Latest News

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 facebook.com/gulariscuttracing.

Challenging conditions prevailed on the Rio de la Plata

Michelle SladeFrom The Field – Nacra 17 training in Argentina
Read More

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
Read More

Paine Puts Silver Lining on 2018 World Cup Series Miami

A year and a half ago, with the majestic hills of Rio de Janeiro as a backdrop, Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) proved that he’s not afraid of sporting’s bright lights, claiming the Finn class bronze medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics with a stirring win in the Medal Race. Earlier today, on Biscayne Bay, Paine came up big again when the pressure was its most intense, earning the Finn silver medal in the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA.

“For the first event back in the year and a half, it was a great result,” said Paine (above), who officially launched his campaign for Tokyo 2020 this week. “I look forward to improving that in the near future.”

Paine started the Medal Race needing to place one boat between himself and Alican Kaynar (TUR) to move from third to second in the overall standings, while also not letting Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) finish too far ahead. Giles Scott (GBR), the reigning Olympic gold medalist, had simply to finish the race to ensure himself of the gold medal.

Full story by Stuart Streuli, World Sailing: http://www.ussailing.org/paine-puts-silver-lining-on-world-cup-series-2018/

Michelle SladePaine Puts Silver Lining on 2018 World Cup Series Miami
Read More

St Francis Sailing Foundation Grantee Wins Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award

The St Francis Sailing Foundation extends its congratulations to Enoshima Olympic Week Laser Radial Gold Medalist Erika Reineke and J/70 World Champion Peter Duncan who have been selected as Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year for their remarkable sailing performances in 2017. Erika is a grantee of the Foundation with a promising future in the Laser Radial. Read more: http://www.ussailing.org/rolexyofy2017-award_winners/

Michelle SladeSt Francis Sailing Foundation Grantee Wins Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award
Read More

St Francis Sailing Foundation Supports First Regionally-Focused ODP Clinic

Jack Sutter & Charlotte Versavel rip it up on the Bay

Without a doubt, a 2017 highlight for experienced youth sailors was the first regionally-focused Olympic Development Heavy Weather Clinic held in September and hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club (with the support of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation and the Belvedere Cove Foundation). 40 youth sailors ages 15-20 from around the country attended the 3-day camp. Significantly, it was first time that US Sailing extended participation in its training camps to local regional programs.

The goal was to have ODP coaches and sailors work alongside the local sailors and coaches to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing on both levels. Participants were on the water from 10-2pm daily sailing 29ers, Lasers and Nacras, followed by a debrief. Coaches included Grant Spanhake, Kevin Hall, David Liebenberg, Dane Wilson, Caleb Paine, Mark Andrews and Pete Melvin. Here, San Francisco Bay Area sailors Jack Sutter, Charlotte Versavel, Will Glasson and Chloe Holder reflect on their experience.

15-year old Jack Sutter from Benecia, Calif., is a member of the St FYC and RYC. He’s a sophomore at St. Patrick-St Vincent High School. Jack sailed the clinic in the Nacra 15 with crew Charlotte Versavel.

“Our coaches, Leandro Spina and Pete Melvin (designer of the Nacra) were always helpful and we learned so much from them. The boat is very new and there are many different ways to sail it. It’s exciting to sail a new boat design where you are allowed to discover new techniques and the fastest way to sail the boat. The coaches helped us refine our upwind and downwind sailing as well as tuning and adjusting the boat for its best performance. The boat has so many ways to depower and we learned all about it in very descriptive powerpoint presentations and morning meetings.

Rigging under watchful eye of Caleb Paine, Olympic bronze medalist

The coaches were always around for questions no matter what class they were teaching. Each day Charlotte and I had many questions and we always discovered something new. The conditions at the city front were completely random. I’ve never sailed upwind with 90 degree hot air in my face on San Francisco Bay! The second day we had more wind but the last day was nuking and choppy. In the afternoon of the last day we sailed the boats across the bay to Richmond Yacht Club. It was very windy and sketchy but the best downwind sail ever! Charlotte and I were so stoked on sailing the city front and ripping around the Bay!”

