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St Francis Foundation grantee and US Sailing Team member Paige Railey is enjoying time on the podium at recent events. After taking bronze at the World Cup in Hyeres, France, Railey followed up with Silver at the 2018 Laser Senior European championships / Radial Women, held at La Rochelle, France from May 5-12.

11 races were completed (with two throw-outs) in ideal conditions over six days of racing in medium to strong winds, sun and warm weather with the exception of rain on the last day of racing.

Way to go Paige!

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Gulari & Scutt Focus On Logging Crucial On-Water Hours

It’s been a tough start to the year for Nacra 17 Olympic hopefuls Helena Scutt and Bora Gulari. The pair recently competed at the Sailing World Cup in Hyeres, France (April 24-28) where they finished 22 out of 30 – not the result they had hoped for but not surprising after Scutt broke the middle metacarpal in her right hand during a January training session in Buenos Aires which required surgery for the insertion of a permanent titanium plate. 

The USOC, the Elite Athlete Health Insurance, and their National Medical Network provided Scutt with great care which included a week at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs after surgery where technology was used to bring the swelling down as fast as possible. Scutt was able to start physical therapy and enjoy their (incredible) gym.

“I have to say the whole process was too familiar, having had carpal tunnel release surgery on both hands by the same surgeon there, and staying at the OTC for a week in August 2015,” Scutt reminisced wryly. “I focused on putting the frustration and disappointment of a second Gulari/Scutt team injury aside, instead channeling my energy into getting back on the water safely as soon as possible. I focused on physical therapy, rest, nutrition to heal the bone, workouts, extra exercises to avoid imbalances after injury, fundraising, and logistics so that upcoming time in Europe could be focused on training and racing.”

Scutt attended the Foundation’s annual auction in late March where she delivered a moving speech (there was barely a dry eye in the room) and following that she took on three days volunteer coaching at a Nacra 15 clinic in Long Beach, Calif., a win-win for Scutt and attendees alike. “The kids’ energy and excitement were contagious,” Scutt reported.

Less than 7 weeks after Scutt’s surgery, she and Gulari we were able to get back on the water, this time in Barcelona. Scutt, sporting a custom hand brace, had to make some compensations for the lack of grip strength in that hand but nonetheless it was a huge relief – they were able to train.

“By being smart about the type and amount of training, we had no issues returning to training,” Scutt said. “Our 7 days in Barcelona with Riley Gibbs/Louisa Chafee and Argentinian gold medalists Santi Lange/Cecilia Carranza was a success.”

Next up was Hyeres for three days of training before the World Cup Series. The first day of racing was very light and after a bad start, at the top mark, the pair just missed the last puff strong enough for foiling downwind and did not make the finish time window for the only race that day. The second day of racing started with a black flag for disqualification for Gulari/Scutt. In the next two races they took 23 and 11, after two good starts but in a tricky breeze. The third day of racing was light breeze again and the pair scored 23, 17, 12.

“Since we haven’t been able to train much in that transitional condition, our ability to improve boatspeed throughout the day was promising,” Scutt stated. “On day 4, we finally had great boatspeed upwind but we have potential to improve downwind speed a lot. We finished 6, 11, 16, and 22, which was a good turnaround from the earlier part of the regatta. It keeps us hungry for more!”

In just their second regatta as a team, Scutt said she and Gulari are learning a lot about communicating with each other. It was also their first regatta working with coach Mike Ingham, the Nacra 17 squad coach for the US Sailing Team. “We’re excited about his perceptiveness, knowledge and dedication,” Scutt commented.

In mid-May, the Gulari/Scutt team trained for two weeks in Long Beach during which time they also joined the US Sailing Team Camp in San Francisco. They’re looking forward to getting back to work and logging hours on the water, with a view to their next regatta, the World Cup Final on June 3-10 in Marseille, France.

“All of our focus is on building up to the Aarhus World Championships starting August 5,” Helena said. “Thank you to the Foundation for its 2nd quarter grant in support of our Nacra 17 Olympic campaign!”

