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Handing Over the Keys to the Future

Published on April 11th, 2017

The first annual J/70 U.S. Youth Championship will take place August 11-13 in Newport, RI. The event is open to 11 teams that had advanced from one of the 11 regional qualifiers, with the goal of the event to promote youth keelboat sailing across America.

Porter Kavle, Will Comerford, Jake Vickers, and Leo Boucher of Annapolis, MD hope to compete in the championship and will be participating in the next qualifier – Charleston Race Week on April 21-23 – thanks to Kristen and Brian Robinson who are loaning them their boat.

“They have helped us out tremendously by introducing us to supporters for the regatta as it is a big undertaking for a bunch of teenagers,” Kavle said.

With Ullman Sails donating the sails to the effort, Kristen Robinson likes their chances. “They’re going to race competitively. I think they are excellent sailors. They could be the team to beat.”

Robinson, now the vice president of USA J/70 Class Association, called Kavle in October 2016 to gauge his interest in competing in the J/70 Corinthian Nationals which was held in Annapolis. With the loan of Ed Furry’s boat, Kavle, Comerford and three other juniors placed 12th in a crowded field of 45 entries.

“It was a huge learning experience,” Kavle said. “Lots of big breeze and a large fleet.”

A chance meeting with Robinson in December sparked Kavle’s venture to Charleston. Kavle agreed that he should assemble a team for CRW, with the only issue being he had no boat to sail at the regatta.

“She said that wasn’t a worry as she would loan us her boat for the regatta,” Kavle said. “I thanked her profusely and we got the ball rolling in January to put together a crew.”

If the foursome advances from Charleston, success at the J/70 Youth Champs would provide payback as the winning team will get usage of a fully equipped J/70, free of charge, for their club – Annapolis Yacht Club – and its membership for twelve months.

“The boat can be used for practice and to train other sailors who are looking to be more competitive in big boat racing,” Kavle said. “We are really excited.”

While loaning their boat to the team for Charleston may seem risky, Robinson isn’t worried. “I don’t care about the boat — it can be fixed,” she said. “It’s more important to help our sport and foster these kids.”

Source: AYC, Scuttlebutt

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