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ISAF Youth Worlds - Americans claim silver medals in Tavira

by Will Ricketson on 19 Jul 2014
Laser Radial Girls, USA - 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship © Neuza Aires Pereira | ISAF Youth Worlds
Friday marked the last day of racing in Tavira, Portugal at the 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, and American sailors capped a successful week by winning silver medals in the Laser Radial and 29er classes.

In addition, US athletes finished fourth in the SL16 multihull, and 10th in the RS:X windsurfer. 'I am very proud of how our team performed this week, and impressed at their level of focus both on and off the water,' said Leandro Spina (Miami, Fla.), Head th Coach for US Sailing's Youth Worlds Team, and Youth Development Director for the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. 'We are committed to getting Americans on the podium at all levels of sailing, and it starts here, at the Youth Worlds.' US Sailing's Youth Worlds Team finished fifth in the Nations Trophy standings, which measures the combined results of each country across all classes. Nearly 400 athletes from 68 countries competed at the 2014 edition of international youth sailing's premier event.

An exhausted but pleased Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas) returned to the boat park after securing a silver medal in the the Laser Radial, and said the results had yet to fully sink in. 'I don't even know how I feel, I'm just so excited. I called my parents and they are ecstatic.' Hughes never dropped below second place overall during the event, an impressively consistent performance that belied the tight and unforgiving level of competition. 'There were many ups and downs, but when it needed to count I came through. I was very proud to come back strong after the 25th [in race 7] and do what I had to do.' After finishing fifth at last year's Youth Worlds and working hard to improve in 2014, Hughes said she has no plans to rest on her laurels. 'After this I want to continue my training, and do more international regattas, including the U21 Worlds. I want to pursue my laser career, and see where it takes me.'

After two near-miss performances in the 29er class at the 2012 (Fourth overall ) and 2013 (sixth overall) ISAF Youth Worlds, Quinn Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) broke through with a silver medal in Tavira sailing with Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.). 'We're pretty relieved,' noted Wilson. 'We entered today with a one point lead, and had two races. The second race was winner-take-all, and very stressful. The French split from us and went to the other side of the course, and it was very hard to tell who was in front [on the first beat]. It was extremely nerve wracking.' Years of intense effort in this class made today's finish a special moment for Wilson. 'I think compared to when I sailed with my brother (Dane Wilson) at the last two Youth Worlds, we had a weight advantage this time with the conditions we had here. We also worked super hard, and felt like we did everything we could possibly have done to win.' Gibbs noted that a major factor in their success was the coaching of Michael Kalin (Washington, DC), Kevin Hall (Auckland, New Zealand), and Spina. 'You could not ask for better coaches, and I've never been to an event where the support was so focused. It was pretty mind-blowing.'

Another standout performance was delivered by Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and Nico Schultz (Sarasota, Fla.), who finished just five points from bronze position in the SL16 multihull. Entering the day needing to beat their Brazilian rivals, Parent and Schultz endured some misfortune in the only race of the day. 'Today was pretty intense,' noted Parent. 'We started the day in fourth, and knowing we had work to do to win. We managed to force [third place] Brazil over the line early, and had a perfect start. It was looking good, but the race was unfortunately canceled [due to wind shifts]. In the re-start, the Italians capsized on top of us on the start line, bending our [spinnaker] pole and putting us in a tough spot. We actually fought back to within one boat of the Brazilians though, but it wasn't enough.' Post-race, Parent remained upbeat despite the mishap. 'Of course I'm a little frustrated with how it went today, but I'm happy with how we sailed. We did lots of training in the US with Leandro [Spina], and all the pieces came together to make this a really great event for us. I'm really lucky to have sailed in the Youth Worlds twice, and the international experience opened my eyes. Anyone fortunate enough to sail in this event should take advantage of all the learning that you can do.'

Head coach Spina also praised the performance of US RS:X sailor Pedro Pascual (currently living in Cadiz, Spain) who finished 10th overall. 'Pedro finishing in the top ten this year, combined with Marion Lepert (Belmont, Calif.) getting fourth last year, shows that the level of board sailing in the US is on the rise. We are committed to ensuring that this continues.'

Final Standings: 2014 US Sailing ISAF Youth World Championship Team

• Second, Laser Radial (girl’s one person dinghy): Haddon Hughes (Houston, Texas)

• Second, 29er (open high performance dinghy): Quinn Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) and Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.)

• Fourth, SL16 (open multihull): Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and Nicholas Schultz (Sarasota, Fla.)

• 10th, RS:X (boy’s windsurfer): Pedro Pascual (Cadiz, Spain)

• 12th, International 420 (girl’s two person dinghy): Audrey Giblin (Monmouth Beach, N.J) and Taylor Gavula (Villanova, Pa.)

• 13th, International 420 (boy’s two person dinghy): Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) and Florian Eenkema van Dijk (Darien, Conn.)

• 21st, RS:X (girl’s windsurfer): Charlotte Samson (Clearwater, Fla.)

• 21st, Laser Radial (boy’s one person dinghy): Luke Muller (Ft. Pierce, Fla.)

Nations Trophy: Fifth, USA.

The members of the US Sailing 2014 Youth Worlds Team are also members of the 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. Full Event website

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