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Sharing Their Passion: SailGP teammates inspire TISC youth sailors

If he was giving advice to his younger self, Foundation grantee Riley Gibbs would tell that younger self, “Sail as much as you can and sail as many classes as you can – it really helps you to gain knowledge in every aspect of the sport, sail different boats and sail as with as many people as you can. Be a sponge and bring it into the rest of your sailing.”

Gibbs and Hans Henken, teammates on the US SailGP Team are in San Francisco this week racing in the 2nd event of the new SailGP series. The pair are also teammates on the US Sailing Team: Gibbs is campaigning the Nacra 17, and Henken the 49er, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the boat that they race on as part of the SailGP Team – the F50 – brings new meaning to the phrase, “Go big or go home”.

The F50 foiling catamaran is considered one of the fastest sailing vessels in the world, powered by a 78-foot wingsail and flying above the water on hydrofoils, it is one mean flying machine. But speed is what turns it on for these young elite sailors.

Speaking to a group of kids at the Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC) this past weekend, Gibbs, a wingtrimmer on the F50, and Henken a flight controller, concurred that even as young kids, going fast is what they always wanted to do.

“I was always intrigued by speed and while I started sailing in Sabots, I couldn’t wait to sail a 420 and then the 29er, after that came 505s, 18-ft skiffs, kite foiling – now I’m doing an Olympic campaign and sailing 50’ foiling catamarans. I have always been really driven by speed,” Gibbs said.

The kids wanted to know what boats the two rock star sailors liked to sail and where they liked to sail –

“San Francisco Bay!” –  Gibbs and Henken unanimously agreed.

The TISC kids also wanted to know where and when Riley and Gibbs started sailing, and were pretty impressed when both replied that they were sailing by age 5 – Gibbs at the Alamitos Yacht Club in Long Beach, Calif., and Henken at a community sailing program like TISC in Dana Point, Calif.

“When I first got into sailing it was all about the ability to sail my own boat – as a small kid it was so cool to be able to do that, actually control my own craft,” Henken explained. “That’s where I developed my love for sailing.”

Gibbs sketched a F50 on the chalkboard, which drew some wide eyes when the guys explained that these super-fast cats fly above the water at speeds of 25-33 knots upwind and 38-40 knots downwind – quite a bit faster than an Opti!

“The first time I set foot in the F50 was fantastic,” Henken said. “They are incredibly fast – and incredibly loud! When you get up on the foils there’s a high-pitched whistling sound – it’s a lot of adrenalin for sure. The fastest that we have gone is about 47 knots – that’s like going down the freeway in your car with your head out the window – it’s really loud!”

But at the end of the day, what both these elite sailors love about sailing is getting back on the water each day, improving some over the previous day, and mostly having fun.

“There are many ways to see progress in our sport and its often results-based, but for me it’s more about just having fun in the water and the joy that develops going from one sailing class to another,” Henken commented.

And, hopefully it’s a message that will stick with the young TISC sailors for a long time.

Michelle SladeSharing Their Passion: SailGP teammates inspire TISC youth sailors
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Foundation Cheering for Nicole Breault & Crew Racing Nations Cup!

Racing is underway at the 2019 World Sailing Nations Cup Grand Final hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club. Nicole Breault and her crew Molly Carapiet (both Foundation grantees), Karen Loutzenheiser and Hannah Burroughs went into Day 2 in first position out of ten international women’s teams competing. Breault and crew won the event in 2015 (the event is held every 3 years), so going into this event she knew they’d be in for a battle.

“We competed in the semifinals in 2015 against Juju Senft (Brazil), and we faced Pauline Courtois (France) in the finals to win,” Nicole commented. “We have also raced against Team Anna, notoriously strong from Sweden, and have yet to defeat her. We took Allie Blecher and her Team BAAM in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Match Race Championship, but they will also be tough for sure. This is a very strong field of competitors, and 10 teams deep!”

Molly added, “Many of the women competing this week have been doing a lot of match racing in the WIM series and in their regions. Moreover, San Francisco in April can bring a variety of challenging conditions that will test all of the teams. I think there are multiple teams that could win this event.”

Nicole, Karen, Hannah and Molly have been sailing together for over five years and have a deep respect for each other’s sailing abilities. “Nicole and I take a truly collaborative approach to decisions and talk through everything whenever possible,” Molly said. “We are always finding a way to laugh on the water, too!”

Molly and Nicole have known each other a long time. They both sailed for Yale on the co-ed team and as Nicole explains, they have developed a lot of common characteristics in how they each approach the game. “There’s more than 10 years between us in age but having sailed together a lot, we have a clear picture of what is going on in our heads at any given time. She finished my sentences!”

The Nations Cup is a culmination of an international qualifying system that has brought together nine Open teams and ten Women’s teams for this World Sailing match racing championship. Racing began Wednesday with a single round robin series which is the first stage in narrowing the field.


Michelle SladeFoundation Cheering for Nicole Breault & Crew Racing Nations Cup!
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Erika Reineke Podiums at Trofeo Sofia

St Francis Sailing Foundation congratulates grantee Erika Reineke on a podium finish at the recent 50th Trofeo S.A.R Princesa Sofia Iberostar Regatta (Trofeo Sofia) in Mallorca, Spain, taking third in the Laser Radial. Congratulations also to Foundation grantee Paige Railey who also appeared in medal races at the event, finishing 6th in the Laser Radial, and qualifying to compete at the 2019 Olympic Test Event.

For U.S. sailors, the Trofeo Sofia was the second of two selection events for the 2019 Olympic Test Event which will be held at the Olympic venue, The Enoshima Yacht Harbour, August 17-22. Selection is aggregated over results from Trofeo Sofia and the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami. – Full story:

Sailing in the Laser Radial, Reineke has been selected to the 2019 U.S. Pan American Games Sailing Team Roster. The Pan American Games (Pan Am Games) take place every four years, in the year preceding the Olympic Games. The Pan Am Games is the third-largest multi-sport event in the world behind the Summer and Winter Olympics. The 2019 Pan Am Games will take place in Lima, Peru on July 26-August 11, with the sailing events taking place August 3-10 in Paracas, Peru. – Full story:



Michelle SladeErika Reineke Podiums at Trofeo Sofia
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Outstanding Coach Lineup Preps Young Nacra Sailors

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

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

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

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

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

By Kimball Livingston

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

View full story & results

Paige Railey, US Sailing Team

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

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

Full story:


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

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

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

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

Images by Rick Stewart, Perth Sailing Photography 

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Paula LeRoy – Friend Extraordinaire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will miss her.

Michelle SladePaula LeRoy – Friend Extraordinaire
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