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Daniela Moroz joins U.S. SailGP Team for SailGP Season 2

4x World Champion Kite Foiler & 2 x Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year “Stoked to Fly”

Daniela Moroz, 4-time Kitefoil World Champion and 2-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year, will join the U.S. SailGP Team as they compete in sailing’s premiere international racing championship SailGP for its second season. Moroz, who intends to launch a 2024 Olympic campaign in the new Formula Kite class, will join the eight other participating teams in Bermuda leading up to the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess kicking off April 24-25.

From the San Francisco Bay Area, Moroz, 20, is one of two women (the other is Hawaii-based CJ Perez) selected by the U.S. SailGP Team to join the roster this year.

“We were overwhelmed by the quality of athletes who applied, and our entire sailing team took part in the selection process,” said Jimmy Spithill, U.S. SailGP Team Helmsman. “Daniela brings to our team an impressive amount of foiling ability which is paramount to racing at this level. We’re excited to welcome her to the roster and develop her talent further.”

New to SailGP, in Bermuda Moroz will learn as much as possible about SailGP’s racing platform – the F50 foiling catamaran – as part of a new athlete development program aimed at introducing her to the technical and athletic skills needed to operate the high-performance boat.

Moroz, a junior at the University of Hawaii, is thrilled to join the team, and has made the most of the short time since being selected to prepare for Bermuda. 

“I took a much-needed break from kitefoiling last year which really reignited the spark,” Moroz, considered one of the world’s most talented kite foilers, commented. “I’m now back in a consistent training regime, whether it be alone or with the US Sailing Team in various locations, and have been able to further focus my own foiling skills plus stay in great shape. I’ve been putting in time with sailors like Riley Gibbs (member US Olympic Sailing Team/Nacra 17, and Team United States SailGP wing trimmer in season 1), who has been a huge help in sharing audio and video training content and technical information on (boat) controls which I’ll be studying going into Bermuda.”

Charlie McKee who coached Moroz this past winter in Florida, noted, “This is a fantastic opportunity for Daniela! She is an elite athlete who performs at the very top of her sport. Her relentless quest for improvement makes her a great fit for SailGP. Her already impressive campaigning skills will be enhanced even further, and the rigorous performance quest and off the water analysis will raise the bar even further. She is already a proven winner on the international stage of high-performance sailing, and both SailGP and Daniela will benefit from her becoming part of this team.”

Noting that SailGP and its goals align with her personal brand, Moroz looks forward to working in a professional environment at what is essentially the highest level of the sport will be an invaluable learning opportunity. 

“It was one I couldn’t pass up,” Moroz stated. “I’ll be able to apply this learning to my Olympic campaign and so much more down the road. I’m excited to support the team as best I can and be the best teammate I can be. Hopefully, this will give us a chance to turn around American sailing and show the world what we’re capable of!”


Moroz joins new teammates for SailGP season 2

Growing up in San Francisco in an avid water-sports family, Daniela started kitesurfing at the age of 12. Two  years later she competed in her first race and since then has been literally unstoppable. In the past six years, she has won every major international hydrofoil event, as well as the prestigious Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year in 2016 and 2019. When she’s not on the water, she’s working on a degree in International Business and Marketing at the University of Hawaii. Info/contact: 

SailGP is an international sailing competition using high performance F50 foiling catamarans. Teams compete across a season of multiple grands prix around the world, with the first season being held in 2019.


Michelle SladeDaniela Moroz joins U.S. SailGP Team for SailGP Season 2
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A Sigh of Relief to Qualify + Gratitude for the Opportunity to Compete = Stoked Sailors

“I felt pure focus, I knew exactly what I had to do in terms of performance, so it was a matter of executing all of the small things that string together at the right time from the race start to finish,” Lara Dallman-Weiss commented, recalling her feelings at the outset of the race that really counted, the final race of the 2021 World Championship and the qualifier that would secure them a place on the US Sailing Team headed to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Olympic Trials for Nikki Barnes and Dallman-Weiss / Perfect Vision Sailing were a combined total of three regattas, with the 2021 Worlds they just completed being the final qualifier. Prior to the 2021 Worlds they were behind the two other teams vying for the sole spot on the US team: Nora and Atlantic Brugman, and Emily and Carmen Cowles. They were three points behind the Brugmans and two points behind the Cowles. Barnes and Dallman-Weiss had to beat each of these teams by the number of places they were behind them to qualify.

The defining moment for Barnes and Dallman-Weiss was before the start of the final race of the World Championships. They had two races that day and in the first race defended hard, starting low in the box to be prepared for the other girls to either send us over the line early or anything to get them disqualified – “Normal starting tactics – anything to attack,” Barnes noted. But the Cowles sailed well, finishing 5th and Barnes and Dallman-Weiss finished 18th.

“We were a bit angry with how we did,” Barnes commented. “Going into the last race, we told ourselves that we were just going to do it. We decided to sail how we knew best to sail and make it a great last race. Either way it was the last race of a World Championship where women’s and men’s 470 would be separate.” *1

They started the race well, rounding the top mark in 10th, with the Cowles a couple of places in front. They saw pressure on the inside and stayed close with that top group until the pressure was close then jibed. The pair enjoyed some great boat handling and at the bottom mark rounded in 6th. On the second upwind they were able to play the same pressure they saw coming down to pass two or three more boats and rounded in third at the top mark with Germany 20 on their heels.

