & bronze medalists. I think at the beginning of the season I struggled with intimidation until my coach reminded me that I also deserved to be up there given I’ve won two Youth Worlds and I have a pretty long list of accomplishments. That built my confidence a little more. Finishing fifth, I felt like I deserved it, not in a cocky way but I’ve worked hard to get here.”

Training resumes for Rose in October and although she has a big gap between international competitions with her next big event the 2024 ICLA 6 World Championship at the beginning of January in Argentina., the pressure is on, she reminds.

“The next couple of months is a lot of training, then the World Championship, then a month later is the Olympic trials in Miami, where I have to beat Erika if I want to go to the Olympics,” Rose smiled.

With the close of Worlds, USA has now qualified for Paris 2024 in the following classes:

– 49er, achieved by Andrew Mollerus & Ian MacDiarmid (USST) and Ian Barrows & Hans Henken (USST)

– 49er FX, achieved by Steph Roble OLY & Maggie Shea OLY (USST)

Women’s Formula Kite, achieved by Daniela Moroz (USST)

– ILCA 6, achieved by Charlotte Rose (USST) and Erika Reineke (USST)

Photo credit: US Sailing

Michelle SladeMixing it up with the World’s Best: Charlotte Rose Makes Top 5 at World Championships
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All Eyes on Olympic Hopefuls at 2023 Sailing World Championships

The largest regatta of the year for Olympic athletes is the 2023 Sailing World Championships which kicks off August 11 in The Hague (Netherlands). It’s a massive event mentally and physically for the sailing athletes competing as it’s the first opportunity to qualify the USA in each Olympic class for the Paris 2024. Photo: Hans Henken/Ian Barrows.

Among those participating is a large group of St Francis Sailing Foundation grantees including Louisa Nordstrom/Trevor Bornarth and Stu McNay/Lara Dallman-Weiss (Mixed 470), Ian Barrows/Hans Henken (49er), Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea (49er FX ), Erika Reineke and Charlotte Rose (ILCA 6), Chapman Petersen (ILCA 7), Kai Calder and Markus Edegran (Men’s Formula Kite), Daniela Moroz (Women’s Formula Kite), and Sarah Newberry Moore/David Liebenberg (Nacra 17).

At the Paris 2024 Test Event held in July in Marseille, France, Moroz secured both a bronze medal and her nomination to Team USA. She’s previously won six World Championship titles and hopes to qualify the USA for a Paris 2024 spot at the Worlds. The competition is working her hard this year with rivals Lauriane Nolot (France) and Eleanor Aldridge (UK) performing at the top of their games taking first and second places consecutively at the Test Event. Moroz nonetheless remains positive.

“It was exciting to be racing at the Olympic venue for next year; I think Marseille is a very technical venue,” she said. “It requires a lot of time on the water because every day is so different and such a challenge in different ways, so it was good to train there for five weeks training before the Test Event.”

Moroz commented that the racing was challenging as was to be expected, noting that competitors experienced almost every Marseille wind direction possible from a small mistral to a sea breeze, to offshore breeze; a solid platform to work through moves in all conditions.

“In Marseille I felt like I had good speed most of the time but sometimes I made mistakes with strategy execution especially my starting strategy, so I was struggling to put everything together to get a solid regatta,” Moroz said. “I’m trying to keep my confidence up and I know I am capable of winning regattas and races. We’re working a lot on starts and boat speed – it’s no secret that boat speed makes you a tactical genius! It’s important to be fast in order to execute your strategies.”

Moroz is also excited to have formed a solid training group for the winter; she’ll collaborate with the Kiwis which she believes will be a big aid to her campaign.

“It’s a nice and supportive group of people which was important for me to find because I felt like I wouldn’t be able to get that from other people – it’s such a cut-throat environment the closer you get to the Olympics – people will grow apart from their training partnerships going into the Games whereas I feel like this is a strong long-term partnership where I really trust the people to help me while they work hard to improve themselves and I can help them.”

Henkens and Barrows came out of the Test Event in sixth place. They sailed a good series and went into the medal race two points from the podium, proving to themselves that they are a team more than capable of winning an Olympic at the Paris Games while recognizing areas to improve on at the Worlds this week.

“The past two World Championships we finished 4th and 11th,” Henkens said. “They were both good results, but we are still looking for that break through event to get us on the podium at a major event. Consistency is everything for us, if we focus on staying within our routine and doing the small fundamental things right – clear communication around the racecourse, making sure to take advantage of the easy opportunities, staying within lay lines, starting with space on the line, choosing good times to tack and gybe – I know we will be in it when the end of the regatta comes around.”

Henken added that The Hague is a challenging venue not only because it’s very shifty when it comes from the shore, but it’s a huge tidal venue.

“The current is going to be a huge factor in the racing and getting that aspect right will go a long way to making moves up the leader board,” he said. “It’s clear that anyone can do well right now in the 49er fleet. It’s incredibly competitive. At the last two events in Hyeres and Marseille there were seven teams in the medal race all within four points of each other looking to finish on the podium. It’s all bow-to-bow racing and every point matters. We are in the mix and it’s right where we want to be.”

World Championship Event website:
Entry list: HERE
Tracking: HERE

Note: Any American can qualify the USA for spots in Paris, not just US Sailing Team members.

Photo credit: US Sailing

Michelle SladeAll Eyes on Olympic Hopefuls at 2023 Sailing World Championships
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Following a Fast Passion – Helena Scutt on the 2023 Moth Worlds

I’m excited to share that by the time you read this, I will be living in Barcelona and working as a Mechatronics Engineer for American Magic. I’m pumped to be joining this team and immersing myself in the America’s Cup that combines sailing and engineering at the highest levels. I know I’ll learn a tremendous amount and I can’t wait to get started. In the meantime, I’d like to share a recap of the most important sailing event for me this year: the recent 2023 Wetsuit Outlet and Zhik Moth World Championship which came and went like the wind…well, kind of.