14-year old Charlotte Versavel from Palo Alto, Calif., is a member of the St. FYC and RYC, and a 9th grader at Palo Alto High School. Prior to the ODP Clinic, she and Jack practiced every weekend for over a month out of St. FYC, and were excited to compare their boat speed and maneuvers to the rest of the Nacra 15 fleet. The pair are aiming to represent St. FYC and the United States at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

“We were happy to find that our maneuvers were overall much better than most of the teams, and that our upwind boat speed was also really good. Downwind, Jack and I were unbeatable, which was awesome, especially considering the amount of time we have been sailing together, and the experience we have as a team. By observing the other teams, Jack and I figured out how to  improve our accelerations a lot. We also learned that we will need to work more on our racing skills. The coaches, especially Pete, Fuzz, Adam, and Leandro, were really helpful, answering and explaining our questions and encouraging us to try new things on and off the water.

ODP training on the San Francisco city front

Jack and I want to thank the Foundation for providing us with coach and safety boats in the lead up and during the clinic. We would like to thank the Club for hosting the clinic, and for allowing us to keep our boat and trailer in the lot for over a month. We are grateful to US Sailing for putting on the Clinic and to Pam Healy for organizing it. We thank our coach Adam for challenging us to try out new things, and also our parents for driving and supporting.”

16-year old Chloe Holder is from San Anselmo, Calif., and is a junior at Redwood High School. She’s been sailing since she was 9 and currently sails out of St. FYC. She is looking forward to participating in college sailing in the future, so the clinic was an awesome opportunity for her.

“I learned a ton. We had amazing coaches and it was really great to compete against some of the best kids in the US. We had meetings every morning before sailing, and were able to apply what we learned in the boat. Every team improved greatly throughout the course of the weekend. It was an incredible opportunity and I learned a lot. Thanks to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation for sponsoring such a fantastic clinic.”

Caleb Paine shares his winning tips…

15-year old Will Glasson is a sophomore at Palo Alto High School and a junior member at St. FYC. He’s originally from Maine but has lived in California for the last six years. He started out sailing Opti’s at the Ventura Yacht Club then joined Molly Vandemoer’s program at the Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation (Palo Alto, Calif.) when he moved to the area two years ago. There he got into FJ’s and Club 420s. About a year ago he started in the 29er Program at Richmond Yacht Club where he got hooked…

“It was probably the best decision I have made in my sailing career as it has opened up so many more opportunities. Since then I have attended CISA and competed in Midwinters West, US nationals, and 29er Worlds. The ODP Clinic was my first time sailing with my new partner, which faced us with many challenges such as communication, timing, and defining roles, all of which we improved greatly over the weekend with the help of all the great coaching we were receiving. By the end of the weekend, we were pretty much able to keep up with the rest of the group which was extremely rewarding.

ODP sailors experience all conditions on SF Bay

It was really refreshing to sail on city front and awesome to have such high-level coaches and sailors and a venue like StFYC. This allowed for one of the most productive clinics I have participated in. Thank you so much to everyone at US. Sailing and StFYC for putting a great clinic.”

 

 

 

Michelle SladeSt Francis Sailing Foundation Supports First Regionally-Focused ODP Clinic
Read More

16-year old Daniela Moroz Does It Again

Daniela Moroz crowned World Champion

Two-time World Champion Daniela Moroz talks about her recent sweep of the Oman Formula Kite World Championships. From race 1, Moroz had the outcome dialed, winning with a 27-point lead over Elena Kalinina (Russia) in second. Per the International Kiteboarding Association point system, Moroz was ranked third going into the Worlds because she didn’t attend as many IKA events as the other women competitors and so received more points than those women. Unofficially however, she was ranked first since she’d won every foiling event she competed in this year.

Was there anything specific you were focused on to reach the level you needed to be for the Worlds?

Daniela Moroz takes her second World Championship title

DM: It’s hard to point out one specific strength since I feel like I’ve become pretty well-rounded. I trained a lot over the summer, and tried to get some time in light wind conditions, which were my weakness last year. Improving my light wind skills was definitely a focus for me this year. Once school started at the end of August, I didn’t have as many opportunities to really train on the water outside of events, so I tried to make up for that by going to the gym and swim practice, and really paying attention to what I was eating.

Going into this event, I knew there would be A LOT of expectations of me. I knew that everyone was expecting me to win. Personally, I hate having expectations for myself because it is so disappointing if you don’t do what you expected to. But I knew that everyone expected me to win. It was difficult to tune all of that out at first, especially traveling to Oman for the event. On the training day, I was pretty stressed out but as soon as racing started, something just kind of clicked and I didn’t worry about the different possibilities. I just focused on what I had to do, race by race. It worked out pretty well in the end – haha!