“We had to beat Germany 20 otherwise they would beat us in the overall results,” Barnes said. “We’d still be in the medal race, but it would give us that position closer to the Cowles. On the entire downwind leg, we were keeping an eye on them. It was a very physical race, really exhausting and got lighter at the end but we still had free pumping *2. We just kept pumping and sweating away, Germany 20 would come close, then we would advance…We got to the reach mark, we jibed through, but Germany 20 was still near us. We were just defending them at the end. Finally, we crossed the line.”

Finishing was surreal, Barnes acknowledged. She felt an enormous sadness as soon as she crossed the line that the regatta was over and that they had no more races other than the medal race.

“I bawled my eyes out and dry heaved in the back of the boat while Lara just smiled,” Barnes recalled, able to laugh now. “We didn’t know until later that day when all the protests were in that we got the qualification.”

“I felt a great sense of pride, we had just sailed a physical and smart race and we didn’t hold back, we did what we trained to do!” Dallman Weiss said. “I had a moment thinking we didn’t know if we would qualify but then quickly decided it was no longer in our control so we would have to wait for results. I really wanted to allow myself to feel good about the regatta we just sailed and the year we had just spent training regardless of the Trials outcome.”

As points prevailed, even if the pair finished top 10 in the medal race or a 10th /last place in the medal race, they would still qualify.

Now home and training in Miami, the pair have been both working on their mental game with their respective sports performance and psychologist coaches. The emotional toll has been high these past months, with lots of nights tossing and turning, and mind-reviewing maneuvers.

“The week before the regatta Lara was very nervous so she was leaning on me a bit,” Barnes acknowledged. “When we went into the regatta, she was calm and steady, and I was leaning on her more. I was not sleeping, instead I just kept re-playing the start line. I would try to bring myself to a happier place, which for me is Disney World (laughs) but I would always end up at that darn starting line! I threw up from nerves on the first day which I have never done before.”

The pair know that their job is a long way from over, recognizing that they still have learning to do from big mistakes they made in the regattas, so they will keep pushing on the water…and off.

“When I wake up, I have a specific 15-minute meditation I do to set my intention for the day/week/month and regulate my breathing,” Dallman-Weiss noted. “This helps me focus for the day and not get caught thinking about the past or the future!”

With all the training that the Barnes and Dallman-Weiss have been able to do this past fall and winter, they’ve a good idea of what they are up against come show time in Tokyo.

“What’s cool is that we’ve been training with all of these girls – in Northern Spain and the Canary Islands this past fall so we got used to seeing them on a starting line.” Barnes said. “It’s been amazing to know these people – we’re not looking at Hannah Mills thinking, ‘that’s Hannah Mills, wow, and she has a gold medal’. We chatted with her a good amount in the Canary Islands. We are not defending anymore. The Trials made me so nervous because we had to defend getting that position but now everybody is on the same chopping block for the Games.”

*1. The 470 will run mixed crews in the future.
* 2. Free pumping is a class rule that allows the use of free pumping or kinetics (to increase speed) in 8 knots+ as designated by display of the O flag.


Michelle SladeA Sigh of Relief to Qualify + Gratitude for the Opportunity to Compete = Stoked Sailors
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Alameda Community Sailing Center Aims to Keep Sailors Active

Heading into its 8th year, the Alameda Community Sailing Center (ACSC) is a hidden jewel on the water, located on the west side of Alameda on a site that’s about an acre. While the center offers multiple and varied programs, summer sailing camps for kids between ages 8-16 have been its primary focus. Attendees comprise mainly local kids including under-served kids via a scholarship fund (to which St Francis Sailing Foundation contributes).

In 2019, some 350 kids sailed through ACSC’s spring, summer and fall camps catering to 40 to 60 kids on the water per session, doubled up in doublehanded boats. Camps continued in 2020, shifting to a 3-week course rather than the typical 2-week due to Covid requirements. A challenging 2020 gave ACSC the opportunity to further develop its after-school program which the center was able to carry into last fall.

“Parents were like, “Just take my kid out of the house please!” Mike Bishop, center director, laughed. “The last group of after-schoolers was by all accounts a little bit rowdy between house-fever and Zoom-exhaustion!”

In 2020, ASCS has sailed year-round for the first time – through the winter and on Thursday nights which shifted to Sunday afternoons. Outside of camp attendees, an older generation of Laser sailors enjoy the facility, and a San Francisco-based high school store and sail their boats from the site.

“We’re trying to square the pyramid by not necessarily driving people into performance sailing but rather to keep them in sailing in general,” Mike Bishop, center director, explained. “We want to get people to love sailing, refill our sport with people, fill our yacht clubs, have people buy boats and keep things ticking over.”

Bishop, a life-long Laser sailor and founding board member of ACSC, started sailing in Thailand at age 7, and has sailed all over the world, mainly dinghies but also everything from windsurfers to 50-foot+ sailboats. He sails with kids young as 7, and adults as old as 77, citing that there are not many sports that can span 70 years of a life, and appreciating how the sport teaches about so many aspects of life.