Michelle SladeGulari & Scutt Focus On Logging Crucial On-Water Hours
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StFSF Grantee Takes Bronze At World Cup Series Hyeres 2018

Pictured: Laser Radial Medalists, World Cup Series Hyères 2018. From left: Monika Mikkola (FIN), Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Paige Railey (USA). Photo: World Sailing.

US Sailing Team athlete and two-time Olympian Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) last weekend took home the bronze medal in the Laser Radial at World Cup Series Hyères 2018. Railey recently committed to campaigning for Tokyo 2020 in the women’s one-person dinghy, in which she has enjoyed a long and successful career at the international level. The Floridian sailor was near the top of the elite 64-boat fleet all week in France, winning three races in the 10-race qualifying round before finishing 8th in Sunday’s medal race. 2017 US Sailing Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Erika Reineke (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) also made the medal race in the Radial, and finished 6th overall.

“The medal race was a bit crazy.  I thought I was over the [starting] line early so I [re-started],” said Railey,  “I just climbed back into it, and instead of getting stressed out about medals I just focused on one moment at a time, kept hiking, and just kept sailing hard.”

Railey has only been active in Olympic class sailing for about six weeks in last 20 months since the Rio 2016 Olympics concluded, and said that her results in Hyères were personally encouraging. “I decided to campaign for Tokyo [2020] because I’ve achieved almost everything you can achieve in the Radial. The last missing piece is an Olympic gold medal. If I can secure that, I think I  can walk away saying I’ve done everything you can do in this boat,” said Railey, a record five-time Laser Radial World Championship medalist.

US Sailing Team Laser Radial athletes have been working with a new coach since 2017, 2004 Olympian and Star class world and European champion Steve Mitchell (Toronto, Canada). “Coach Steve has been a key person for me this year,” said Railey. I’ve been fighting an uphill battle since I decided to come back. There were some physical setbacks, but he set up a process and keeps me sticking to it.”

Railey and Reineke have been training partners under Mitchell, as the US Sailing Team continues to emphasize a team-centric development model under Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing Malcolm Page (Newport, R.I). “Erika and I agreed to be training partners after I got back into the boat,” continued Railey. “We’ve had great chemistry and are pushing each other. The hard work is paying off, and it’s great to have two Americans in the top six at a World Cup event. We want American Laser Radials to be a force to be reckoned with.”

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Michelle SladeStFSF Grantee Takes Bronze At World Cup Series Hyeres 2018
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Wanted: San Francisco/Bay Area Housing for US Sailing Team May 13-15

The US Sailing Team will be training in the San Francisco Bay Area this spring. In the near-term, accommodation is being sought for an off-water seminar being held at the St Francis Yacht Club May 13-15. Housing is needed for 20 athletes and 10 coaches. No cost housing will be helpful for those athletes on a tight budget. This is an opportunity to get to know the country’s most talented young sailors while at the same time helping in a big way!

Any potential hosts please contact Kate Drummey, Olympic Coordinator, who will place athletes with housing and coordinate details on schedules, arrival times, etc. Kate: ph. 401.342.7935; cell. 814.248.9433;

Thank you very much!

Michelle SladeWanted: San Francisco/Bay Area Housing for US Sailing Team May 13-15
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New FAST USA facility and program to include benefits for all Bay Area sailors, from public-school children to US Sailing Team athletes

San Francisco, CA – April 5, 2018 – FAST USA, the Facility for Advanced Sailing and Technology, has opened at Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC). FAST USA combines the resources of a three-way partnership between TISC, the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, and US Sailing, the sport’s national governing body. The partnership will enhance the community-based activities of TISC and create a flagship training base for the US Sailing Team of unprecedented scope and technological sophistication.

The new FAST USA facility is the realization of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation’s long held dream of a seamless pathway from beginner-level sailor to expert, known as the “Puddles to Podium” initiative. It is a dream shared by the foundation’s partners, TISC and US Sailing.

“We have watched the successes that other sports have had in creating a national training center and permanent home for their top athletes, coaches and trainers,” said Peter Stoneberg, Chairman, FAST USA Committee. “For the first time in the history of American sailing, FAST USA at TISC will provide this home for the sport. New and Olympic sailors alike will be surrounded by world-class technology companies, universities and life science facilities. When added to the outstanding sail training conditions in San Francisco Bay, we will be mining Olympic gold on Treasure Island.”

