Harken Derm

Critical Early Training for US Olympic Sailing Program

Published on November 29th, 2016

There was a lengthy era when USA was the dominant Olympic sailing nation, but that era passed some time ago, the result of a domestic focus on youth participation rather than international excellence.

The slide was apparent to insiders, but after the program failed to win a medal at the 2012 Games, training initiatives got the financial support needed to turn the tide. Critical to this turnaround is the US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP).

While most Americans were celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, top youth sailors from around the country, plus select international athletes, took advantage of the time to assemble in Miami for three days of intensive and innovative training.

Organized by ODP in cooperation with regional racing teams and the US Sailing Center Miami, the ODP Racing Camp challenged athletes to demonstrate their skills in a hybrid racing and educational environment. With a focus on collaboration and identifying areas of mutual improvement, coaches were able to approach sailors during all stages of the racing and provide continuous feedback.

One hundred thirty-three youth sailors participated in the 29er, International 420, Laser Radial and Nacra 15 classes, which are mainstays of top international youth competition.

The camp also served as the final training camp for a handful of American teenagers who will head to Auckland, New Zealand, in a few weeks for the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championships.

Augmenting the preparation of U.S. Youth Worlds Team athletes is a key annual objective of the ODP, and this year’s 2016 YWT athletes at the camp had the benefit of being pushed hard by dozens of the country’s best sailors, some of whom will go on to represent the United States at future editions of the world’s premier youth sailing event.

“For our Youth Worlds Team, the timing was perfect,” said Leandro Spina, US Sailing’s Olympic Development Director. “This was a final chance to fine tune racing skills. This is one reason why the controlled environment was so effective. But it worked very well for everybody that participated. We hit a lot of targets in the same weekend.”

Spina finds the controlled the environment and collaborative approach as mission critical. “We believe in two things: the power of sharing and the value of strong competition. Without competition, sharing information does not help. But racing without sharing is a missed opportunity. Everybody benefits from our approach.”

For participants and results… click here.

Upcoming ODP Events
January 2-7: Miami, Fla. – US Sailing Team Sperry Olympic Training Camp (Radial, 49er, FX, 470)
January 14-16 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – LYC OCR (Radial)
January 14-16: Miami, Fla. – CGSC I420 North American Champs
January 14-16: Miami, Fla. – MLK Regatta (FX, 470, RSX, N15)
January 21-28: Miami, Fla. – Sailing World Cup Miami (Radial, 49er, FX, 470)
February 17-20: Miami Beach, Fla. – I420 Midwinter Champs
February 23-26: Clearwater, Fla. – Radial Midwinters East

US Sailing’s 2016 Youth World Championship Team:
• Laser Radial (girl’s one person dinghy): Sophia Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
• Laser Radial (boy’s one person dinghy): Carrson Pearce (Manahawkin, N.J.)
• International 420 (girl’s two person dinghy): Kathryn Hall (Haverford, Penn.) and Ashton Borcherding (Greenwich, Conn.)
• International 420 (boy’s two person dinghy): Wiley Rogers (Houston, Texas) and Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.)
• 29er (girl’s high performance dinghy): Louisa Nordstrom (Osprey, Fla.) and Catherine Mollerus (Larchmont, N.Y.)
• 29er (boy’s high performance dinghy): Ryan Ratliffe (San Diego, Calif.) and Sam Merson (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)
• RS:X (girl’s windsurfer): No Selection*
• RS:X (boy’s windsurfer): Geronimo Nores (Miami Beach, Fla.)
• Nacra 15 (open multihull): Romaine Screve (Kentfield, Calif.) and Ian Brill (San Diego, Calif.
Note: No female US RS:X sailor qualified for the 2016 Youth Worlds Team

Source: US Sailing, Scuttlebutt

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