“Sailing broadens one’s horizons mentally and physically through the sciences – physics and math, the environment – stewardship and the natural world, and the comradeship of fellow mankind,” Bishop said. “I know that sounds corny, but I really enjoy educating people about sailing and getting them fully engaged. I frankly cannot believe it’s not a required curriculum in schools for all it teaches!”

Bishop believes that the most challenging part of sailing, particularly in the Bay Area, is access to good boats – and easy access to the Bay – both of which ACSC offers.

“The cost of ownership of sailing in the Bay Area is tough for anyone starting out, or young adults with family, and a big part of our mission at ACSC is to create an accessible program with good modern boats that can be used by the community,” he said.

ACSC has a fleet of some 70 sailboats including 40 Optis, a fleet of FJs, and as a Siebel Training Center, it currently has six RS Fevas. That program started last year and by the end of the summer kids were flying kites singlehanded in those boats, Bishop noted. One of Bishop’s measures of the center’s success is how many kids come back each year. Of its 9 core instructors working this past season, 7 had come through the ACSC system.

“When we started out, our bottleneck was finding instructors – now we’re growing our own,” Bishop smiled.

Emily Zagoni, the only full-time employee at ACSC, grew up in Alameda and learned the ropes through the ACSC system, starting as an instructor, then instructor-lead, then part-time program director and now she’s in her third year as a program director. The 33-year-old is an avid sailor, she owns a Tartan 30 and participates in three different summer evening series along with fun racing like Three Bridge Fiasco. She’s also a keelboat instructor at Club Nautique in Alameda and Sausalito.

“I fell in love with the ACSC program and with small boats,” Zagoni commented. “I intended it just to be a summer job but then I just kept coming back summer after summer,” Zagoni said. When she’s not sailing, Zagoni is learning to fly…

ACSC wants to develop life-long sailors, and a keystone program that the center launched a few years ago – Open Sails on Saturdays – provides an opportunity for people to get access to a boat for half or a full day for just $10-$15.  The center is beginning to promote other opportunities for young adults to get on the water through windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, and SUP’ing. The center’s family programming facilitates families to get out on the water together – Bishop loves to relate the responses from parents.

“They tell us, “My child is a different child, they are responsible, they talk about sailing and I don’t know what they ‘re talking about so I need to learn how to sail!”

ACSC has plenty of exciting things going on even with Covid restrictions. With its astro turf boat yard, warm weather-protected lagoon, a fun beach, and great dinghy sailing conditions for beginners to experts outside the breakwater, it’s an all-round user-friendly Bay sailing destination.


Michelle SladeAlameda Community Sailing Center Aims to Keep Sailors Active
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Count Down for Team DeAtley With Tokyo Olympics Just Around the Corner

Beth DeAtley, Foundation Advisory Board member and StFYC member, recently gave members of the StFYC family, also athletes on the 2020 Olympic sailing, a generous donation to support them through the final phase of their 2020 Olympic campaign. Her timing couldn’t have been better given the circumstances of the past year which burdened the sailors with an additional year to fund.

“My desire is to support our Olympics sailors so that they can be free to train without the hindrance of constant fundraising,” Beth said. “I have learned a lot through our discussions and have great admiration for the talent, training, and overall determination it takes to be an Olympic sailor. I’m very proud of them.”

Team DeAtley comprises Luke Muller (Finn), Paige Railey (Laser Radial) and Riley Gibbs/Anna Weiss (Nacra 17), who will sail with the Team DeAtley logo on their sails or hulls.

What this means for each of our Olympic sailors:

Luke Muller: It was an honor to be named a part of Team DeAtley alongside Gibbs-Weiss Racing and Paige Railey. The grant allowed me to focus all of my energy towards my sailing rather than fundraising. This fall, I gained 5lbs of muscle mass and improved my ability to keep my heart rate calm in strenuous hiking positions. The yield of this newfound strength allows me to focus my attention on my sail trim and driving technique to make the boat go as fast as possible.

As unfortunate as it is that we have not been able to compete in major international events, this year has been an amazing opportunity for me and my team to polish our game. We’ve had extra time to test odd ideas and improve the systems on our boats, which has proved to be eye-opening, including a training block in Lanzarote, Spain of 3-4 weeks where we continued to grow and develop. The professionalism and attention to detail of my campaign has drastically improved and I cannot wait to see what I can do come competition time.

Paige Railey: This grant means the world to me! It has allowed me to pay for the coming years competitions and enabled me to focus solely on training. This is one of the stressful aspects about being a professional athlete is making sure you have enough funds to pay for the year. Beth has ensured that I am able to focus more on my goals. I was having health issues up until March of 2020, so the delay due to the pandemic has enabled me to focus on improving my health back to a professional athlete – I always try to look for the silver lining in things! I was recently able to compete in the US West Marine Open Series in Clearwater, Florida, and these events have been a godsend because it has allowed us to check in with fellow athletes on our fitness and improvements.