The FAST USA concept caps a 20-year effort from TISC to bring novice and Olympic sailors together in the same Bay Area training facility. The program will create a legacy of opportunity, mentorship, and excellence in sailing. TISC and the St. Francis Sailing Foundation have worked together on existing community sailing programs including the highly successful Set Sail Learn program for San Francisco public school 4th graders.

“We are thrilled about this new partnership and what it means for kids in our community.  Whether they join the Youth Racing Team, train to be a coach or teacher, or intern at a technology lab, there will be opportunities for them to become leaders in the sport of sailing,” said Carisa Harris, President of TISC.

“US Sailing’s commitment to FAST USA at TISC is comprehensive and unwavering,” said Jack Gierhart, CEO, US Sailing. “A revolutionary new facility of this kind at a well-established community sailing center will change the face of sailing on the West Coast. FAST USA will offer greatly expanded opportunities to experience and enjoy sailing in one of the world’s best sailing venues. We are proud to be a part of it.”

To highlight the launch of FAST USA, US Sailing has designated Treasure Island Sailing Center as one of the primary national training centers for the US Sailing Team.  Forming the centerpiece of the new Olympic-level facility will be an extensive container-based structure that previously served as an America’s Cup team base and was donated to US Sailing in 2017. US Sailing selected TISC as the new home for this cutting-edge facility as well as several top national team coaches and staff.

“We are grateful to our partners at St. Francis Sailing Foundation and TISC for working with us to make this concept a game-changing reality for US Sailing Team athletes,” said Malcolm Page, two-time Olympic gold medalist and Chief of U.S. Olympic Sailing.  “FAST USA will not only help us change the culture of our team and make us more competitive but give us a technical edge that no other national sailing team has.”

San Francisco Bay is known to competitive sailors worldwide for superb, year-round sailing conditions and areas optimal for both training and racing. The Bay offers a “menu” of varied conditions of wind and waves to suit the needs of students, athletes and coaches.

With technology playing an increasingly critical role in high-end athletics, FAST USA places America’s top sailing talent at the hub of US high-tech research and development. The Bay Area offers proximity to outstanding institutions of higher education and an ethos of innovation. The US Sailing Team’s technical staff will have access to an unprecedented breadth of technical solutions that will propel American sailors to medal-winning results.

“With the creation of FAST USA at TISC, we can offer high-level training opportunities for Bay Area sailors and Olympic hopefuls that currently do not exist,” said Bill Kreysler, President of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. “This facility will bridge existing gaps between youth, high school, collegiate and high-performance sailing. FAST USA will be the first facility of its kind in the nation, and we are thrilled to have US Sailing putting the wind at our back here in San Francisco. The seamless pathway we envision is a perfect fit for US Sailing’s joint goals of expanding sailing access on the west coast and winning Olympic medals.”


Top: Rio 2016 Olympic sailing bronze medalist and Bay Area resident Caleb Paine (Richmond, Calif.) will make use of the FAST USA facility along with the rest of the US Sailing Team and local sailors of all levels of experience. Photo: US Sailing



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Annual Auction Fundraiser A Great Success

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came out to support the recent St. Francis Sailing Foundation Auction. Over $250,000 was raised, funds which will be used to support “puddles to podium” sailing. Auction emcees Jim Cascino and Paul Cayard livened up the party with their bantering and tall stories, while Olympian Helena Scutt did not leave a dry eye in the room after sharing her story of climbing her way to sailing’s pinnacle.

Our sights are set on gold!

Thanks to Auction Chair Michelle Harris (left) & her committee for all their hard work!

Michelle SladeAnnual Auction Fundraiser A Great Success
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St Francis Sailing Foundation Grantees Make 2018 US Sailing Team

The St Francis Sailing Foundation would like to congratulate Riley Gibbs (Nacra 17), Caleb Paine (Finn), Paige Railey (Laser Radial), Erika Reineke (Laser Radial), and Helena Scutt (Nacra 17) on being named to the 2018 US Sailing Team. We wish them all the best in their endeavors this year, and beyond!

