Eleven-year-old to compete at Melges 20 World Championships

Published on August 23rd, 2014

by Michelle Slade, Marin Independent Journal
Racing this week at the 2014 Melges 20 World Championships, 10 days after his 11th birthday, makes Liam Kilroy the youngest helmsman ever at a Melges world championship. Kilroy will be the youngest helmsman competing by a good 10, even 20 years, at the Lake Garda, Italy event that will start racing Wednesday and run through Saturday.

The Melges 20 World Championships is not a children’s regatta. It is an elite international adult event and Kilroy will be racing against a fleet of the most talented, recognized athletes in sailing, including former world champions, Olympic medalists and America’s Cup racers. Some 56 boats from 10 countries are registered to race.

One may ask how a kid gets to be so hooked on sailing – and so skilled – so young. Raised in a family with a pedigree sailing background has certainly helped: his dad John Kilroy Jr. owns the highly successful Samba Pa Ti West Coast-based sailing program. John Jr.’s father – Liam’s grandfather – is Jim Kilroy (aka John Kilroy Sr.) of Kialoa fame who was just inducted into the U.S. Sailing Hall of Fame as their first Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Kilroy has been training hard all year for the Worlds, racing FJs with high schoolers in San Diego and this summer alternating between two-week 29er sessions at the Richmond Yacht Club, and training hard during 10-day to two-week training sessions with his Melges-20 team. – Read on

MORE: The Audi Melges 20 World Championship has attracted an entry list of 56 teams for the competition to be held August 27-30 in Riva del Garda, Italy. Teams from Italy, United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Japan, Germany, Canada, Austria, Monaco and Denmark will be gathering on Lake Garda. Seeking to defend their title is reigning champion John Taylor on Ninkasi with tactician Bill Hardesty and Joey Mello. Event website

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