.Anna Weiss/Riley Gibbs: We are so grateful to be a part of Team DeAtley. This grant means so much to us because it has allowed us to purchase Olympic sails and learn about what we are looking for in different equipment. We ordered new spinnakers with draft stripes, which have helped me learn about trimming downwind in a different and productive way.

This grant has allowed us to focus on our learning and has taken away some of the stress from the past year. Because we are a relatively new team, this extra year has been extremely helpful in that we were able to really take a step back and focus on the basics. While this postponement hasn’t always been easy, we have been trying to focus on the things we can control. Although we haven’t been able to race internationally, we are trusting the work that we are putting in back home.

In mid February, we raced in the Youth Foiling World Cup in Gaeta, Italy and were very excited for this experience and to learn as much as we can. After, we hope to be sailing the Nacra in Europe, however we might need to change our plans due to Covid. We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of Team DeAtley, and we are honored to represent St. Francis YC all around the world.

Michelle SladeCount Down for Team DeAtley With Tokyo Olympics Just Around the Corner
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Youth Sailors Capitalize On A Challenging Year While Preparing For Better Sailing Days Ahead

The Foundation is proud to support an engaging and talented group of young sailors, including Carmen Berg, Cali Salinas, and Charlotte Versavel. All three kept their sailing in forward momentum throughout 2020, with a positive focus on better things to come this year, as they share here.

20-year old Cali Salinas from San Francisco, Calif., is a sophomore at Tufts. She’s been sailing for 7 years:
With COVID changing all of my plans by sending me home during my freshman spring semester at Tufts and having to stay at home, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to sail much at all for the remainder of the year. I honestly thought the year was not going to be one to remember, but I was quite wrong.

In June, I crewed on the Nacra 17 with Ben Rosenberg, both of us thinking we would just sail the boat for a week just for fun, but we discovered that we sailed well together. I had already sailed Nacra 15s in high school and missed going fast. The foiling Nacra 17 redefined what fast really meant to me. Ben and I decided we wanted to sail more together and drove the boat from Rhode Island to Long Beach, CA where we sailed with the US Sailing Team.

We ended up staying in Long Beach from July to October, doing school online. Being able to stay an extra month in Long Beach allowed us to reach a baseline that let us take some time off during college for a few months and come back to sailing and feeling comfortable in the boat.

Now that I am on winter break, I can get back to foiling everyday with Ben in Florida. We are currently in Fort Lauderdale sailing with the Olympic team, Riley Gibbs and Anna Weis coached by Sally Barkow and will go to Miami in a couple weeks to sail the Miami OCR events on the Nacra 17. We are learning lots sailing in the big waves in Fort Lauderdale and are excited to get to flat water, where foiling will feel like a piece of cake.

Our goal for the summer of 2021 is to medal at the Nacra 17 Junior World Championships in Gdynia, Poland. With all the physical training through Anna Tobias Tunnicliffe’s training program, the invaluable knowledge we’ve learned from the other Nacra 17 sailors, and especially from Sally Barkow, we see this goal as achievable. As a female crew, I am inspired everyday when I can sail alongside a powerhouse team like Riley/Anna who motivate Ben and I to follow their footsteps.

One of the main reasons I love sailing this boat is how much it pushes me physically and mentally. The crew position is so physically demanding, and I hope I can inspire other girls by showing them that sailing the boat like a girl is strong, fast, and beautiful.

17-year-old Carmen Berg is from Carmel, Calif. A junior at The Stevenson School, she’s been sailing for 8 years.
2020 began with me and my crew Onni Kuisma (from Finland) training almost every weekend on the Nacra 15, preparing for upcoming events in the spring and summer. With the CISA Clinic and Mid Winters West Championship scheduled for Long Beach, Adam Corpuz-Lahne trailered our boats down to ABYC, so we could practice and acclimate with the conditions.

As COVID arose, the events we were training for were canceled, and our boats were brought back to Richmond. Having no events scheduled for the near future, Onni and I decided to keep training and use the time we were given to focus on specific skills and techniques. We continued this until early summer when I received the news that Onni was moving back to Finland. We wrapped up our final weeks together, enjoying sailing in the summer breeze and our time out on the water.

After Onni’s departure, I decided to crew on an i420 and was given the opportunity to train in Southern California for two months. The program encompassed daily strength training, lessons on weather, sail making, fiberglass repair, and charting. As expected, summer conditions allowed for light wind practice, learning patience, and the importance of paying attention to details. Breeze training was in Long Beach, and while there, I was given the opportunity to skipper a Nacra17 with Anna Weis for a practice race against the other 17s. It was an amazing experience to sail with her and get a glance into Riley and Anna’s training leading up to the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. I concluded the summer with great memories, and I acquired new skills as I returned home for the school year.

I continued to sail i420s in the fall and sail my Nacra 15 as opportunities allowed, and it was great to get back in the boat after some time being away. As COVID continued to cause widespread cancellation of sailing events throughout the world, I am focusing on regattas scheduled for the spring. Our goal is to qualify for i420 World Championship in San Remo, Italy, being held in July 2021.

Despite the craziness of this past year, I have been able to use the absence of competition to grow and take time to develop as a young athlete and learn many new things about the sport I love. Upon reflection, I am incredibly grateful for my coaches and the lessons they have taught me. I always enjoy being out on the water and am excited to continue to learn and hopefully compete in the coming months.