Due to a lack of wind and therefore lack of racing, on the trip home I had a strange feeling of emptiness and disbelief, mixed with gratitude and still raring to go, as if it hasn’t even started yet. We were only able to complete two races per qualifying fleet (two fleets of 64 boats) in seven days. The cruel part is that we had great conditions for over two weeks before the Worlds, and then a terribly unlucky week-long window for the Worlds. It was almost always under 7 knots for a week straight. The days of waiting on shore, starting at 6:30 am in the boat park, and going out to try and start a race all blended together. I finished 36th/128 overall and top female. However, due to the four-race minimum to constitute a World Championship, the event did not count as a Worlds!

I was really glad to have two weeks of boat work and training – mostly boat work! – before the event.  The UK Open, held a couple of days before the Worlds, provided us with five races to tune up for the main event. This regatta showed me that I needed to work on my starts, and that my speed was good.

One highlight was the Women’s and Youth clinic that was held before the UK Open. Lining up for speed tuning and drills with the other female sailors was super fun and we were all buzzing. I can’t wait for more of that! The lowlight was breaking a tiller in a tack when the mainsheet got wrapped around my ankle, just 10 minutes into a practice session the day before the UK Open, and after several 12-hour days of a little sailing and lot of boat work!

Since we only had two races, I’ll go into a bit of detail on each. They both had great moments and both had one big mistake. In the first race of Worlds, I came off the foils in a gybe just before the start. I was able to get foiling just after the start, but most of the fleet was already way ahead. However, with some solid, disciplined strategic decisions and good speed I overtook almost 40 boats to finish 18th. I was able to capitalize on the catch-up opportunities presented by the bottom of the course (gate mark and finish) being so light that boats fell off the foils (including me).

In the second race, I realized the boat end of the start line would be crowded and therefore risky. With just over two minutes to go, I made the decision to start on port. All I had to do was make all of my gybes and time my final approach well. I started on port at the pin with speed, and was able to go to the favored right side. I had good speed and foiling tacks, rounded the leeward gate in the top 15. I should have over stood the gate marks but did not, so I had to do another gybe and round the right hand gate to stay foiling. I thought I saw pressure on the left side of the course along the harbor wall, but it never came, so once I tacked onto port, I had to low-ride (not foiling) almost all the way to starboard layline. Brutal! About ten boats passed me from that bad decision, so I finished 25th.

While waiting for wind, the women in the fleet gathered for a chat on several topics. These badass sailors all have different paths to Moth sailing and they all inspire me. We all shared some thoughts on Moth sailing and how to get started, check it out the conversation here. 

Something I am proud of is my adaptation to new gear just before the event. I only had a couple of days of sailing before Worlds to adjust to using a new Quantum H1M mainsail, short (foil) verticals, and a Bieker V8 main foil. My experience over the past couple of years in setting up and trying different gear, and learning how to get it dialed quickly is starting to pay off! I was able to adjust my technique and make the boat fast without much prep time.

I’d like to thank the UK International Moth Class Association, the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, the event organizers, the many volunteers, the race committee, and the event sponsors. I know this week was just as strange and frustrating for them as for the competitors.  A big thank you goes to the St Francis Sailing Foundation for the support to attend Worlds, and to my sponsors Ronstan and Vakaros. I love Moth sailing for all the following reasons and am excited to be part of the international Moth community:

  • Constant learning on all fronts.
  • The sensation of flying, going fast, landing a smooth tack or gybe.
  • Learning about boatwork and trying new ways to do things.
  • Learning about different foils and sail shapes.
  • The athletic challenge and full-body workout.
  • The mental challenge of training and performing at event.
  • The interesting, passionate people that I meet.
  • The cool places that I get to sail.
  • The opportunity to master new skills: skippering (I was always a crew in double handed boats), being fully responsible for tactics and strategy, and surprising myself with performing under pressure.
  • Lineups, discussions, and laughs with my training partners Richard and Brooks.Inspiring other sailors, especially women and girls, to try Moth sailing. 

Follow me in Barcelona on instagram @helenas9.


Michelle SladeFollowing a Fast Passion – Helena Scutt on the 2023 Moth Worlds
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US Para Team Set Sail for the Allianz Sailing World Championship

Lead image: Betsy Alison, US Sailing Director of Adult programs & Paralympic Coach. Credit: Walter Cooper US Sailing

John Seepe was in the Navy and 26 years old when he started sailing. He claims to have been self-taught and thought he knew how to sail until he started one design racing in the Thunderbird fleet in Seattle in the mid-90s, where he jokes, he got his butt handed to him. His life situation changed dramatically when four years ago he lost his leg, among other serious injuries, in an accident. Nonetheless, he’s still sailing at a highly competitive level, and he’s still smiling.

“I was riding a motorcycle to work when an Uber driver turned left and ran me over at a green light,” Seepe, 61, from North Port, FL, said. “I ended up with a plate in my right wrist, a plate in my left shoulder and my left leg was more or less ripped off.”

Seepe was recently selected to join the US Para Sailing Team, which will represent the United States in all four Paralympic classes at the Allianz Sailing World Championship in the Hague, the Netherlands and taking place in the port of Scheveningen from August 10-20, 2023. Like the rest of his teammates, he has a gracious acceptance of his disability and feels more than anything fortunate to be alive.

“I’m lucky to be here and I’m glad they had enough blood at the blood bank!” he commented good humoredly. “I’m going through physical therapy right now so that my prosthetic will bolt directly onto my leg.”

The team, which was granted funds by the St Francis Sailing Foundation to attend the World Championship, will be led by Betsy Alison, five-time Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year, who will race in the Hansa 303 women’s division. 2008 Paralympic Gold medal winner Maureen McKinnon is also on the team sailing in the RS Venture Connect. Joining the women are John Seepe (2.4 Meter) and Jim Thweatt (Hansa 303 men’s division). Shan McAdoo will sail on the RS Venture Connect with McKinnon. All five are veteran sailors with loads of experience under their belts and selected based on their outstanding sailing resumes.