What did you feel you were particularly strong at?

DM: One of my strengths was being able to mentally tune out all those expectations and just focus on myself and my race, one by one. Physically, racing in strong wind is a big strength for me, being from San Francisco. However, I also think something that I really improved on this year was understanding my gear and especially knowing how to adjust my kites. Last year, I was brand new to it and was honestly afraid of doing it on my own. I always had one of my teammates help me out with it. But this time I felt a lot more confident about it. For example, on the last training day before racing began, I went out on a kite that I had not spent too much time on, and it did not feel the way I normally like. I felt much more confident about coming in and adjusting the knots to the way I felt would be better. It’s something minor, but it made a big difference – that kite, an 11m, ended up being PERFECT on the windy day and it definitely made me trust my own judgement more.

How were the conditions and were they favorable for you?

DM: We had a variety of conditions throughout the week. I think that’s the best kind of event because that way only the true best people can win because they have to be good in everything. We raced in everything from 6 knots on the morning of the first day and last day to around 22-25 on the second day to 10-13 on the days in between. I used almost every kite I registered.

How did the competition compare this year to last? Who were you looking out for and why?

DM: I think the overall level of the women’s fleet has improved a lot. Elena Kalinina, from Russia, is really strong in light wind, as I saw at the Worlds last year. I was definitely looking out for her when it was light. Alexia Fancelli from France has improved a lot over this season, and I was surprised at her speed when it was windier. I felt like I kind of knew most of the girls’ strengths and weaknesses, but I mostly just tried to focus on myself and my own race.

It seems like for the most part you were strong from the get-go – what were the defining moments of the competition?

DM: I felt pretty good after the first day, winning all but one race. I just tried to be consistent and sail clean. The second day was the windy day when we were on 11m’s, and I loved those conditions. I think my defining moment was after the second day. I had won 10 out of the 12 races we’d done so far and it gave me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the week.

What equipment were you on?

DM: Ozone R1 V2’s and Mike’sLab board and foil.

What’s next for a two-time World Champion????

DM: I HAVE to focus on finishing junior year! It’s a tough year, so I really want to just keep my grades up. Other than that, I love what I’m doing and I’m gonna go for #3 next year!

Images: Courtesy Toby Bromwich

Results: http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2017_FK_Worlds_Results_Women.htm

Michelle Slade16-year old Daniela Moroz Does It Again
Read More

Adventure and Success on the Olympic Journey

The St Francis Sailing Foundation caught up with Laser Radial sailor Erika Reineke, recently back from training and competing abroad. The 24-year old is feeling pretty dang good about life after taking gold in Japan at the Enoshima Olympic Regatta: “Even though peaking for this event wasn’t the goal of the trip – it was to familiarize with the venue – I was very happy to come home with gold!” she said. “It was an incredibly amazing feeling to win a championship at the venue where the Games will be held in three years.”

Erika’s tour started in Barcelona, Spain, at the Radial European Championships where she finished in 6th place. “The venue was absolutely beautiful with sunny skies and big swell every day,” she described. “The regatta was particularly challenging because of the top-level competition and for a few of the days, the swell was so big that it was impossible to see the pressure on the water. Sometimes the fleet was completely hidden in the troughs of the waves.”

She had a somewhat unique experience while in Barcelona as the Catalonian political movement to become an independent country was in full force: “The streets were filled with protesters all day and night. Racing was canceled on the first day of the regatta because the Race Committee decided to protest in the streets instead of run races.”

From the Europeans, she flew to Gamagori, Japan for the first regatta of the 2018 World Cup Series where a series of typhoons put a literal damper on racing. “The weather was not as beautiful as Barcelona however the Japanese people left their mark on me,” Erika commented. “They were so kind and always willing to help. As I wandered lost and confused through the train stations, so many people offered to help me get to where I was going. It was nothing like taking the subway in New York City, where people just walk by without a care in the world.”

After a week-long regatta of gray skies and rain, a good result in the Medal Race moved Erika up to 5th place to finish off the World Cup Event. The US Team continued its stay in Japan, taking a six-hour bus ride from Gamagori to Enoshima and Olympic Week which concluded the 2017 season. Her plans over the next few months include hitting the gym hard until the Miami World Cup Event in January. She’s grateful to everyone who has supported her journey thus far, with a special call-out to the St Francis Sailing Foundation: “Thank you again to the Foundation for their interest in my dream of gold at the 2020 Games and continued support as these results would not have been possible without their help!”

