U.S. Youth Sailing Championships - Top young sailors tested on day 1

2013 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships
Carrie Robertson Meyer
An easy going Texas summer breeze in August? Not quite. The wind was howling here in Southeast Texas today and a collection of the best young sailors in the country were challenged by Corpus Christi Bay's conditions. Heavy wind and steep chop presented these sailors with the ultimate test at day one of the U.S. Youth Sailing Championships, hosted by the Corpus Christi Yacht Club.

Winds were blowing over 15 knots for most of the day with gusts approaching 20 knots as the 160 sailors began racing at approximately 12:00 pm CST. The focus of many competitors this week is to train and improve in heavy wind, including RS:X windsurfer Maximo Nores (Miami, Fla.). 'Right now I'm considered light for the sport. In the light air I have no problems, but in the heavy air everyone goes much faster. I feel like I'm improving in these conditions. It was very wavy and choppy today, so I was just trying to keep my boat flat and keep my boat speed.'

Many sailors prospered in the heavy wind, like Radial sailor Luke Muller who won all four races today. 'These were good conditions for me,' said Muller. 'I just tried to stay low and keep hiking.'

Radial sailor Lola Bushnell of the San Francisco area experiences similar conditions back home. She had this to say about the comparisons. 'It's very similar to the San Francisco area, especially the chop. Hiking all day in these conditions helps your endurance. This is what I’m good at, but this fleet is so big and I’m sailing against talented young men too.'

This championship will serve as a mandatory qualification event for the 2014 U.S. Youth Worlds Team in all fleets with the exception of the Club 420 and Laser fleets. The male winner of the Laser fleet and the female winner of the Radial fleet will qualify for the 2013 U.S. Singlehanded Championships to be sailed September 13-15 at Manasquan River Yacht Club in Brielle, N.J.

The Olympic Sailing Night Series made a stop in Corpus Christi tonight. Speakers included U.S. Olympic Sailing Managing Director Josh Adams, 2008 Olympian and Youth Development Advisor Andrew Campbell, a past winner of this event (2000, ’01, ’02), and Olympic Coach and Youth Development Director Leandro Spina.

Adams had this to say in his closing remarks to the room of 160: 'I see a room of very talented sailors and hope you want to part of our Vision 2024.'

In the regatta's largest fleet, the Club 420s were led by Nicholas Sertl (Rochester, N.Y.) and Elizabeth Pemberton (Osterville, Mass.). They won Races two and four and placed third in Race two and fourth in Race three for nine points. They will take a 13-point lead into Wednesday over Scott Sinks (San Diego, Calif.) and Storm Brown (San Diego, Calif.), and Max Simmons (Rowayton, Conn.) and Riley Legault (Bonita Springs, Fla.). Sertl placed third at the Club 420 North American Championship. The Club 420 fleet features 32 teams.

Luke Muller (Fort Pierce, Fla.) caught fire on today with four wins in as many races to take a nine point lead into Wednesday in competitive 30-boat Radial fleet. He is trailed by Malcolm Lamphere (Lake Forest, Ill.), who finished third at last year’s championship. Muller won the 2013 Laser Nationals this year and third at the ISAF Youth Worlds Qualifier.

There is a tie at the top of the leaderboard in the 16-team International 420 fleet. Wade Waddell (Palm Beach, Fla.) and Henry Fernberger (New York, N.Y.) are even with Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) and crew Floria Eenkema van Dijk (Darien, Conn.). Both teams have eight points. Waddell has won three out of four races. Parkin has been steady from start to finish with a 2-1-2-3 scoring line. Waddell and Fernberger finished seventh at the Youth Worlds and sixth at World Cup Miami. Parkin won the I420 North American title at Orange Bowl.

Duncan Williford (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Matthew Mollerus (Larchmont, N.Y.) were a perfect four for four today to take a commanding 8-point lead at day one in the nine boat 29er fleet. In March, Williford and Mollerus won the 29er Midwinters West Regatta.

Stephen Long (Santa Barbara, Calif.) has three point lead over brother Matt Long (Santa Barbara, Calif.) in the 11-boat Laser fleet. Matt won Race one, while Stephen took Race two. Stephen posted a pair third place finishes to close out the day with lead.

Ravi Parent (Bradenton, Fla.) and Nico Schultz (Sarasota, Fla.) won the last three races of the day to take a four point lead over Ben Brown (Los Altos, Calif.) and Andrew Wilkinson (Woodside, Calif.), and David Hein (Rocky River, Ohio) and Max Hudson (Shreveport, La.) in the six-boat F16 multihull fleet. Parent won the 2013 U.S. Youth World Qualifier in the F16.

Pedro Tomás Pascual jumped out to an early lead through three races in the windsurfing RS:X fleet. He won Race one and two and finished second in Race three. He leads Raul Lopez (Miami, Fla.) by two points in the fleet of seven. Pascual won the 2013 Spanish RS:X Youth Cup and finished third at the 2013 RS:X Spanish Championship.

U.S. Olympic Committee’s Jacques and Anne Rogge Olympic Pathways Scholarship will award one young American sailor a full racing course in 2014 at Oakcliff Sailing, a US Sailing Team Training Center in Oyster Bay, N.Y. The sailor will be selected by US Sailing’s Olympic Sailing Committee from the competitors this week at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championships.

Visit the event website throughout the event for daily recaps, video highlights, real-time Twitter updates from Corpus Christi, full rosters and standings, photos, and more.
http://www.sail-world.com/113199