18 year old Charlotte Versavel, from Palo Alto, Calif., is a senior at Palo Alto High. She’s been sailing 8 years.
At the beginning of the year, Jack Sutter and I planned to compete in the US Youth Worlds Qualifiers, the first of which was early April in Long Beach. We were also hoping to get more experience sailing internationally: spending summer 2020 traveling and competing in Europe in the lead up to the 2020 Youth Worlds, which were to be held in December 2020 in Brazil.

When coronavirus put the world on hold, I wanted to use the extra time and flexibility of online school to sail more while Jack’s motivation to train was reduced as we saw our summer events being canceled. It was frustrating for both of us and one relief was the practices in the Nacra 15 that Adam Corpuz-Lahne organized and coached. Adam let me sit on the coach boat (with my buff covering my face) and sometimes switched me in with the other Nacra teams. The practices were experimental and exciting, resulting in some promising light wind speed techniques and as well as heavy wind confidence.

I was itching to get back to sailing, so after trying out a friend’s Waszp, I convinced my mom to invest in an early Christmas-and-Birthday present. My hope was that a single-handed boat would let me sail as often as I wanted and would help me make the transition with Jack into the foiling Nacra 17.

I spent the rest of the summer in a variety of new hobbies. I became a certified US Sailing Level 1 Instructor and hiked a bunch in Tahoe (summiting Round Top, Dick’s Peak, and Mt. Tallac). When my Waszp arrived in the late days of summer, I spent a couple days in the backyard, splicing, and figuring out how the systems worked. My maiden voyage was out of Saint Francis, alongside Luke Froeb and Declan Donovan, and coached by Adam.

When school started again, in a revised online format, I put my head down and started applying to colleges. This gave me less time for sailing, but Jack and I got a couple of days on the water in organized N15 practices (out of Richmond Yacht Club) coached by Adam. On weekends that Jack wasn’t available to sail, I started training (out of Richmond YC) in the Waszp with Molly Carapiet who got her Waszp at around the same time, and Helena Scutt, who does loops around us in her Moth. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to sail with two women who are kind, knowledgeable sailors, and humble even with their success and accomplishments.

Due to the busy-ness of our schedules, and differences in our goals, Jack and I decided to stop sailing together in late 2020. While I still have a year left in the Youth Sailing Circuit, I’ve been enjoying the challenge of learning a new boat (the Waszp), and feel much safer (less likely to get or spread the virus) in a singlehanded boat where I don’t need to travel to find people to sail against. While I didn’t consider myself someone who would thrive in solo sailing, fixing my own problems and being self-sufficient has given me confidence and contributed to mental growth.

I finished submitting college applications just a couple of days ago and will have more time to get on the water in the spring. I’m hoping for flat water and consistent wind that will let me foil as often as possible. Once I get more comfortable in the Waszp, I’ll try rally the other Bay Area boats to put together some local events, but for now, I have lots to learn.

After a whirlwind 2020, I don’t want to make any assumptions for what sailing will look like this summer, but I’ll find a way to get on the water and enjoy myself, before I head off to college where I plan to sail and compete!

Main image – Cali Salinas & Ben Rosenberg Nacra 15 training.




Michelle SladeYouth Sailors Capitalize On A Challenging Year While Preparing For Better Sailing Days Ahead
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Daniela Moroz: Winging into 2021

Catching up with Daniela Moroz, 4-time Kitefoil World Champion (2016-2019) and 2-time Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year (2016/2019), is always fun. She has a contagious smile, loves to laugh, is always relaxed (who wouldn’t be in her shoes!) and is more often than not enjoying life on the cutting edge.

I caught up with her in Los Barriles, a notable boardsailing venue along the eastern tip of Baja California, where we met at a new café in town. She ordered a chai latte and avocado toast…without tomato. “I heard the avocado toast here is really good, so I have to try it,” she enthused in her natural bubbly style.

Her latest passion is wing sailing, which for someone who initially thought it was dumb, this 19-year old has quickly changed her tune. She’s loving it.

When did you get into winging?
Back home last June at Sherman Island. I’m going to be honest. When I first saw a wing last year here in Los Barriles, I thought it looked really dumb.

Johnny (Heineken) and Sinbad (Cynthia Brown) were doing it as well as a few others but with the big boards; it just did not look appealing at all to me. My dad and a bunch of guys from Sherman started winging back in April-May, and by the time I came home from school at the beginning of June, they were all winging. They all said, “You’ve got to try it, it’s so fun!”

Sure enough, I had a blast at Sherman trying it. I switched to a much smaller board which made it a lot more fun for me. The big boards are bulky, especially coming from kite foiling where the gear is so minimal. So, after being super anti-winging for the longest time, here I am now really stoked on winging – I didn’t even bring kite gear down to Los Barriles with me!

What’s winging like, is it comparable to kiting?
I think it is probably the most accessible water sport to get into, even easier than surfing. It seems so much safer than kiting because you have less stuff going on; it’s simple. I think it’s more similar to windsurfing but nicer in that you don’t have a boom which gives you more freedom, and you can still foil which makes it more efficient. It’s a perfect gateway to everything else – you could start winging and go into kiting from there, or if you’re coming from windsurfing and you want to wing, it’s super easy.

