Strong Showing for USA Youth Sailing
Published on January 6th, 2016
The US Sailing Youth Worlds Team concluded a successful event in Langkawi, Malaysia, where American sailors secured a victory in the boy’s International 420 class and finished in the top ten in four other classes.
Will Logue (Cos Cob, Conn.) and Bram Brakman (Darien, Conn.) earned the first American gold medal at the world’s premier youth regatta since 2007, though the United States has won seven silver medals and four bronze medals in that span.
“The US Sailing Youth Worlds Team put on a strong showing for USA youth sailing at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Langkawi,” said Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. “Will and Bram sailed a commanding gold-medal performance in the 420, and the whole team contributed to its 5th place standing in the Nations Trophy.”
Logue, the 420 helmsman, was still absorbing the win a few hours after arriving back on U.S. shores. “Standing on the podium was pretty surreal, and incredible. All of our competitors were cheering us on as well. The International 420 class as a whole is very close, and the fact that everyone is good friends made it even more special.”
For Logue and Brakman, consistency was the goal from the outset. “We tried to round the first mark in the top seven every race, and run down as many boats as we could. [The breeze] was so shifty in Langkawi that trying to win the first leg of the race was too risky. It was actually pretty similar to Newport [Rhode Island] where I sail most of the year.”
On the technical side, Logue noted that the team came into the event fully prepared. Three dedicated training camps were held for the Youth Worlds Team in Miami, Florida, and managed by US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP).
“The ODP coaches set us up really well,” Logue explained. “We trained for months to prepare for this regatta, and it made a huge difference. We were probably about fifteen pounds lighter than the other boats, but could hang with them upwind because we were ready. Not enough credit can be given to all the coaches, and especially to [ODP coach and Youth Worlds Team coach] Steve Keen (Stamford, Conn.).
“Everyone sailing in my age group in the US right now, at this level, are huge competitors,” continued Logue, who also medaled with Brakman at the I420 Junior European Championship in 2015. “We’re all really friendly off the water, but on the water we will compete and train really hard. We are pulling each other to a higher level.”
Logue was quick to credit the skills of his teammate, Brakman, as critical to their success as a team. “He’s very high-energy, and he’s probably the most technically gifted crew in that class right now. His technique is awesome, and he keeps things light and funny. I love sailing with him, and wouldn’t want to be out there with anyone else.”
The team finished 5th in the ISAF Youth Worlds “Nations Trophy” standings, behind Australia, New Zealand, France, and Great Britain. “In the US, we are seeing solid signs of growth and an increase in competitiveness in the Youth Worlds classes, and we are on the right track with the new Olympic Development Program,” said Spina. “Youth Worlds is the pinnacle event for young sailors, and future Olympians will come out of these teams.”
Also submitting a standout performance, but falling an agonizing two points shy of the podium, was Laser Radial athlete Nic Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Strong final races by his British and New Zealand competitors were just enough to leave the American, who had battled near the top of the standings all week, in fourth position.
“I am disappointed that I couldn’t bring home a medal, but I’m happy with my performance,” said Baird. “I made a few mistakes, but that has not made the experience any less rewarding. I not only learned a lot about myself as a sailor, and have gained valuable experiences, but I’ve also made some good friends that I’m confident I’ll continue to know years from now.” For Baird, the regatta was also a family event, as his father, seven-time world champion and America’s Cup winner Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.), served as a US team coach.
For many of the sailors on the U.S. team, competing for their country was a new and special experience. “We’ve performed better as a team than we have in recent years, which is promising for the future of US Sailing,” said Nic Baird. “I’m proud to have represented the U.S. I think we were able to prove the country’s skills on the water, and gain the respect of competitors from around the world.”
Racing at the 2015 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Langkawi, Malaysia ran from December 29, 2015 to January 3, 2016.
Overall Standings, Final:
1st, International 420 (boy’s two person dinghy): Will Logue (Cos Cob, Conn.) and Bram Brakman (Darien, Conn.)
4th, Laser Radial (boy’s one person dinghy): Nic Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
6th, SL16 (open multihull): Mark Brunsvold (Sarasota, Fla.) and Anderson Brunsvold (Sarasota, Fla.)
8th, International 420 (girl’s two person dinghy): Christina Klingler (Darien, Conn.) and Victoria Thompson (Newport Beach, Calif.)
8th, 29er (boy’s high performance dinghy): Romain Screve (Kentfield, Calif.) and Quinn Wilson (Ojai, Calif.)
16th, RS:X (boy’s windsurfer): Maximo Nores (Miami Beach, Fla.)
17th, 29er (girl’s high performance dinghy): Alie Toppa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Liza Toppa (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
18th, Laser Radial (girl’s one person dinghy): Christina Sakellaris (Milton, Mass.)
Nations Trophy: 5th