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Michelle SladeSt Francis Sailing Foundation Grantees Make 2018 US Sailing Team
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Learning from the best: Dave Perry clinic challenges youth sailors

The St Francis Sailing Foundation was proud to be a co-supporter of the Dave Perry Youth Match Racing Clinic recently held at the San Francisco Yacht Club. Perry, who is Vice Chairman of the US Match Racing Committee, covered tactics and strategies to be competitive and successful in match racing on the National Level. The Clinic, which was sailed in J/22s, was attended by some 24 Bay Area youth sailors including Chloe Holder, Sarah Cuyler, Mats Keldsen and Mackenzie Berwick who share some of the lessons learned from a great weekend of race training.

Chloe Holder: Learning from Dave was an incredible experience. He knows a ton about match racing, so we all wanted to absorb as much knowledge as possible. It was a new type of sailing for most us, so there was a lot to be learned. The meetings were packed with information, and he made a lot of jokes to keep us involved and actively participating.

I learned a ton about the most effective way to make it to the line on time and prevent the other boat from making it, as well as what to do off the start. We talked about boat speed and how to make the boat go as fast as possible, sail trim and having the proper amount of heel. We touched on how the rules change from fleet racing to match racing, like how to head people up when we get overlapped rather than having to let the windward boat sail their proper course.

Sarah Cuyler
My understanding of the rules and tricks of match racing has increased dramatically. In the mornings we learned off the water and during this time were encouraged to engage with our peers. This gave me the chance to get to know the other sailors and understand technical maneuvers which I could then apply on the water.

We spent much of the day sailing which allowed us to apply our knowledge and get a feel for the boat, our competitors, and how to navigate the course well. Through adverse weather conditions, we managed to sail and learn and grow every hour. Afterward, we reviewed footage of our maneuvers and discussed how we could improve. This was my favorite time as I was able to see clearly what I needed to work on.

I want to personally thank the San Francisco Yacht Club for hosting this event, and Dave for his unending love of sailing and coaching. I had an incredible weekend and would jump at the chance to do it again.

Mats Keldsen
I had previously sailed in a clinic run by Dave and I was reintroduced to his style of coaching. Even in the light air that Sunday presented us with, Dave continued to run races and made the most of the tactics that he had imparted upon us during the previous days. Personally, it was an opportunity to practice light wind starts and accelerations, and I was satisfied with the knowledge I had gained, which allowed me to confidently navigate the pre-start(s). My team, who had little experience in match racing, were able to take a step back and slow down from the agile dinghies they were used to. Match racing was a new and fun way to sail, and Dave taught us how to do that at a high level.

Mackenzie Berwick
The clinic was a wonderful opportunity to learn about match racing. Through detailed video review, tactical advice, and plenty of drills, we all improved quickly. The conditions were fair. We got to try our skills in heavier breeze on Saturday and lighter air on Sunday. Thanks to the hard work of the SFYC staff, the support of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, and the leadership and knowledge of Dave, our team had lots of fun and made big improvements. The support and attention given to the Bay Area Youth sailors has been outstanding and encouraging. We look forward to future clinics and regattas!

Mackenzie Berwick, Nick Dorn, Jacob Kowalski, Mats Keldsen
SF Cup Junior Match Race Team 2018



Michelle SladeLearning from the best: Dave Perry clinic challenges youth sailors
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From The Field – Nacra 17 training in Argentina

A week and a half after the Sailing World Cup Miami wrapped up, Helena Scutt and her skipper Bora Gulari, together with Riley Gibbs and Louisa Chafee were on a plane from Miami to Buenos Aires, Argentina. After a busy month of January in Miami, they were ready for a new venue, and of course with that came a new culture too. Here, Helena shares experiences from Argentina.

The Rio 2016 gold medalists in the Nacra 17, Santi Lange and Cecilia Carranza, invited us to train with them at Santi’s yacht club in Buenos Aires, Argentina, called Club Nautico San Isidro (CNSI). The yacht club is a beautiful and enormous institution with 13,000 members! The surrounding area feels like a giant Tinsley Island. There are canals everywhere full of sailboats on boat sides. In fact, we commuted by coach boat from our rental house!

