The maritime setting is at once complete, providing opportunities to study history, commerce, industry, technology, science, engineering and art.
“Not only are [sailors] telling themselves to keep going, but now they have another voice—that isn’t a small whisper inside their head—telling them to ‘hike harder’ or ‘be more balanced’ throughout the entire race. It definitely unlocks a part of your brain and really makes everyone push each other at an entirely different level.”
Top youth sailors from around the country, plus select international athletes, took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to assemble in Miami for three days of intensive and innovative training. Organized by US Sailing’s Olympic Development Program (ODP) in cooperation with regional racing teams and the US Sailing Center Miami, the ODP Racing Camp challenged athletes to demonstrate their skills in a hybrid racing and educational environment. Results were kept, but coaches, including regular ODP staff and coaches from a number of regional training groups focused on collaboration and identifying areas of mutual improvement. Coaches were able to approach sailors during all stages of the racing and provide continuous feedback. Each day the full group gathered for a morning debrief to discuss what was learned the day before and the plan for that day’s racing.
The camp was open to youth sailors in the 29er, International 420, Laser Radial and Nacra 15 classes, which are mainstays of top international youth competition. While there was a spread of skill levels and a variety of agendas and goals among the 133 sailors, the camp went smoothly and the response from sailors was universally positive. Results can be found here.
The weekend also served as the final training camp for a handful of American teenagers who will head to Auckland, New Zealand, in a few weeks for the 2016 Youth World Sailing Championships. Augmenting the preparation of U.S. Youth Worlds Team athletes is a key annual objective of the ODP, and this year’s effort was the most extensive yet. In addition to receiving elite coaching, 2016 YWT athletes at the camp had the benefit of being pushed hard by dozens of the country’s best sailors, some of whom will go on to represent the United States at future editions of the world’s premier youth sailing event.
“For our Youth Worlds Team, the timing was perfect,” said Leandro Spina, US Sailing’s Olympic Development Director. “This was a final chance to fine tune racing skills. This is one reason why the controlled environment was so effective. But it worked very well for everybody that participated. We hit a lot of targets in the same weekend.”
“The reason this camp worked really well is all the coaches were on the same page; they understood that we’re focused on helping all sailors. We controlled the environment, so we decided whether to have an extra race, when to start sailing, whether to make the course longer or shorter or to favor one side of the starting line. We started each day with a morning briefing where we talked about the day and then each group was free to follow its own routine. After racing, everyone debriefed on their own. The next morning we regrouped and talked about what we learned the previous day. ODP camps are a natural place for everybody to work together and to race. It worked so well, we’re so excited about it, we’re going to do it again next year.”The morning briefing is when we encourage everyone to share. We had regional team coaches briefing all the sailors and sharing what they’d seen the day before. We also had ODP experts talking about the mental and the technical components of the sport. We also had sailors sharing what they learned the previous day.
“We believe in two things: the power of sharing and the value of strong competition. Without competition, sharing information does not help. But racing without sharing is a missed opportunity. Everybody benefits from our approach.”
Anna Weis, Laser Radial
“Lots of top U.S. sailors were here, and we had really good coaches. It was really helpful to sit down at the end of the day and talk about what happened on the racecourse, our technique in the boat, and the things that were important to going fast or being tactically smart. The combination clinic and regatta gave us a chance to race, but not with so much pressure to get a good result. Because I didn’t feel like I needed to do well, I just tried to focus on what we talked about in the meetings and what we needed to work on.”
Kate Stewart, 29er crew
“We learned heaps at the camp. The racing was great. It’s amazing how much was shared within the group and the caliber of the coaching available. It was a real privilege to be involved.”
Neil Marcellini, 29er helm
“There was definitely less pressure because it wasn’t an actual event. But we were still trying to perform like it was. Basically it came down to asking more questions of the coaches during the day and getting a little more support than we would’ve during a normal regatta.”
“We found it a lot more useful than a clinic because instead of just doing drills that mimic racing, we’re doing the racing and getting the coaching. It was really good to see where we’re at in all aspects of our racing.”
“This is probably the biggest fleet we’ve seen at a clinic. It shows that the 29er is becoming a lot more popular and mainstream and people are starting to take it seriously as a competitive fleet. It’s not just a bunch of nuts out there ripping around, it’s actual racing.”
Aidan Doyle, 29er crew
“One thing that stood out for me is when we were racing upwind in a race and it was really intense and we were focused on our sailing and we looked back and saw a coach talking to another boat, which was a little scary. But at the same time, during one of our starts we were a little slow and a coach came over and told us to change one thing and we started edging out a little bit.”