The combined World Championships is a major stop on the road to the Paris 2024 Games and is one of the biggest international events with over 1500 sailors expected on the 2023 Olympic and Para sailing calendar. Up to forty countries and some 125+ sailors are expected to race in the Para classes on Brassemermeer (a lake between Amsterdam and the Hague), and several countries like the US will field a team in each of the Para Sailing events.  This is the first time that the Para classes will be sailing the combined World Championships alongside their Olympic counterparts, a meaningful action by World Sailing for Para Sailors as Alison acknowledges.

“In past iterations of this combined World Championship, it’s always been Olympic classes gathering together to compete; Para classes were never invited to sail Worlds at the same time,” Alison (age 62 From Newport, RI) commented. “World Sailing leadership has worked really hard over the last 8 or 9 years to get sailing back into the Paralympic Games, and they realize that elite sailing at the Para level is really important to recognize. We had hoped that our application to the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) for re-inclusion would result in a positive response from the IPC and that we would be back on the slate of events for LA 2028. That did not happen, but World Sailing recognized nonetheless that having this combined World Championship, which happens every four years, was an important event to include the Para classes and this is the first time it’s ever been done.”

Seepe sailed the Hansa 303, the RS Venture Connect but fell in love with the 2.4m and committed to the boat in December 2019 when he received a grant boat from the Clagett Foundation. His training program leading into the Worlds is impressive. In late June he’ll compete in the US Para Championships at Clagett Regatta/US Para Sailing Championship in Newport, RI. From there Seepe heads to Finland for the Nordic Championships in the middle of July, followed by the 2.4 World Championships also in Finland  which finishes on August 5. On August 6, he flies to the Hague for the World Championships.

“You always go out hoping for the best and obviously you want to go into the Clagett building off everything and that’s really what my hopes are,” Seepe said. “Most of our sailing is done on tidal water so I think there will be a little bit of learning there – Clagett is on tidal water – and the following two regattas – the Nordic Championships and the 2.4 Worlds will both be on lakes so it will be good to get some lake sailing in prior to the Netherlands where the Worlds Sailing Championships will be sailed.”

Thweatt has been involved in adaptive sports since the ‘70s after losing his leg in high school. He learned how to ski, joined the ski team, skied for 20 years, and sailed in the summer coastal sailing off Dana Point in Southern California. A physical therapist, Thweatt became interested in racing as a Para sailor after watching Paralympic quadriplegic sailor Paul Callahan in the Sonar at the Sydney Olympics in 2002. Thweatt said to his wife at that time, “You know, I can do that sport.”

Thweatt (69, from West Sacramento, CA), started training, attending Betsy’s camps, and learning as much as he could and training as hard as he could on the water and in the gym. He has sailed with and competed in the Hansa fleet out of San Francisco for the past 20 years and competed in multiple Paralympic campaigns in the three-person Sonar class as well as PHRF sailing on San Francisco Bay.

“The Hansa 303 is an interesting boat, it’s a great platform because of its side-by-side seating which can accommodate 2 people, but at the Worlds, we will be sailing in a single person format,” Thweatt explained. “It’s considered a non-technical boat, but you can still get a lot of out of it. A number of Paralympic athletes have gone from the Sonar and other boats that are no longer a Para Sailing class into the Hansa, so the field is deep.”

Thweatt added that the Hansa is the only Para Sailing class boat readily available on the west coast for racing, there are a few 2.4m and RS Venture Connect boats and sailors but not in fleets,  the Hansa fleet has training programs in Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego where he has run three races this year.

Alison got involved with Para sailing in 1998 when she was invited to coach two of the Sonar teams at the 1998 Disabled World Championships held in Newport, RI. She knew nothing about coaching people with disabilities at that time, then over the next twenty years learned a whole lot, she acknowledged with a wry smile. When Para sailing was removed from the slate of Paralympic sports in 2016, Alison transitioned from coaching Paralympic Sailing within US Sailing to become director of adult programs, adaptive sailing now falls under her purview.

Since 2021, Alison has been the Chair of the Para World Sailing Committee, and not thinking for a minute that she would one day be a recipient of her efforts on this committee until she acquired a disability in November 2022 when she underwent surgery for a massive cancerous tumor in her left hip which left her with very little bone structure and very little muscle in her left hip. Now, she will not only lead the US Para team at the World Championships, but she will also be racing the Hansa 303 in the women’s division. She’s not driven a car or sat in a boat since her surgery given the discomfort of sitting for extended periods but is hopeful to get some time on the Hansa before too long.

“A lot of my training will be dependent on whether I can find a Hansa to sail more locally, and I promise I will get in a boat and sail it prior to going to Europe!” Alison said determinedly. “I’m going to be very reliant on my skill sets from having been an active racer for over fifty years and taking those tactical/technical skills and head-out-of-the-boat skills to put them to the test on shorter course lake sailing – that type of environment that really does put a premium on what you know and how you apply it on the water.”

Commenting on the Hansa, Alison noted that it is limited in terms of possible adjustments putting a premium on trimming sails well and getting one’s head out of the boat and sailing technically well.

“It’s still about finding the shifts, the puffs – what good sailors do all the time – you can’t necessarily fall back on adjustments although there are small things that you can do in this non-technical boat to make it faster and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

McAdoo and McKinnon who hail from the same yacht club in Beverly, MA, began sailing together after McKinnon’s long time gold medal teammate Nick Scandone passed away in 2009.

“Shan knows me as an able-bodied walking-on-earth kind of person, and I’ve known him prior to his MS diagnosis,” McKinnon (58, from Salem, MA) explained. “When Nick passed away and I needed a teammate, I knew of Shan’s diagnosis and that he probably had the ability to qualify as a disabled sailor at the very high end. But he wasn’t ready to be part of that and felt as though he was a bit of an imposter in our group as his disability wasn’t yet obvious.”

