USA shines at Youth Sailing Worlds

Published on December 16th, 2017

The U.S. Youth Worlds Team enjoyed a successful week at the 2017 Youth World Sailing Championship, held December 11-15 in Sanya, China. American sailors won three medals in nine classes, nearly added a fourth, and finished third in the Nation’s Trophy standings, the highest finish by the United States in many years.

The week of racing also highlighted the progress of US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP), which includes among its core missions an annual effort to prepare the U.S. team to compete at the world’s premier youth sailing event.

“What a week it was, with some super challenging conditions,” said Leandro Spina, US Sailing’s Olympic Development Director and U.S. Team Leader in Sanya. “I’m extremely proud of the kids and coaches. They remained focused all the way to the end. They stuck to our performance plan, and they came out really strong.

“It’s really encouraging for America to see the future of high performance sailing embodied in the form of these kids,” said Spina. “Thanks to some amazing support from the AmericaOne Foundation, Quantum Racing, and many others, the ODP is helping us create opportunities to develop our talented sailors and our coaches. Clearly the results are encouraging and show that we’re on a really good track.”

Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas) led the Laser Radial regatta wire to wire, but despite the Texan winning five of the nine races, the end of the event saw high drama unfold in the women’s singlehanded class.

After an extensive match race on the first leg between Rose and her rival for gold, Uruguay’s Rio 2016 Olympian Dolores “Lola” Fraschini, Rose found herself nearly in the back of the 40-boat fleet. To hang onto gold, Rose needed to finish 17th or better. Showing impressive fortitude, the American battled back through the fleet and managed to clinch gold with a 17th place finish.

“After a tough match race with Lola that put her in a tough spot, Charlotte proved that she was a true World Champion,” said US Sailing Laser Radial coach Rosie Chapman (Houston, Texas). “She fought her way all the way back to 17th, which is exactly what she needed to do to get the job done. It was an inspiring performance, and I could not be more proud of her.”

Carmen Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, N.Y.) led the Girls 420 event since the second day, and while they had a clear lead in points going into the final race, their overall position was precarious due to a Race 1 disqualification. While many athletes would have cautiously proceeded around the course, the Cowles finished their regatta in style, taking their third race win of the Youth Worlds to clinch gold.

Thomas Rice (Garden City, N.Y.) and Trevor Bornath (Stuart, Fla.) entered the final race wearing gold leader jerseys in the Boys I420, but got caught on the unfavored left side of the first beat, and could only watch as the Australian team cruised to a 3rd place finish 3rd while the American finished 11th and in silver position. Nevertheless, the ninth and final race was only the second double-digit score of the week for the U.S. boys team, which steadily rose in the standings as the week progressed. 2017 also represents the third consecutive year that U.S. boys 420 teams have medaled at the Youth Worlds.

In the Nacra 15 multihull, Mark Brunsvold (Sarasota, Fla.) and Dylan Heinz (Sarasota, Fla.) entered the day in 4th overall, with a chance to claim a medal, but a 10th in the final race kept them in the same position in the standings. Neil Marcellini (Lafayette, Calif.) and Ian Brill (San Diego, Calif.) finished 12th in their final race to finish in 7th overall. Joseph Hou (Newport Beach, Calif.) finished 8th overall in the Boys Laser Radial.

In the Girls’s 29er, Berta Puig (Key Biscayne, Fla.) and Charlotte Mack (Stuart, Fla.) finished a strong 3rd in the final race, and ended the event in 16th overall. In the Boys RS:X, Steven Cramer (Miami Beach, Fla.) finished 10th in the final race, which saw more of the breezy condition he favors. Cramer finished in 17th overall. Dominique Stater (who currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina) finished 17th overall, and while she had a strong final race around the course, was scored UFD.

The coaching staff for the team is comprised of Leandro Spina, Steve Keen (Stamford, Conn.) and Rosie Chapman.

Italy’s consistent performance across the week earned them their fourth Nations Trophy, an award which recognizes the top performing national team in the competition. Italy also won in 2006, 2013, and 2016. Israel and USA, neither of which have won before, finished second and third respectively, both improving on their performance in 2016.

The competition for the 374 sailors from 60 nations was held on December 11 to 15.

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About the Youth Worlds
The Youth Sailing World Championship was first held in Angelholm, Sweden in 1971 where 16 nations competed for the inaugural titles in the two-person dinghies, 420 and Flipper.

As the regatta evolved further classes were added to bring the best young sailing talent across the world together in one place and in 1984 the Mistral windsurfer was added to the list of events with Knut Budig (GER) taking the first gold medal in San Diego, California.

Open to sailors aged 19 and under the 47th version of the Youth Worlds heads to the Sanya, China from 9-16 December as the stars of the future are born once again.

Past notable winners include American’s Cup skippers, Chris Dickson (NZL), Russell Coutts (NZL), Dean Barker (NZL); Olympic medallists, Ben Ainslie (GBR), Robert Scheidt (BRA), Alessandra Sensini (ITA), Iain Percy (GBR) and Elise Rechichi (AUS); Volvo Ocean Race sailors like Stuart Bannatyne (NZL) and Richard Clarke (CAN). The most successful Youth World Champions are Great Britain’s Sally Cuthbert and Poland’s Zofia Klepacka having won four successive titles in the Laser II and Mistral respectively.

The Nations Trophy, awarded annually to the top performing nation at the Youth Worlds, was first introduced in 1991.

Source: US Sailing

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