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2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship - US Team preview

by Will Ricketson on 12 Jul 2014
The US Sailing Youth World Championship Team US Sailing © http://www.ussailing.org
The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships are set to begin in Tavira, Portugal, with races being held across eight classes from July 14-18. The US Sailing Youth World Championship Team, comprised of twelve athletes hailing from six states, has arrived onsite and will continue preparations over the next 48 hours for international youth sailing’s premier event.

'We have a great young team representing the United States at this year’s Youth Worlds,' said Josh Adams, Managing Director of US Olympic Sailing. 'All US sailors can be proud of these athletes, and we are impressed at how hard they have all worked to get to this level.'

The 2014 US Sailing ISAF Youth World Championship Team:
• Laser Radial (boy’s one person dinghy): Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.)
• Laser Radial (girl’s one person dinghy): Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas)
• International 420 (girl’s two person dinghy): Audrey Giblin (Monmouth Beach, N.J) and Taylor Gavula (Villanova, Pa.)
• International 420 (boy’s two person dinghy): Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) and Florian Eenkema van Dijk (Darien, Conn.)
• 29er (open high performance dinghy): Quinn Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) and Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.)
• RS:X (boy’s windsurfer): Pedro Pascual (Cadiz, Spain)
• RS:X (girl’s windsurfer): Charlotte Samson (Clearwater, Fla.)
• SL16 (open multihull): Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and Nicholas Schultz (Sarasota, Fla.)

Luke Muller comes into this event after a yearlong push to master the Laser Radial, having previously focused on the Laser Standard. Muller became the youngest Laser Standard National Champion in US history in 2013 before setting his sights on the Youth Worlds. As part of that effort, Muller and Youth Worlds teammate Haddon Hughes trained extensively with the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider’s number one - ranked athlete Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) in Long Beach, California under US national team coach Mark Littlejohn (Auckland, New Zealand). Hughes finished fifth at the Youth Worlds last year, and is a strong contender for a medal at this event.

The boys I420 team of Jack Parkin and Florian Eenkema van Dijk have been sailing extensively together for the past two years, and have seen their results steadily improve, with a second place finish at the the 2013 US Youth Champs and a third place finish at the 2014 I420 North Americans. 'Although our aspirations are big, our ultimate goal is always to enjoy the sport, be humble, and learn valuable life lessons while being on the water,' said van Dijk. Girls I420 duo Audrey Giblin and Taylor Gavula enter the 2014 Youth Worlds after finishing as the top female team at the 2014 North American Championship, in seventh overall.

In the 29er, Quinn Wilson and Riley Gibbs bring a great deal of experience to the Youth Worlds event, with Wilson returning to the event after previously competing with his brother Dane. The brothers finished sixth at the 2013 Youth Worlds. With Wilson now paired with Gibbs, the new team won the 2013 29er National Championship, the 2013 Orange Bowl Regatta, and came in second at the 2013 US Youth Sailing Championship.

Windsurfer Charlotte Samson will be competing at her first Youth Worlds, but has already shown considerable promise by winning the US Youth Champs in the RS:X class. Reflecting on her career so far, Samson notes that 'I took part in the 2010 and 2011 Techno 293 Worlds as a U15 athlete when I was just starting up. My best results are yet to come!' RS:X Boy’s representative Pedro Pascual is also a US Youth Champion in the class, and won the youth division at the RS:X US Nationals.

In the SL16 multihull, Ravi Parent returns to the Youth Worlds with a 2013 F16 catamaran US National Championship title under his belt. Crew Nicholas Schultz was a top Optimist Dinghy Sailor, winning the US Opti Team Race Championship in 2012 and the two have shown great speed at F16 events in North America in the lead up to this event.

The members of the US Sailing 2014 Youth Worlds Team are also members of the 2014 US Sailing Development Team (USSDT). The USSDT is comprised of the country’s top sailors in the classes selected for the 2014 Youth Worlds and the 10 events selected for the Olympic Games. For full roster, please click here.

Meet the Coaches:

Leading the team as head coach for the event will be US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider Youth Development Director Leandro Spina (Miami, Fla.). Spina has coached national team athletes in the Star, Laser, Laser Radial, RS:X and Nacra 17 classes, and coached at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara and the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Other members of the coaching staff include Michael Kalin (Washington, D.C.) and Kevin Hall (Auckland, New Zealand). Kalin is a past member of the Canadian National Sailing Team (Laser class), and served as a coach for the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider at many events between 2011 and 2013. Kalin is currently co-Head Coach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Varsity Sailing Team.

Kevin Hall is an Olympian in the Finn class, having competed for the US at Athens 2004. Hall is also an accomplished skiff sailor, having won three bronze medals at consecutive 49er World Championships (’97,’98,’99). More recently, Hall has excelled in the world of professional sailing, and is a veteran of several America’s Cup campaigns.
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