About Erika

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Graduated from: Boston College in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Geoscience.

Grew up sailing: In an Opti at Lauderdale Yacht Club on the Atlantic.

Knew early on that she wanted to sail at a high level: “I was exposed early on to elite athletes through my diving, swimming, volleyball and sailing coaches, and was positively influenced by their infinite amount of passion and drive. I saw their medals and I wanted what they had. By age 12, I knew I wanted to be an Olympian and the only way that was going to happen was if I committed to becoming a student of the sport.”

Why the Laser Radial: “People always say sports are a game of inches and the physical aspect of the Laser Radial epitomizes that. It is the slowest, most physically demanding boat that gives such little reward in the end for all the effort you put into it. In other words, you hike so hard only to gain a few boat lengths. As a result, pushing through the physicality of the boat becomes a mental game. I fell in love with the combination of the physical and mental aspects of the boat because, to me, this is what the Olympic sports are all about. Sheer grit.”

Favorite places to race: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Favorite training partners: Her sister Sophia Reineke, and Pernelle Michon. “ I have the most fun with them and they are great sailors and competitors. Surrounding myself with people who love the sport as much as me can only lead to a fun time on the water.”

Next big event: Miami World Cup Event in January: “I am so excited to sail in my home state!”

What it will take to win gold in Japan: “Having fun while giving it my all the next three years.”

When she’s not sailing: “I love to spend time enjoying life with the people I love. My best friend and little sister, Sophia, is the best thing in my life. Our actions and laughter might not make sense to other people but we understand each other completely.”

On inspiration & motivation: “You are only given one shot at life and I believe that I am fulfilling my purpose by using the gifts that God gave me to pursue my dream. Additionally, I am so grateful and fortunate that I am able to do what I love. This is what gives me the motivation to be the absolute best I can be.”

Favorite post-racing food: “Sushi and Acai bowls – yum!”

Tips for young sailors who want to follow your success: “Be someone you want others to look up to, no matter what success or adversity comes your way. If you live by that on and off the water, you’ll have success in anything you do. Remember to smile. Doing what you love is supposed to be fun, so never lose sight of that.”

###

Michelle SladeAdventure and Success on the Olympic Journey
Read More

One Year Later: Bronze medalist Caleb Paine reflects on his Olympic journey

26-year old Caleb Paine cast an end to the dry spell for US sailing when he won a bronze medal in the Finn at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the first US medal in sailing since 2008. Paine took some six months off after Rio feeling a definite need to just kick back and enjoy his well-earned prize while also testing out the “real world” before jumping into the next go-round. He’s just now ramping up training and is looking forward to the 2020 Games: “I want to move up the podium and take gold! That’s the whole goal. This may be the last Olympics for the Finn so I am going to do everything I possibly can to make that happen.”

MS: What DO Olympic athletes do after the Games?
CP:
It’s an interesting question to ask in the US for sure. Depending on the country you are from, you typically have a lot of resources to back you up and it’s easier to transition into other campaigns. Look at Peter Burling (NZL), Giles Scott (GBR) – guys who were medalists in their (Olympic) classes went onto the America’s Cup, the Volvo, etc., because they have federation backing. They’re easily able to transition into something else between Olympic events. Sailing in the US, if you stop Olympic sailing, the funding doesn’t continue so there was this lull for me after the Olympics, I had to figure out how I was going to afford the next couple of months.

MS: When does training start over for the 2020 Games?
CP:
Some people go all the way through and continue training. I trained for six years for the last Olympics, I was super burned out and didn’t have anything left to put back into it so took time off. Now is the time that people are slowly trickling back in so I’m hoping to get together with training partners soon. You want to be the best and be with the best, beating the best.

MS: You recently moved from San Diego to San Francisco – what are you hoping to accomplish there?
CP:
I moved specifically to train. I was also fortunate to be a grantee of the St Francis Sailing Foundation which was always a constant throughout my campaign. Past Olympians sit on the Board and many great sailors are involved, people who can help with anything from legal to fund raising. They offer the entire package which is huge, especially when things get a little shaky, they make the difference when things get really tough. They also share the same goal as I do – bring medals home for the US, it’s an awesome thing.

