Public Service Announcement from a kid

Published on April 17th, 2019

Sailing is the most varied and diverse sport, offering something for everyone to enjoy. But for youth sailors, their involvement is often limited to age-based boats and competitions. While these provide tremendous experiences, if that is all they know, it isn’t enough to fully grasp the sport. Or worse, it doesn’t connect with them and they move on.

Sixteen year old Lily Flack has a message for her age group, but first she has a story to share…

It was the final J/70 race on the last day of Charleston Race Week, and our youth team was on the last downwind leg. We all knew we were towards the front of the fleet, thinking we were maybe top 10 at best.

We gybed out early around the windward mark to clear our breeze from the boats behind us, and while we were still in displacement mode, we saw some big pressure coming up from behind us. I took a look over my shoulder to see the puff was coming fast, prompting the call for Lucas Masiello, our floater, to get the jib out.

I started to count down in my head. Once it got closer, I yelled 3… 2… 1… and had timed the puff perfectly. We were immediately up on a plane and our skipper Gannon Troutman called for weight back to keep the bow out of the water. Jack Solway, our bow man, ran to the back of the boat (while recording the whole thing) to keep us cruising along. Peter Cronin, our spinnaker trimmer, needed an extra hand on the sheet so I jumped on and helped him out.

All of our eyes were locked on the speedometer to watch the numbers climb… 10 knots, 12 knots, 14 knots. At this point, we were all screaming and having such a blast that only one of us realized we had topped out at 16.5 knots in boat speed.

None of us knew a J70 could go that fast, until then. We later declared after watching the video below that explicit language is allowed over 15 knots of boat speed. Overall, we steadily improved our boat handling and tactical calls throughout the regatta to secure a 5th place finish in the last race of the event.

We hope to see more kids join us on the race course for the next J70 regatta.


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