CNSI was the host of the 2015 49er & 49erFX World Championships which I competed in, so it was not my first time there, but it is so different from home that it felt just as novel to me as it was new to Bora, Riley and Louisa. The best part is how many sail boats were out cruising every day (there are virtually no motorboats), enjoying the Rio de la Plata. El Rio looks like chocolate milk, it’s brown from the sediment carried thousands of miles from Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. It’s the widest river in the world and only 2m deep!

Conditions changed gradually each day, allowing us to get distinct morning and evening sessions. Since the river is so shallow and can have strong current in either direction (it can be very wind driven), the chop can really stack up close together. This makes for challenging downwind foiling in the Nacra 17. Performance depends on dynamic weight movement fore and aft, in and out, and of course precise spinnaker and mainsheet trim. Every movement and change must be anticipated, otherwise you’re already late. Foiling gybes are becoming more consistent for us, and through lots of short-course practice racing we are forced to make fast decisions in a fast boat even faster.

The main lesson for us, aside from our technique and sail/foil setup improvements, came from Santi and Ceci – their energy towards sailing. Every time they step onto their Nacra, from pushing off the ramp to returning into the basin, they are sailing with an intensity like their life depends on it. An Olympic campaign can be a long road with lots of travel, long days, and seemingly tedious details. But as gold medalists (and three-time medalist, in Santi’s case), they know that purposeful practice is all that matters at the end of the day. We are grateful to have them as role models, friends, training partners, and competitors.

After training one evening we enjoyed a traditional Argentinean barbecue (asado) and another evening we went to a local soccer match where the fans didn’t stop jumping and singing for the whole game. Besides that, we were training so much that we didn’t have the chance to explore the area much at all, but we hope to return for longer in the future.

The container with our boats will go from Buenos Aires to … San Francisco! We look forward to using these boats on the Bay in May before they head to the 2020 Olympic venue in Japan for two events in September.

Next on the calendar is kicking off the European season. Riley and Louisa will race at Palma and then we’ll join them and Santi & Ceci for training in Barcelona and then the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.

We’d like to thank the St Francis Sailing Foundation for their generous and consistent support of both of our campaigns. Both Gulari/Scutt and Gibbs/Chafee teams believe in the US Sailing Team’s vision, that working together will ultimately lead to a better USA result in Tokyo 2020, and that’s what it’s all about. Follow our journey to 2020 at

Challenging conditions prevailed on the Rio de la Plata

Michelle SladeFrom The Field – Nacra 17 training in Argentina
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Looking out for the success of our future sailors – a conversation with JJ Fetter

St Francis Sailing Foundation caught up with JJ Fetter, Foundation advisor and two-time Women’s 470 Olympic Medalist, recently back from the US Sailing Leadership Forum in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Here she shares highlights from the Forum, as well as her thoughts on getting kids into the sport…and keeping them engaged.

Was there one particular topic at the Forum which received a lot of attention?
JJ: I thought one of the big topics that seemed to get a lot of buzz was the fact that we were celebrating 30 years of women in Olympic sailing, which was super fun on a personal level. I got to see some of my former competitors like Allison Jolly and Lynne Jewell (the pair won gold in the 470 at the ’88 Summer Olympics in Korea and the only American sailors, male or female, to win a gold medal at the Games. I also caught up with Pam Healy who I went to the Games with in 1992, as well as Kris Stookey and Louise Van Voorhis (who represented the US in the ‘96 Games in the 470), so it was really fun to catch up with old friends.

Cory Sertl (alternate on the ’88 Olympic team and vice president of US Sailing), who was also part of that group of women who were training and competing against each other in 1992, organized a really cool thread that ran throughout the Forum focusing on women, like the Women in Sailing Leadership Session. Pam was on that panel with Cory, Lynn Handy and Amanda Callahan. The session was standing-room only with a good percentage of men attending! It definitely seemed to be a topic people were talking about in the hallways and at the cocktail parties.

How was the subject of participation in sailing addressed?
JJ: The great thing about the Leadership Forum, I think, is that it is evolving into a forum where organizations with creative programming are bringing ideas and solutions to some of the issues in our sport, like participation. The US Sailing leadership is doing a good job of identifying those program directors and coaches and bringing them to the group. The sessions were all very collaborative where people were encouraged to share things their organization has tried, shared contact information etc. There was a lot of talk about how junior programs have equal numbers of boys and girls up to a certain age, then girls’ participation really drops off. Some stories that were shared indicated that girls want a more social sailing environment and team aspect at a younger age so maybe less inclined to go the solo Opti route – they would rather have a double-handed boat introduced earlier so they can stay with their buddy.