What about the foil aspect if you are new to these sports?
I think in a perfect world, you learn to foil behind a power boat, like wakeboarding style, because that’s usually a calm environment with few variables, but if you’re coming from windsurfing and you understand how the wing works and how to power the wing, then it’s just a matter of figuring out how the foil feels.

What inspired the downwinder to La Ribera?
It was a really big wind day and I really wanted to do a downwinder while I was here as that’s the best way to wing, especially here in the swell; it’s soooo nice. I did a bunch in Hood River last summer – about 12 nautical miles. I would take my phone with me and share my location with friends so that they knew exactly where I was.

For La Ribera, I organized with friends to take dry stuff down with them to La Ribera as they were going there to wave kite anyway, and then I shared my location with them, and they did the same with me. I winged down – it was about 15 miles and my entire session was about 90 minutes but just to get down there was a little less than an hour.

Can you surf on a wing?
Yes, you totally can – just let go of the wing and go down the wave which I’m super comfortable with because I started surf foiling this fall. Ride the swell down and just let go of the wing – I hold the end handle on the leading edge of the wing when I’m doing this.

What’s new with your kite training?
I was in Florida from November 20 to December 20 which was super fun. I didn’t kite that much as it wasn’t my focus for the trip, though I did coach some girls for US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP) which was fun getting them on foil kites and comfortable foiling.

The main purpose was because I’d never been to Miami and the US Sailing Center. I didn’t grow up sailing and didn’t go through the normal sailing pathway so I wanted to see how things were run, how the different teams are campaigning, and learn from that. I really wanted to meet people and talk to them about their campaign experience, see how the different teams are training, what’s working, what isn’t, and absorb as much as I could.

You did some boat sailing in Florida?
It was such a blast. I knew I wanted to hop in a couple of different boats while I was there, follow the teams around and learn from them. That worked really well. I spent 3-4 days with Riley (Gibbs) and Anna (Weis), and their coach Sally (Barkow). I sailed on their Nacra 17 for a couple of days and really liked it; it’s something different.

Do your kite skills transfer to sailing boats?
Not really, though it’s easy to hop onto a boat, especially if it’s a 2-person boat as you then have someone telling you what to do. It worked out great that it happened to be Riley, who is a really good kiter, because he could compare everything to kiting.

I was mostly crewing so my main job was trimming the mainsheet and in the end it’s the same idea – sheet in to get more power and sheet out when you need to de-power. It was just a matter of figuring out the timing of all of that. I had to really anticipate whereas with kiting everything is immediate – as soon as you sheet in you feel it right away.

In the Nacra I had to be 5 steps ahead and be prepared for a puff that is way off in the distance, so you had to already be sheeting in to be in the right position to take advantage of it. With kiting you are still anticipating that kind of stuff but it’s more immediate. That was all really interesting.

I also went out with Dane (Wilson) and all the 49er boys one day – I actually REALLY like the 49er. The trimming was more precise and I felt like it needed more attention than the Nacra – I really liked that aspect of it.

Do you ever see yourself racing boats?
I could never see myself sailing a boat because there’s so much rigging and you go so slow, you put so much effort into going so slow compared to kiting, and it’s so expensive. But after sailing the 49er, I thought the FX could be quite fun…I did hop in the FX one day with Erika (Reineke) and Lucy (Wilmot) which was really fun.

Kiteboarding will make its Olympic debut in Paris 2024 with hydrofoil boards. Formula Kite will be the official kiteboarding class with a mixed format that includes men and women. Have you got a partner to race with in 2024?
I think in the US right now we have a huge opportunity to medal with kiting. There are a bunch of guys that are definitely going for it but it’s not like boat racing – we don’t know yet what the details will be but the kiters will campaign individually and the best guy and the best girl at the end of the qualification period will be selected.

What happens next?
I will probably officially launch my 2024 campaign in June. Between now and then, I will be setting up the stuff that I need to go “live” with my campaign (big smile) – not just on the training side but also on the logistical campaigning side of things.

I’m supposed to go back to Florida at the end of January to train and do the Clearwater OCR at the beginning of February and after that, if I feel like I want to continue kite training, I will likely return to Baja to do some training and then do the Kite Pro Tour. Then there is a mixed relay kiting event back to back with the Princess Sofia Regatta 2021 in Palma in May. After that I don’t know as the IKA (International Kiteboarding Association) calendar still hasn’t been confirmed.

Do you have a coach?
Not right now but I’m probably going to start working with one this year – I have been talking to a few different people including Torvar Mirsky, the 2017 World Match Racing Champion. He lives in Palma which is why I would like to get there, perhaps do a training regatta first and if that partnership works then we could do the Europeans and Worlds together.

He does quite a bit of kiting and I think he would be really good with tactics and strategy which I think is my biggest area for improvement. ODP will be providing some coaching and support for some training camps and they’re hiring Gebi (Michael Gebhardt) and Charlie McKee to coach us in Florida at the end of the month which I think will be super interesting. There’ll be about 10 of us – some of these kids have their eye on 2024, some of the younger ones won’t be ready for 2024 but lining up for 2028.