McAdoo and McKinnon have tried different two-person boats and the Worlds will be the first time that they will race together in the RS Venture Connect, a three-sailboat with a main, jib and small asymmetrical spinnaker, centralized controls, and fixed seats for participants so those with severe disabilities can be in the boat without sliding around.

“We have done some training on the Charles River (Boston) to get ready for the event,” McKinnon noted. “The RS Venture is a spinnaker boat that is considered technical, with lots of lines similar to the SKUD18 while maybe not as powerful. Our boat has less sail area, especially the spinnaker. I’m really looking forward to sailing an asymmetric again, it’s been a very long time, I’m really looking forward to sailing with Shan!”

McKinnon added that the inclusion of Para sailors in the Worlds is eventful to the team and an important measure of equality between Para sailors and able-bodied counterparts.

Raised on cruising boats throughout the Caribbean and southeastern US, moving into racing was a natural progression for McAdoo from a young age.

“I did a lot of able-bodied racing but as my MS has set in and done its job, I have been happily received in the disabled sailing community and I have been grateful for that,” McAdoo (56, from Essex, MA) said. “The fantastic thing about being a sailor is you get to keep sailing. This sport is unbelievable for its ability to be an adaptive sport. As my MS has progressed and things have gotten harder for me in every other aspect of life, I can still keep sailing; that is what excites me and that is what I am looking forward to.”

He added, laughing, “I’m a little anxious to be honest – we have a woman on this team who has five Rolex watches and another woman who has a gold medal. If this team doesn’t produce some results, it’s going to be the new guy’s fault. I’m just excited to be part of the team and can hardly wait to get over there and stretch our wings.”

*In addition to funding by the St Francis Sailing Foundation, this effort is being mostly self-funded by the participants. The team has put together a website with pictures and bios here. The team is seeking any tax-deductible contribution you can provide through the KMAC Foundation, scan code below.

Note: Currently, Para sailing is not on the current slate of events for either Paris 2024 or LA 2028.  Para sailing was removed by the IPC after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games citing that World Sailing only provided proof of 31 countries participating not meeting the IPC minimum number of countries (32) that were expected to be regularly practicing the sport worldwide. World Sailing redoubled its efforts to support and grow Para sailing worldwide through Paralympic Development Program (PDP) clinics in developing nations around the world, providing coaching and instruction for both sailors and coaches around the world.  Over the past several years, PDPs have helped grow Para sailing to approximately 40 countries on all continents.  There are programs in Asia, Oceania, Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Northern Africa and South Africa.  Competition to get into the Games is fierce with far more sports wanting inclusion than the number of slots available.  World Sailing is determined to keep the pedal down with sights on Australia for the 2032 Paralympic Games.

Michelle SladeUS Para Team Set Sail for the Allianz Sailing World Championship
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Youth Wing Foiler Henry Vare Prevails in Local & International Competition

Henry Vare, 14, a freshman at Redwood, and St Francis Sailing Foundation grantee, is coming off a successful month of wing foil competition, starting with the Spring Wing Ding Pacific Coast Championships in mid-April where he finished second in the youth (under-19) division, and sixth overall in a 60-strong fleet.

He then traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to compete in the 2023 Wingfoil Racing North American Championships. During the four-day event, Henry won three races and consistently finished in the top three places. Henry finished first in the junior division, and second overall.

In a span of two weeks, Henry beat every single competitor he raced against at least once – except for Johnny Heineken! In the words of another competitor, “Henry crushed it- an awesome competitor, great sportsman, and so fun to race with!”

Michelle SladeYouth Wing Foiler Henry Vare Prevails in Local & International Competition
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Erika Reineke: An Awesome Time For Women in Sailing

It’s not easy for an Olympic hopeful to sit on the bench while her nemeses are hitting the all-important major pre-Olympic European events, like the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia held in Palma de Mallorca. But Erika Reineke is still rehabilitating an injury, albeit on the home stretch, that she incurred back in February racing with the US SailGP team in Sydney, Australia. She was running across the trampoline on a tack and got her foot stuck in a small little space on the tramp; she was wearing new shoes and the tip of the shoe was just the perfect size to get stuck. She fell and broke her ankle badly.

“It was kind of a freak accident,” Reineke smiled wryly. “Fortunately, I still have plenty of time to get strong again before the Olympic test event this summer for which I qualified. The unfortunate part is that I wasn’t able to participate in Palma, but I’ll only miss that one major Olympic event.”

Reineke’s experience this quad is completely different to her lead up to the 2020 Olympics, held in 2021. In 2017, she had just graduated from college and was finally able to sail full-time for the first time. This time around Reinecke has had a lot less time in her boat of choice, the Laser Radial, because she started out a 2024 campaign in the 49’er FX with best friend Lucy Wilmot.

“I fell back into the Worlds not knowing what to expect and ended up doing super well,” she commented. “The boat felt good beneath me, and even though I had just two years in this current quad to get up to speed, I had the right people behind me this time to build on what I have learned over the past couple of quads and really execute. My confidence last quad versus this quad is way higher even with less time.”

When asked how challenging it is to switch boats at this level, Reineke, a St Francis Sailing Foundation grantee reported, “I had a such a good background in the Radial already, although I have never sailed with a carbon bottom section because in the last quad we had an aluminum bottom section. When I got back in the boat it felt a little weird to me – the sheeting was a little different, the sail settings were a little different but once I got put in the right direction by my coach – this is the layout and this is what should be good – I took off and it was fine.”

As Reineke explained, in a boat like the 49er versus the Radial, the tactics are similar as are the over-arching big picture themes. A difference in a fast boat like the FX or sailing the F50 or any foiling boat is that the speed is greater so there are fewer boat handling maneuvers that you want to do compared to smaller boats.