When you take a good hard look at the high school and college programs, the fact is that many times there are unequal opportunities for tall athletic bigger girls in those programs unless they want to sail a Laser Radial. It would be great to expose those girls to trapeze dinghies. Showing those girls a very cool high-performance boat is one of the great things that the St Francis Sailing Foundation is doing with its supported clinics. The Foundation is leading by example in supporting female Olympic aspirants. It provided crucial support to many of our female US Olympians at the Rio Games including Marion Lepert, Helena Scutt, Briana Provancha and Paige Railey. And, it is identifying and supporting the next generation of talent — the 2016 Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year, Daniela Moroz, and the 2017 recipient Erika Reineke are both Foundation grantees.

What kind of youth programming do you think should be available?
JJ: In our youth discussions it was addressed that we need to be careful in programs that try to do a one-size-fits-all approach. There will be the kids who want to go the high-performance route, those who will want to do the adventure sailing route, others who want to sail the round-robin tactical kind of boats, and kids who want to be the next Charlie Enright and go around the world. We need to make sure the kids are exposed to all those aspects of our sport and are building the skills at age-appropriate stages so that they can go wherever they want – kiteboard, cruising, racing, whatever. I embrace the fact that our sport has all these different avenues.

Additionally, an important challenge for the future of our sport will be to expand and include a more diverse population. One important solution is to increase access through community sailing programs. St Francis Sailing Foundation is taking a leadership role here by supporting programs at the Treasure Island Sailing Center in San Francisco, like “Set, Sail, Learn”. Last year, the program introduced sailing to over 1,500 fourth-graders from the public school system. A large percentage of the kids are Hispanic, and many come back for the two-week summer course. The Foundation is providing scholarships to 80% of those kids.

Do you think it is more complicated today for kids to put their “everything” into the sport?
JJ: Kids are getting pulled in so many different directions and an Olympic campaign for example, has become such a full-time professional endeavor in a way that it wasn’t back in my day. And I’ve seen that at every stage. When I was sailing varsity in college and recall the amount that we practiced, the kids in my junior program now practice as many times a week as we did, and college kids are practicing as hard as many hours a week and training in the gym many hours as I did for my first Olympic campaign! Everything is just ramped up exponentially. I think the Olympic path – and I know I am biased – is so rewarding. There is truly nothing like competing against the top sailors in the world at a regatta where all competitors are at the peak of that sport. When you are on that starting line at the Olympics, every competitor knows what the other has sacrificed for that goal. The respect that you have for your competitors, the respect they have for you and putting it all on the line in a regatta where there’s no “do-over”, it’s an amazing experience. And, it’s so cool to know that right now, half of our US Sailing Team squad is female!

Where should the focus be to improve US sailing success at the highest level?
JJ: Living in Southern California, I am super excited that LA is going to host the 2028 Olympics – Long Beach is a great place to sail. When the Olympics were here in 1984, the US won silver or gold in every event and to me, that is the goal we should be working toward – thinking about what we can do to get the US back on the podium in every class by then. A well-integrated training center is important to that end. A key part of developing Olympic sailors is to keep inspiring the kids and exposing younger sailors to cool, fun high-performance boats and let them experience how fun it is to sail a planing dinghy or trapeze on a 29er or Nacra, and to try windsurfing. As the late, great Bob Billingham would say, “Plant a lot of little seeds”, to see which sailors are willing to put in the work and have the passion to develop their skills. Pam Healy is doing an amazing job of organizing clinics that plant those seeds.

We also need our sailors to put more time in on the water but for that to happen, we need to give the sailors the resources they deserve as professional sailors. Everyone needs to get out their check books and support Olympic sailing, support their local campaigners and regional programs that are supporting Olympic sailors and US Sailing’s Olympic program!


Michelle SladeLooking out for the success of our future sailors – a conversation with JJ Fetter
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