How does school (University of Hawaii) fit into all of this?
I did the fall 2020 semester and will be doing the spring 2021 semester online. The fall was really fun – I was living my best surf bum life and surfing every day in Los Angeles living in my van. It was super awesome and I got arguably some of my best grades this past semester.

For this upcoming semester I have two Zoom classes about three hours twice a week which will definitely be a little more tricky but I’ll figure it out. Spring semester starts on January 11th and if at the end of February I find I need a break from kiting after the training block in late January, I may go back to Hawaii and live with my friends and do college.

I definitely miss that social aspect of college and all my friends I met there the first year. Right now I’m pretty keen to keep training, come back to Baja with my race gear and train here. I know a couple of the Europeans want to come to Baja so I’d have some really good people to train with.

How do you finance all of this?
That’s the question, isn’t it! (laughs). I get that in the US as we have to do all the fundraising ourselves. I am fortunate in that I am relatively well-known and have very good connections at the St Francis Yacht Club and St. Francis Sailing Foundation which I am really grateful for. I feel like I have a really good community supporting and backing me there. As I put together my Olympic campaign, figuring out fundraising will be a big part of that…

Sidenote: Our conversation turns to discussion about breakfast which has just been delivered to the table. “Hmm, this is definitely better avocado toast than the other coffee shop!” Daniela concludes.

Credit: Dane Wilson

Michelle SladeDaniela Moroz: Winging into 2021
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Holiday Greetings to our Foundation Community

Greetings to our St. Francis Sailing Foundation friends and supporters. I hope this letter finds
you and your loved ones well during these trying times. We have all been affected in a variety of
ways, some of us harder than others. I know that when things return to normal, I will never again
take for granted my love of being on the water with family and friends.

At this stage in my life I enjoy sharing the gift of sailing: teaching others how to sail, mentoring
our top athletes and helping them to maintain a work/life balance. I am proud of what the
Foundation does to boldly give back: the athletes and programs it supports impact our sport in a
variety of ways, creating role models and future leaders who enhance our sailing community.

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, in 2020 our Olympic sailors have continued to train, and the
community programs we support including the Alameda Community Sailing Center, Blue Water
Foundation, BAADS and Call of the Sea, have continued to run safe sailing programs for youth
and under-served communities. Our StFYC junior sailors are engaged, connected to the
community, sailing single handed boats and improving their skills. The Foundation’s
sponsorship of the Set Sail Learn program at the Treasure Island Sailing Center adapted and
created an online field trip experience for San Francisco public school kids to stay engaged until
they can safely get back out on the water.

For as long as there is wind, water and sailboats to race, our sport will continue to need the
Foundation. Each year we are committed to granting our total donations received to our athletes
and programming in addition to earnings received from our investment income.

With the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games our athletes are relying on us more than
ever. We are thrilled that some of our US Olympic Sailing Team athletes, also being StFYC
members, received a generous donation from Foundation advisor Beth DeAtley. These sailors
will compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as part of Team DeAtley. With much gratitude we also
acknowledge Duane and Darlene Hines for their impactful generosity this past year and to those
families who remember the Foundation in their estate planning.

Due to the pandemic, we will not be gathering in March 2021 for our annual auction and
celebration. In place of it, we plan to host a celebration send-off for our Olympic athletes in
summer 2021, with more details to follow later. Rest assured that the Foundation auction will
return in 2022!

We all have charities that we think of at the end of the year, and for me, that hasn’t changed
during the pandemic. I am committed to continue to give back to the sport that I love. Like many
of you, the sport of sailing has formed me into a competitor and made me a part of a community
that I cannot imagine being away from. At the Foundation, we want others to have this common
connection to sailing, where one is always challenged to grow their skills and talents, with the
bonus of lifelong friendships spanning generations. We hope you will consider giving to the
Foundation this year so we can continue to build upon our work – please feel free to contact me
if you have any questions regarding the Foundation or giving opportunities.

Wishing you fair winds, and happy holidays with those you love.

Pamela Healy
President, St. Francis Sailing Foundation

Michelle SladeHoliday Greetings to our Foundation Community
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Making the Most of a Pandemic – Junior Sailors Switch Gears – and Boats

With so few opportunities for Nacra 15 racing this past season, StFYC junior sailor Hoel Menard looked for other racing opportunities and with events taking place in the 29er, he turned to working on his skills in that class. Just recently, he and skipper Kelly Holthus flew to Florida to compete in their first regatta of 2020, the 29er Skiff Generation Grand Prix, Event #2, which was held in Miami at the US Sailing Center.

Menard, 16, has been sailing since he was a young kid and since 2015, he’s been a regular on the the Nacra 15 racing scene. Like Holthus, Menard is fairly new to the 29er – the pair met last summer at a CISA clinic and following the clinic they teamed up in the Nacra 15 and 29er. In Miami, Holthus and Menard finished with outstanding results given their relative experience in the 29er.