“Hopping back and forth between boats, I think it would be hard for anyone to go from the Radial into the FX and expect to perform well because that boat is really boat-handling specific – you need many days to actually nail the boat handling and the settings,” Reineke said. “The Radial is different – you can boat handle relatively quickly and if you know how to sail and start – the big picture things – you’re already in the game.”

Going it alone versus having someone to share the journey has been a transition for Reineke but she and Wilmot continue to talk most days.

“I do feel like she is still very much involved in this campaign, she’s very supportive,” Reineke said. “We still bounce ideas off each other and even though I am alone in my boat, I do have Eric Bowers, my coach nearby. He lives in my hometown (Fort Lauderdale) so we catch up regularly – we talk daily about sailing, logistics, strength and conditioning. I’m just so head over heels excited to have Eric nearby. Steve, for example, in the last quad and most of the coaches I have had during Olympic sailing have lived in different countries so the access to them wasn’t as frequent so having access to Eric every single day which is this maximized opportunity for learning.”

Reineke considers that she is well positioned in the top ten internationally in the fleet thanks to her experience in the boat. She notes that she’s really had to pay attention to her weight, having sailed the last quad too light which she believes ultimately hindered her performance especially at really breezy events.

“I’ve really been able to get much stronger which has really upped my skills – once I got the right weight it was clear that I am very competitive with the top girls,” Reineke stated with confidence. “Tactically and strategically, I am positioned well as I have had more experience in different boat classes which helps my tactical and strategical game plan. Sailing the 49er FX, where you are constantly trying to get leverage on the course and sailing faster boats, we’re limited by certain things and we’re always just figuring out what the limitations are. That experience has been really helpful, so despite my current situation I feel very confident against the fleet!”

Sailing pretty much consumes Reineke’s life these days, beyond her Olympic campaign, she’s also working with the US SailGP team, and the America’s Cup (AC) Women’s team, balancing three very high-level aspects of the sport. She’s participated in recent AC camps that American Magic/New York Yacht Club have organized which are gaining momentum as the Cup gets closer. She’s also excited about life post Olympics as the time right now for women in sailing is heating up.

“I think they all really complement one another, I’m taking each day at face value and trying to learn as much as I can, these are all huge opportunities, and both SailGP and the AC Women’s sailing translates significantly to my quad training,” she said. “While my personal goal is to go back to school and get my MBA after sailing, the women’s professional circuit is just starting and I think it’s a real opportunity. The women’s America’s Cup team, females on the SailGP boats, I’m getting more excited about the Moth Worlds – I feel so lucky that these opportunities are coming along!” – Michelle Slade


Michelle SladeErika Reineke: An Awesome Time For Women in Sailing
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Fingernails for Pitons

By Kimball Livingston

Paige Railey’s unique sailing career has been an inspiration to many and, to her, at times, a trial. Through seventeen years of StFYC membership, she has never failed to make us proud to know her, proud to claim her. This piece, written by an admirer and reprinted by permission of Sailing World Magazine, explores the frontiers of ambition and what it means to live on thin air at the high end of competition.

Paige Railey has survived failure. She’s even survived success. But she might not accept those words. Defeats? Oh yeah. Wins? Big wins. The latest chapter in her sailing career strikes a different note, a new direction (almost). And she has a message that resonates. To appreciate it, however, take a deeper dive into her life since she joined the US Sailing Team 19 years ago, hitting the highest highs and lowest lows, achieving everything there is to achieve in a Laser Radial except an Olympic medal. Think about it. She was a teenage phenomenon, a world champion, World Sailor of the Year, Rolex Yachtswoman of the year. Twice she went to the Games. Twice she came away empty handed. And then—

Setting her hopes for a third medal shot on the 2020 US Trials, posting a selfie on social media showing herself in a hospital bed, Railey had this to say: “Olympian or sick? Who says you can’t be both? I have an immune system that struggles to fight infection (deficiency). It attacks my vascular system (autoimmune). I’m weak. I can’t do one pullup or even squat my body weight. My lungs have been through hell. I’m up for a CT scan and a bronchoscopy, and I have only months to get it together for the next Olympic Trials Event. To hell with being secretive about my health.”

If that was the only time Railey had been down, this wouldn’t be a story. Refusing to give in has been her story, over and again. She has been an inspiration, especially to the young. Once upon a time, Railey was speaking to a group of teenage sailors when Coach Brent suggested that maybe the kids had questions: “How about you, Zoe? What would you like to ask Paige?”


“Surely you have something on your mind.”

Awkward silence.

Asked, later, what that was about, Zoe replied:

“I was too awestruck.”

Growing up in Clearwater, Florida, Railey’s early sailing was overshadowed by big brother Zach. Her first goals were “to have my own name and beat the boys.” That much was settled when she won the Laser Radial Youth Worlds at 16, but Railey doesn’t recall a lightbulb Olympic dream moment. She says, “I just saw the Olympics as the logical extension of a love of sailboat racing.”

As other victories came along—she won the first Grade 1 event she ever sailed, the 2006 Radial Worlds—she says she stayed grounded and, “never allowed myself to get carried away. I believed in a stepping-stone career. I always saw room for improvement, and you have to keep up with changes as new people come in.”

It would be fair to say that in 2006, Railey came in with a bang. It would also be fair to say that in 2008 it was haunting to lose the Olympic Trials, barely, to gold medalist-to-be Anna Tunnicliffe (Tobias). That leads to a phrase that pops up more than once whenever Railey thinks back over her 34 years, “unfinished business.”

Then it was on to the United Kingdom in 2012 as the winner of the US Trials, but 2012 became the first Olympiad since 1936 in which no American sailor won a medal. Railey decided that was, “Like going through a toll booth.”