MS: It can’t be all work…what are you doing for fun on the Bay?
CP:
Well, I live on a boat at the Richmond Yacht Club – a Nauticat 33, a little motor sailor with a pilot house, not a fast sailboat but I’m okay with that! I’m on fast boats all the time. It’s great and the club is amazing, they help me out a lot, it’s a 5-minute walk to my boat and I can be sailing in the Berkeley Circle in 30 minutes. It’s hard to beat. Having done only Olympic sailing for the last 6 years, I’m finally trying to explore other avenues – anything I can get my hands on. I recently trimmed main on the Open 40 California Condor Buzz which was a blast. I’d love to explore foiling, giant Mod 70s, Volvos – any of that, as well as other aspects of sailing like match racing and team racing.

MS: Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
CP:
I started sailing Sabots in San Diego when I was very young. When I was about 5-6 years old, I found out that sailing was in the Olympic Games. I decided then I wanted to go to the Olympics. My whole life slowly got me closer and closer to that goal. Did I always think I was going to win? No, but to have the self-belief that you are is something entirely different. I just believed I could do it if I put in the time, energy and effort. I was fortunate enough to meet people like Bill Kreysler (President, St Francis Sailing Foundation) who helped me out a lot in the beginning and Chris Frackiewicz from New York. Without these sponsors there’s no way I would have made it happen. It’s amazing for me to look back and know that those guys saw something in me that even I didn’t really know I had.

MS: Was your Olympic campaign a college trade off?
CP:
In the US, the thought is that you can do both. When I was in high school, I decided that there was no way I could dedicate the time needed to do both school and sail to win a medal. You’re either going to do both half assed and not being truly successful at either, so I went full-time sailing. A testament to that is that I was the only one to win a medal in the 2016 Olympic Games. Looking forward, it’s a balance – do I pursue my career in professional sailing which is the only way in the US that you can continue in the sport, or do I retire at some point, go to school, get a job and go that route? The one thing I have learned about myself is that I like the independence that you learn through an Olympic campaign – it teaches you a lot of skills which have helped me see better ways of doing everything I am doing.

MS: What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced on the Olympic trail?
CP:
Ensuring that your living expenses are covered and stuff like that is an important part of a campaign and it can take away from contributing to your final goal which is to win gold. Another challenge is learning how to prepare for the event, and the only way to do that is to go to a lot of events but all that travel and organization can take away from good solid time on the water.

MS: What would you do differently to improve your training?
CP:
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect looking back at the campaign and how I would do things differently, how would I improve. The biggest jumps in my ability came about after long training camp blocks. I have become very good friends with the Canadian guys and we basically moved to Florida for four months during the winter. We sailed every single day and that is when I made a massive jump in my skills. I plan on doing fewer regattas this fall and doing many more days on the water. I think that’ll be better for me.

MS: Are you overwhelmed at going into another Olympic campaign knowing what you do?
CP:
No, I am excited about it. The only thing I’m a little nervous about is the fund-raising but I’m in the process of making proposals. Nonetheless, there’s still that uncertainty factor, just not knowing how it will all come together.

MS: What DOES it cost to do an Olympic campaign?
CP
: A ballpark figure would be $150K/year prior to the Olympics, then the Olympic year probably $200K, so roughly half a million dollars for a full campaign. I think I needed more money to do what I think I needed to win gold. 70% of the campaign is just boat handling and training, going sailing all the time and knowing what it takes, knowing how to set up in a start, knowing that routine, that’s a huge part. 20% of it is the logistical aspect, the last 10% is just boat speed, that’s focusing on squeezing every little bit of speed out of the boat – for sure there are gains to be made but that last 10% is the most expensive part too, LOL! It’s a funny balance.

MS: What is important to you in your training?
CP:
Great coaching is huge and I think that’s one of the things that US Sailing is doing well now under Malcolm Paige’s guidance. He’s got more people involved and is getting great coaches to try to put American sailing back on top. That’s the other thing too, there are plenty of great sailors out there who perhaps don’t have what it takes to get to the top but at the same time they make good coaches. When I’m coaching Finn sailing, on the other hand, there are some things that I keep to myself because that’s my own hard work – they don’t need to know ALL my secrets! Training partners are also important to me. They got me to where I am now. It’s a lot of blood sweat and tears, you push each other to total breaking point. Some of my fondest memories of the Olympics and leading up to the campaign is the time I spent with those guys. I’ll take special trips to Toronto every now and then just to see them because they are truly my best friends.

