Growing the Sport beyond Youth Sailing

Published on November 15th, 2015

An initiative by Melges 32 class members Jason Carroll and the DeVos family is hoping to help bridge the gap between post-junior/college sailing and entering into a grand prix racing arena. Called Project Sail, the goal is to provide a racing experience that otherwise might be not be possible.

Competing at the Melges 32 U.S. National Championship in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on December 4-6 will be eight young sailors that have been handed the keys to a top-flight Melges 32. They will jump on the race course and begin the learning process of what it takes to compete in a grand prix racing environment. Joining the young sailors as on-board coach and main trimmer, is longtime Melges 32 sailor Marty Kullman.

“Ideally we would like to see these sailors put forth a lot of effort, improve their skills, work within a team, be competitive and ultimately, have a valuable experience that will help open doors for them in the future,” commented Kullman. “I think by the end of the first regatta, we will have learned a tremendous amount, and hopefully surprise a few of the other Melges 32 teams.”

Chosen through a selection process from Macatawa Bay, Larchmont and Lauderdale yacht clubs, Team Hydra will meet for the first time in Ft. Lauderdale for two days of training prior to Nationals. Along with Coach Kullman, the team includes Morgan Kiss, Mac Agnese, Lexi Petters, Mitchell Kiss, Alex Post, Alex Brown, Matt Kaplan, and Henry Fernberger. Chosen by the sailors, the name Team Hydra will embody their journey and serve as the first rallying point as a team.

Selected to helm is 2015 Female College Sailor of the Year Morgan Kiss. She has raced a lot of different boats during her successful junior and college sailing years, but never has she held the tiller in a fleet like this.

“Coming from college sailing, I am really excited about the tight racing in the Melges 32 fleet, and the opportunity to learn from the pros and experienced sailors in the class,” commented Kiss about the upcoming experience. “I have only sailed on a Melges 32 as a floater so it will be a big transition to helm. Having an opportunity to drive in such a competitive fleet is very unique and I’m looking forward to challenge!”

Event details: www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=1509

Source: Melges 32 class

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