Her future beckoned. Then came the bike wreck, August 24, 2014:  a fractured spine; teeth knocked out; 50 stitches. For those strong of stomach, I’ll briefly note that Railey had tendons sticking out when the medics arrived. Would anyone have blamed her had she packed it in for a career in backyard badminton? She remembers too well, “I went a long time without being able to hold a coffee cup.” In rehab, Railey scaled her personal mountain, using fingernails for pitons.

Photo by Allison Chenard / US Sailing Team

Back in the boat, much later, relearning how to use her body, she missed winning the 2016 Worlds by one point but again won the Trials and arrived in Rio, she believed, “at a peak.”

Then, out of nowhere, “The day before measurement I was laid up in bed in the fetal position, running a fever, coughing up ugly stuff. I went into my second Olympics dog-sick. I tried my hardest, but it didn’t work.”

A virus was blamed. Brother Zach had come away from the 2008 Games with a silver medal. Paige came away in 2016 with a need to curl up on her parents’ sofa and let time go by. (Time went by.)

Glossing over details lest this read like the Book of Job, Railey spent a hellish 2017 in and out of hospitals: “We just didn’t know what was going on.”

But, jumping ahead to 2018, and feeling good again, she says, “My unfinished business bothered me, so I committed to another campaign. A month later I could not get out of bed.”

Speaking of bother. But Railey at last connected with the small network of specialists who could diagnose her condition and begin treating her with heavy drugs that “felt like death every morning.” More time went by, and when she ventured out again for the first time, “It was blowing 30 knots. I was a liability. I sailed in.”

Moving to 2018, strong enough now to pull “I think eleventh” at World Cup Miami, she was “slowly rebuilding my body. I was getting podium finishes. I thought things were looking up. Then my lungs started hurting. I pushed through and placed second in 2019 at World Cup Miami, with more podium events after that. I was thinking, this is where I need to be.”

Then good regattas began to fall apart. Her body would give out in the late races. “I had trouble breathing, going upwind,” she says. “I’d go delirious.”

She attempted to race the test event in Japan but, losing weight, struggling to breathe and weakening, Railey left Japan early and went to a specialist in New York. “We found out how far the disease had progressed. This is where things got really difficult.”

She says that last with no show of irony. And this is where we came in, with our sailor flat down in a hospital bed looking at a five-month runway to a showdown. Yes, she eventually made it out of the hospital, still weak. Yes, she sailed the Trials knowing it would take “mind over body.” Yes, she “redlined,” mind over body. And she won. “I had no idea how I’d cope with the Games,” she says. “Then Covid hit. That bought time, but I kept running into walls [insert paragraphs from the Book of Job] and I settled for daily, small goals.”

Railey returned to Japan in 2021, healthy enough, she says, and ready enough for the delayed Olympics but not ready for the downdraft-cascade-disaster that was barrel rolling her way. Once again, “I felt great, excited to perform. Then, every decision I made was wrong. Just wrong. Everyone knows that in any sailing career you’re going to have that event, but please, not at the Olympics, please not at my third Olympics. I wish I could say it was because I was stressed out, nervous, but it was none of that.”

In three Olympiads, one of the greatest sailors of her generation had finishes of 8, 10 and 37.  It happened. She will never forget that last “horrific result. But look at what I did to be there at all.”

This writing was sparked by a social media post, here edited and condensed: “I packed my boat and turned my back. I was so numb and crushed from Tokyo 2020 that I didn’t have the heart to do anything sport related. This past weekend, I sailed again, and it wasn’t about results. It was about reconnecting to the love I have always felt for sailing. The second day of racing hit me like a ton of bricks and, finally, I began processing what happened over the last Olympic Cycle. Let me tell you, it hurts so incredibly much.

“I’ve seen unachieved dreams break people to the point that they never return to the thing they once loved most and, honestly, I’ve been on the brink. Sailing again was my rescue. To all those athletes who are in this place, who might walk away, I say don’t. We each loved our sport long before we set out to take over the world. If we come home broken, it’s important to remember why we started. We fought for our dreams. Today I’m fighting for a love I’ve had since I was eight years old. Sailing is not just a sport. It’s part of me.”

As 2022 ran its course, she declared she is “not retired” from Olympic sailing.

In 2023 she showed up racing sail #214458, apologizing for her hiking form.

Zoe, do you have any questions for Paige?


Michelle SladeFingernails for Pitons
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Charlotte Rose – campaigning the ICLA 6 for Paris 2024!

“This coming season is going to be super busy; I’ll be sailing my first Palma event in May and I’m super excited about it. This year will be my first-year full-time campaigning and I think a lot of this year is about really honing in on racing. Last year was about getting to know the fleet and especially the international fleet. 2023 is about putting the hammer down and breaking into the top ten, so a race-oriented focus and on speed-work as well.”

Charlotte Rose grew up in Houston, TX, where she is based. Now twenty-two, she started sailing when she was nine and got into the Laser when I was 13. She’s competed at a high level in the ICLA at international events since she was 16: she went to the Youth Worlds twice in 2017 and 2018 taking the championship title both times in the Girl’s Laser Radial fleet. She won the 2021 NAs, and won silver at the Pan Am Games. Rose graduated last year from Jacksonville University, a small school where she sailed on the college team and has been into Olympic sailing since she was 18.

“I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics since I was nine,” Rose said. Now I’m done with school I can focus on sailing more intensively rather than worrying about school. 2024 is a goal so I’ll see how this quad goes, then hopefully I’ll be going for 2028 in Los Angeles as well.”

Rose’s schedule these days is all about training, getting better, getting fit, and getting on the international circuit, she explained.

“Getting experience racing in a big fleet against previous Olympians and those like me who are campaigning for the first time – that’s what campaigning is all about,” she said.

Last November Rose started working with coach Alex Saldanha from Brazil. Saldanha grew up with – and coaches – Robert Scheidt, an international Laser legend. She believes her strengths going into the 2023 international summer events are her speed and overall natural racing instincts.