MS: Just how hard do you need to work at getting to – and staying – at the top in this sport?
CP:
I see guys who work hard but you have to work even harder than you think to be at the very top – I think it’s something I didn’t fully realize until about 9 months before the Olympics. I had kind of a dramatic Olympic trials with Zach Raily the silver medalist from 2008 coming back to sailing, it came down to the last race…just knowing he was there definitely pushed me and got me to think of things in a different way which in the long run helped me tremendously. It has changed how I will approach anything for the rest of my life. The Olympics will do that and it’s pretty special to be part of that.

MS: Who do you consider your mentors?
CP:
My parents Doug and Connie Paine, and my sponsors Bill and Chris. Chris was a Polish immigrant who came to America with $46 in his pocket and now he he’s very financially successful, a great role model. I happened to meet him at the boat park in Clearwater, FL, and he liked what I was doing. Then, we had the Finn Gold Cup here on the Bay in 2010. We were out in front of the St FYC and I was just wheeling my boat up. A gentleman comes up to me and starts looking at my boat. He introduces himself as Bill and said he used to sail a Finn. Turns out we are both from San Diego, Bill’s parents had a house in Point Loma and Bill was a member at the same yacht club I was sailing for, he went down to the junior program where I was working at the time and said,”I have met Caleb Paine and I want to buy him a boat”. Without meeting Bill I wouldn’t have had the new boat I needed – LOL! I was able to get funding from US Sailing and slowly moved my way up, then Chris bought the boat I sailed in the Olympics. Without those guys, there’s no way it would be possible. It’s one of the coolest things about sailing, you meet the best people, it’s awesome. I have friends all over the world and am very fortunate to have met the people I have – they have been a large contribution to what I have been able to achieve.

**Olympic campaigns are expensive. Anyone wishing to help can go to https://www.stfsf.org/contribute/donate/**

Michelle SladeOne Year Later: Bronze medalist Caleb Paine reflects on his Olympic journey
Read More

First Regionally Focused ODP Training Camp Kicks Off in San Francisco Sept 2-4

Finn sailor Caleb Paine wins bronze in Rio

The first regionally focused Olympic Development Program (ODP) Training Camp gets underway on Saturday in San Francisco with 40 youth sailors, ages 15-20, from around the country. The notable coach lineup includes Rio medalist Caleb Paine (who recently re-located to San Francisco to begin training for the 2020 Olympics) along with Grant Spanhake, Kevin Hall, David Liebenberg, Dane Wilson, Mark Andrews and Pete Melvin.

Sponsored primarily by the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, the 3-day camp will be held at the St. Francis Yacht Club, with additional support from the Belvedere Cove Foundation. The training camp is part of a high-performance fall training series for ODP team members and the US Youth Worlds team to prepare for the Youth Worlds in December.

Significantly, however, this is the first time that US Sailing has extended participation in its training camps to local regional programs. The goal is to have ODP coaches and sailors work alongside the local sailors and coaches to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing on both levels. Participants will be on the water from 10-2pm daily, followed by a debrief.

“Due to the success of the 2015 ODP clinic here in San Francisco, we are fortunate to again be selected as the venue for this camp,” Pam Healy, St Francis Sailing Foundation advisor and US Sailing Youth Committee member commented. “Significantly, US Sailing will be holding future developmental clinics in various regions across the US to bring up the regional level of local sailors.”

The skill focus for this camp will be on sailing in heavy weather; the October and November camps will focus on speed and racing, respectively. The following classes will be supported: Laser Radial, i420, 29er, and Nacra15.

Paine, who received significant funding and assistance from the St Francis Sailing Foundation throughout his recent – and successful – Olympic campaign is excited to have the opportunity to coach this weekend. “I am so grateful for all the help I received throughout my campaign and know only too well how important training camps like this are for personal development. Consistency and repetition as well as the opportunity to train with others is key.”

Regional sailors attending the clinic were selected based on high skill level (top 15 finishers, or equivalent skill level, at the class Midwinters, North Americans, or other championship-level events) and heavy weather experience (experience and capability sailing in high breeze -20kts), as well as demonstrated commitment to the sport and a high fitness level.

###

Michelle SladeFirst Regionally Focused ODP Training Camp Kicks Off in San Francisco Sept 2-4
Read More