“We were excited to sail against the East Coast teams and see what we needed to work on in preparation for the Orange Bowl and for the 2021 Youth World qualifiers,” Menard said. “Our first day of racing was not what we imagined, we raced three good races but a little too much excitement in the last race caused us to be over early and receive an OCS.”

Going into day two of the regatta, the pair stood in 8th overall with a 20-point gap to first place. They had to race a perfect second day in order to even think about winning the regatta.

“Kelly and I were determined to do as best as we could,” Menard said. “Focusing on every race instead of the overall result was key.”

After having an ideal second day scoring a 2-1-1-1, Menard and Holthus won the regatta.

“We were beyond happy with our result,” Menard, a student at the Lycee Francais de San Francisco. “I would like to thank the St. Francis Yacht Club Sailing Foundation because without its continuous support from the very start I would not be able to race at this level and become one step closer to my goal.”

Next up, Menard and Holthus will compete at the Skiff Generation Grand Prix, Event #3 in mid-December, followed by the Open Orange Bowl at the end of December.

Michelle SladeMaking the Most of a Pandemic – Junior Sailors Switch Gears – and Boats
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Productive European Tour For Laser Sailor Charlie Buckingham

Just back from a productive and successful Europe tour, US Sailing Team Athlete Charlie Buckingham is cautiously excited about his training progress and next steps as he counts down to the Olympics next summer.

With the postponement of the 2020 Games and all things going on related to the pandemic, Buckingham was thrilled to be able to spend almost three months in Europe this summer thanks to a travel exemption facilitated by the Italian sailing team. He accomplished a ton of training and competed in three events, finishing fourth at the 2020 Kiel Week Regatta, winning the 2020 Italian Championships at Follonica on the Italian Tuscany Adriatic Sea Coast, and finishing sixth overall at the 2020 Laser Senior European Championships in Gdansk, Poland where 120 sailors competed in the Men’s Laser Standard fleet.

“I felt I had to strike on the opportunity and am really pleased with how the trip went,” Buckingham commented. “I was pretty much able to meet every goal that I set and get some good results.”

With the pandemic offering limited possibilities this year to compete at all, it was a huge opportunity for Buckingham to be able to start with all of the medal contenders he will be up against next year with the exception of the Aussies and Kiwis, and to perform well against them was really encouraging.

“I think it’s a good indicator for next year,” the 31-year old from Newport Beach, Calif., noted. “Each of the three events helped me in my preparation for Japan.”

The three venues offered quite different conditions which also consolidated skill building and training.

“Kiel was mostly offshore wind which was quite like Japan in the offshore wind that they have there, Italy was mostly strong sea breezes which we may also have during the Olympics. Poland was quite different to those we will typically see in Japan but it’s always good to get competitive repetitions under your belt.”

Buckingham is presently winding down his training regimen and enjoying a short break at home in Costa Mesa, Calif. He expects soon that he and coach Diego Romero with whom he’s been training for two years, will finalize a plan for the build up to next year but for now he’s focusing on fitness at home and staying sharp on the boat.

“I have no major travel or competition coming up – just keeping it simple at home through the end of the year and travel will start again in the new year,” he said.

Buckingham’s daily work-out routine usually depends on the phase of the season. It typically includes an aerobic session and a strength session each day if he’s training at home, and if he’s sailing, he might replace one of these sessions with the sailing workout. He’s been fortunate to have had Paul Didham, a young student from the University of Long Beach, to sail with these past months.

“I always practice in Long Beach so if Paul was available it was really helpful for me to have another boat to practice with during quarantine,” Buckingham noted.

His regular sparring partner is Juan Maegli, an Olympic sailor from Guatemala.

“Juan’s got a ton of experience and he’s a really good sailor,” Buckingham enthused. “We share a coach and when we’re traveling and training, I’m always training with him.”

Sports psychology coaching plays a big part in Buckingham’s training – being mentally prepared is an important part of his groundwork so that he can be in an optimal mindset when training and competing.

“I think the part of my mental game that’s brought me most success recently is realizing that every day is an opportunity to get better on the water and to make the most of each opportunity,” Buckingham commented. “If you make the most of each day in training then you are more prepared for the big moments when they come in competition.”

While conditions in Japan can be anything, Buckingham noted that the bodies of water he’ll be training on leading up to the Olympics will be mostly open water venues with waves, citing that its probable that the highest percentage of condition sailors will see in Japan next summer will be some sort of onshore condition with waves and swell.

“We’ll probably tailor our training to venues like that,” Buckingham commented, “but practice is equally as important as specific conditions practice. For the first half of the year my training will mainly be a purely competitive focus to really practice finishing at the top of events and hopefully closing out on the top of the podium.”

Finally, Buckingham’s pandemic silver lining?

“It’s made me realize that things can be taken from you instantly and it’s forced me to re-evaluate and understand that I am really fortunate to be able to do what I do,” he said. “When faced with the prospect of the Olympics being canceled I was thinking what a shame it would be to have that happen and not be able to be proud of the effort that you put in. It re-focused me to be grateful that every day that I live my dream is a gift and that I need to make the most of it while I can. With that gratitude I really made the most of the trip to Europe and the outcome was a really good result.”


Michelle SladeProductive European Tour For Laser Sailor Charlie Buckingham
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