“Alex has been great, and the coaching is making a difference,” she noted. “I feel like I have a really good understanding of my compass numbers, and putting up consistent results, and I’m pretty confident in my speed and fitness against the international fleet for sure,” she smiled.

She’d liked to think with work on starts and her mind set that she has potential to make her way into the top ten this year.

“I’m becoming more confident starting at ends, and more confident with my mind set which I think is my biggest thing, keeping a cool head and focusing on what I need to focus on,” she acknowledged. “I think if I really focus on those things going into these events, I can break into the top ten. At the World Championship last year in Houston, I went into the last day in 6th although unfortunately I had two bad races and fell out and finished 14th overall. I feel like if I have really good starts, really good races and can keep my head on straight I can do it.”

Rose has been in the Laser for a long time, and she still just simply loves the boat.

“It’s not particularly a very fast boat I have to say, but just the amount of physical effort and the mental effort that goes into the sport resonates with me a lot,” Rose commented. “Every decision you make is super important. I’m also a super physical person so I like working hard- the Laser is one of the most physical boats out there and I like the reward you get from working so hard, it’s what drives me the most. I just love sailing in general!”








Michelle SladeCharlotte Rose – campaigning the ICLA 6 for Paris 2024!
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An Open Letter to Our Olympic Athletes

The following letter has been sent to our Olympic athletes. We are publishing it here as it may be of interest to the wider sailing community.

The St. Francis Sailing Foundation has a long, proud tradition of leading the development and funding of Olympic sailors in the United States, and we take that commitment very seriously. We understand that the journey to an Olympics can’t be realized alone; it truly takes a village. Especially in light of the recent events at US Sailing, we want to reassure you that we remain a key part of that village for all of you.

Whether through our grants program, or enabling you to tap into our network of past Olympians and high-performance coaches for advice, guidance and mentorship, the St. Francis Sailing Foundation provides the support and resources necessary for elite American sailors such as yourselves to pursue excellence at the Games. We understand that the journey to the Olympics requires many different kinds of support, and we as an organization stand ready to assist you – financially, developmentally and emotionally.

Since 1985, the St. Francis Sailing Foundation has made it our mission to support young sailors just beginning their sailing careers, competitive sailors as they advance, and world-class sailors seeking world-class competition. We are incredibly thankful for the donors and partners who believe in the power of sport and have come together to also be important parts of your villages.

Most importantly, please remember that we’re here to support you and do what we can to help. We want to keep the channels of communications always open between you and the Foundation.


Your friends at the St. Francis Sailing Foundation

The FoundationAn Open Letter to Our Olympic Athletes
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Life in the Fast Lane – Moroz Wins Big in Florida

Catching up with Daniela Moroz on Monday morning as she was driving to return Finn sailor Luke Muller’s van which she borrowed from him for her winter season in Florida, the 22-year-old shared her thoughts after a long albeit hugely successful week. She took home her fourth Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award, presented at the Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year Awards dinner during the US Sailing Leadership Forum held in St Petersburg, FL, and took first at the West Marine US Open Series/Clearwater, winning the three-series Florida event.

What does a fourth Rolex award mean to you?
DM: I guess it’s just a reflection of how I have been working over the past few years and how I’ve created a sustainable campaign and a sustainable system of just working hard. I am re-reading “Chasing Excellence” (it’s really good!) which talks about how passion will outperform drive every time so I think it’s also a reflection of my passion for the sport and for just trying to improve and work hard.

Looking back on your first award, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the six years since that first award?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is honestly just come to me pretty recently is that time is your most valuable asset. Doing an Olympic campaign especially is a game of how well you spend that time and how you choose to spend your time and how you can optimize the time that you are given to maximize all your minutes. The nice thing about an Olympic campaign is that you know exactly how much time is left, so 536 days until the Games now, It’s a great equalizer and everybody is on that same deadline. Whoever makes the most of that time is probably going to be the most successful.

Does winning a fourth award feel different to receiving the first three?
DM: (Big grin) Yeah, a little bit. The first one was a bit of a surprise, but it was also like it’s just one. Once the second and third came around, I was like, whoa, are you guys sure I’m qualified for this (laughs hard) but it’s really special and I’m so happy to be able to share it with my family also.

If you had to name three things that helped you succeed in 2022 which culminated in you winning this award, what would they be?
First, definitely my team who I have been working with – coach Chris and my technical advisor Nate. Second, not winning regattas over the summer – I think that forced me to change my approach a little bit and change my campaign and come back at the end. Third, just staying positive through the whole thing, it wasn’t always going the way I wanted it to go.

Emotionally, do you think that was the first time in your racing career that you’ve felt that?
I felt it a little bit when I had first got into racing – 2014 and 2015, and even a little at the beginning of 2016 because I knew I was really capable of winning but I still had so much to learn and when it didn’t go my way I was pretty upset because I just wanted to win so badly. That feeling resurfaced last summer I was better able to handle it because I now have so much experience and I have really good people behind me so I know that this environment is very capable of producing good results so now its just about figuring out what we need to change going into the end of the year and into the World Championships in order to do that.

What advice do you have for other sailors shooting for the top?
DM: It’s good to have big ambitions and big goals but the biggest piece of advice is to really fall in love with the process and the daily grind. If you have a good definition of success then that success will come but you really have to fall in love with working hard and doing everything you can every single day in order to get better.

Moving on to your West Marine US Open Series/Florida success, tell us about the challenges, highlights, and competition?
These events were pretty significant for qualification and I think the most challenging part of the selection process were the conditions. In Miami we had unreliable conditions so you didn’t know how many races you were going to get so you had to be a little bit conservative at the beginning because you wanted to put good scores up at the beginning of the regatta because you weren’t sure how many days of racing you were going to get in – that was one thing. It was kind of the same thing in Clearwater because the forecast wasn’t looking that good so we weren’t sure how many days of racing we’d get.

