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Paying It Forward

Published on June 17th, 2013

Americans Kristen Lane and Christine Neville have committed themselves to the 49er FX, the new women’s skiff that was selected for the 2016 Olympic Games. This boat did not exist prior to its selections, so while their personal interest is to gain expertise in it, they also see a responsibility to those that will follow them. Here’s a recent report from Kristen on paying it forward…

We returned to San Francisco and after taking some personal time off, we reconvened at Richmond Yacht Club for afternoon practice sessions on the Bay. We have been keeping our boat at RYC because they have great launching and access to the Bay. The director of Jr. Sailing, Dan Brandt, is a long-time supporter of skiff sailing. He has been a personal resource to me over the past few years as I have taken on skiff sailing.

We reached out to Dan before we left for Europe about providing some RYC sailors with an opportunity to experience the 49er FX. Dan collected some local sailors and on a recent Sunday Christine and I took out six young women to show them what the 49erFX could do.

We began the day on the dock briefly explaining how the FX was rigged and allowed the sailors to get a very close look at how the boat works. Christine did a great job running through the maneuvers and providing a brief description of what would happen on the water. Our final suggestion to the girls that they use their time on the coach boat mindfully watching how Christine or I do the position they wanted to try as a way of learning the job through visual practice.

With that in mind, we departed the RYC dock. As luck would have it, the San Francisco Bay winds were in full effect – it was a solid 20kts. We began by positioning the RIB close to our stern as we sailed upwind, performing several tacks. We bore away and set the kite so the girls could see some examples of gybes and a fast take down.

It was time to start taking each girl on board for an FX experience. Given the building wind speed, Christine and I chose to ride in a 3-up configuration all day long. This choice was hugely successful as each girl had the opportunity to crew, drive, or both (depending on their interest) in a solid 20kts of breeze. I was excited to see these girls being introduced to skiffs (some for the first time) in solid planing conditions. It really was thrilling! – Read on

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