After the first day in Clearwater, I had one good race and one UFD and we only had two races that day so I had to sit with that for a couple of days. We couldn’t race on the second day due to conditions so I was definitely a bit antsy going into the third day thinking I really needed to get some good results and scores up but then it happened to be a tricky day conditions-wise. But, it was nice to see – also in Miami – a lot of things that Chris and I had really worked on in December come through. That was super rewarding. I’ve never been really good at pin end starts but all of those pin end starts we did every single day for three weeks in December (laughs) are finally paying off. I’m now super comfortable at the pin end!

That’s funny – what do you think your issue with the pin end has been?
I don’t know (laughs) – I’ve always been pretty good starting at the boat or like in the first third of the line closest to the boat but any further to that I would always feel uncomfortable. I always liked having the option to tack out and that gave me so much comfort. Now I am finally comfortable maybe being a little bit pinned and then having to mode myself out of there, so go super high mode and maybe cut someone off then eventually be able to tack across. I used to be very uncomfortable with that but now, to be really confident in that position has transformed my racing and you could see that at this last event. I was really happy about that.

How was the competition?
DM: It was good. Lauriane Nolot (France) was in Miami, she was second at the Worlds last year, and in Clearwater we had the British girls and they’re all in the top ten and strong riders. It was nice to get some of the Europeans over and it was a nice way for me to check in with where I am at after the first bit of winter training – it was really the only opportunity to race between the Worlds last October and the Princesa Sofia regatta which will be in Spain in April. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at (big smile).

Who do you have shoreside during regattas to help you out and give you the between-races-support that is crucial?
At the Worlds and in my training block before the Worlds, I brought Nate Housberg (Jamestown, RI) into my team and he was a huge help in the equipment optimization process. He also helped a lot on the beach when I was racing. Nate is moving onto to normal real life with a real job (!) so unfortunately I can’t work with him anymore so I trialed someone new at the Clearwater regatta – Tucker Atterbury (Santa Barbara, CA). He’s super excited to help out and be part of the team and see where I can make some gains. I think he’ll be a good addition to my team this year.

What’s your day to day looking like these days?
DM: When I’m training, I usually do a gym session in the morning then I’ll check in with Chris to see how the conditions are looking for the day. I’ll go home, have breakfast, and check the forecast and see what we’re looking at for the next few days. I’ll either head to the beach soon after that or if we have to wait then I’ll have lunch then head to the beach and usually do a two hour session, then come in, debrief and review any video that Chris took, do all my notes from the session, then cook dinner, do my recover routine in the evening – I usually wear compression boots for my legs, things like that, and go to sleep.

Are you pretty tired by the end of the day?
DM: Yeah, especially if we’ve been doing a routine like that for a week or so, I’m definitely feeling it by the end.

What are you going to do with your fourth Rolex watch?
DM: (Laughs) That’s a good question! I think I’m going to give it to my grandma – she came to the last two World Championships – she’s a big supporter!

30 Sep 2000: JJ Isler and Pease Glasez of the USA celebrate silver in the Womens 470 Class Sailing at Rushcutters Bay on Day 15 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Mandatory Credit: Mike Hewitt /Allsport

St Francis Sailing Foundation Board Member JJ Fetter, also holds the distinction of being honored four-times as Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year (’97, ’91, ’86, 2000). Here she shares HER memories of winning her fourth Rolex award 23 years ago.

Taking a trip down memory lane, what emotions do you recall about winning your fourth Rolex?
I remember it was such a special occasion at NYYC especially because I got to share the award with my Olympic teammate Pease Glaser!  And we celebrated with my junior sailing instructor Mark Reynolds and his Olympic teammate Magnus Liljedahl. But it was also bittersweet because I knew it would likely be my last since I was stepping back from competing to focus on raising my two daughters (who were almost two and seven and hadn’t seen much of their mom in the final year of my Olympic campaign).

How old were you & what events had you succeeded in to get you the nomination that year?
I just did that math and I was 36 when I won the fourth award (yikes since it was quite a while ago!). Pease and I had won the silver medal in the Sydney games, so it was an amazing year, but you never take it for granted that you’ll get the award.

What did the fourth award mean to you?
It meant so much because my four Rolex awards span fourteen years.  Being nominated is such a big honor, especially since, as we all know, it’s very subjective to try to compare sailing achievements across different sailing disciplines. There were certain years (such as when Pam Healy and I won the 470 Worlds in 1991) where we were nominated but didn’t win — so getting the watch is always special!

What advice do you have for Daniela as she works toward her first Olympics?
: I’m so impressed with Daniela and the way she continues to set such a high bar for herself, especially when the rest of the world and all those well-funded Olympic programs are gunning for her.   I’m not sure she has any weaknesses, but my advice would be to make sure she continues to be creative with her training plans to turn any weaknesses into strengths. Too often sailors practice their strengths (tactical teams always want to race, speedy teams always want to do line-ups).

What did you do with your four watches?
JJ: I gave my fourth watch to my dad, my third watch to my mom, my second watch to my Olympic teammate Pam Healy (who had deserved to win the award with me) and I kept the first one!  But Rolex let me have a behind-the-scenes tour where they engraved my watch with all four years.

How do you view the work of the Foundation, not just grants but the high level mentoring, plays into successes like Daniela?
JJ: What I love about the St. Francis Sailing Foundation is that its support is transformative not only for top sailors like Daniela but also for the thousands of San Francisco public school kids who have had the opportunity to learn about sailing at Treasure Island. I was so honored the last few years to be an advisor to the Foundation and see the dedication of the Board. Pam Healy has recently finished her term as the President, and not only did she lead an amazing fundraising team, but she has been a wonderful mentor to so many of these Olympic and Olympic Development sailors.


Michelle SladeLife in the Fast Lane – Moroz Wins Big in Florida
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