Carrson Pearce, Laser Radial, Youth Worlds Team Member
“This was a good warm up for the Youth Worlds, to start focusing in on fine tuning the things I need to work on during the last few weeks. I knew I had some things I need to work on. This weekend definitely showed me some extra things I need to work on as well.”
“I treated it just like a regatta, but I love the format. In the morning we’d have the skippers meeting and coaching session and the coaches would say what they saw and give their tips, then we’d go out a little early—they had the first race late—so we could practice our pre-race routine.”
“I thought the conditions were really tricky and I was confused at first. Definitely having the coaching helped. It was of one of those things where you had to go out and race to understand what was going on. It took me a couple of races to figure out. I was really happy with how I performed given I didn’t initially understand the conditions.”
Sophia Reineke, Laser Radial, Youth Worlds Team Member
“I feel as though I sailed well in accordance with my process goals. If you go out every day with your goals in mind and a positive attitude, you are always bound to learn something and improve your skills. I used this as one of my final tune-up events before Worlds, and it really helped me get rid of all of the kinks in my skill set. The conditions were tricky, and the fleet was competitive. It couldn’t have been a better training event.”
Is this safe? Maybe not. Is it fun? You bet. One of life’s many paradoxes is most parents want their kids to simply be happy and safe. However, being safe often just doesn’t make people happy!? Uproarious laughter and the intense bonding that comes from memorable experiences usually comes from edgier moments.
Problem: Too much racing in sailing instruction and not enough seamanship, adventure, and free sailing.
- Action: Learn Seamanship
Seamanship is the art of caring for and moving boats. It is an art because the wind and the current are always changing and recombining in new ways.
- Action: Just Sail.
Learn your boat. Learn about your boat and all its nuances. It is a beautiful piece of technology. Repair, maintain, love.
- Action: Sail a Tall Ship
Aboard our Sail Training Ships are professionals who know their craft so well they can ease off a dock under sail with a crew of college students. These professionals know seamanship – the care and feeding of a large, complex boat. There are healing powers in the Sea and the boats.
Why does Olympic development matter?
- It provides a pathway for young talent. While not everyone’s cup of tea, this path is rewarding for some individuals, and inspirational to a larger group.
- Successful Olympic development yields sustainable Olympic success.
- The USA is a sailing nation and it should matter how we do on the international stage.
- The path to pro sailing often goes through the Olympics.
What is your role in the Olympic Pipeline, dear reader?
- Embrace High Performance Sailing
- Add Olympic development boats
- Host regional training camps
- Host US Youth Championships
- Educate about Olympic Pathways
The US Sailing Team has a Youth Development Program that embraces a culture of excellence. For young sailors dreaming about the Olympics, or some other lofty goal this means the dream starts now. Dream big in the development phase of your learning.
How do you get better quickly?
Take opportunities near home. Skipper and crew. For many sailors the multi-class approach will work well. There is not 1 pathway!
After a Try It Out clinic you might pursue local opportunities, then national competition, then pair up with a talented friend. Seek advice on how to transition, set goals, schedules, logistics, fitness.
The culture of excellence is good.
Annual Clinic Series
Organized by the ODP
Miami – March 11-12
Newport, RI – June 10-11
2015 Clinic Announcement
29er Girls Clinic
May 1-3, 2015
At Coronado Yacht Club
Coaches: Willie McBride, Molly Vandemoer, Paris Henken
Cost: Free Capacity: 12 – 16 Sailors depending on how many bring their own boats
Time: Friday 4-7pm; Saturday 9-5; Sunday 9-4
Prerequisites: Very good sailing skills and some athleticism – The Skiff Girls Program is designed for young female sailors up to 19 years old with intermediate skills. It is not necessary to have a sailing partner. Interested in the 29er? Come to Coronado Yacht Club and see what its all about.
To Register and for more information contact
Richard Feeny at:
ODP Camp Recap: Sail Newport 29er Clinic
ODP 29er Clinic
June 24 to 26, 2016
Sail Newport, Newport, R.I.
Two decades ago, the United States got a fast start in the 49er class courtesy of a strong spirit of cooperation among a group of talented dinghy sailors. The net result was an Olympic bronze medal and a handful of podium finishes at the class’s annual world championship. The US Sailing Olympic Development Program 29er Clinic at Sail Newport was a significant step in re-creating that culture amongst some of the country’s most talented youth sailors. The clinic brought together nearly 30 teams, from six different countries, for an intense three days of on-the-water drilling, practice racing and classroom time. While most ODP camps are more compact, and focused on the top echelon of youth sailors, the roster of sailors for the Sail Newport camp included regular ODP camp participants as well as teams aspiring to reach the ODP level. Approximately 30 percent of the camp participants were women.
“In the short existence of the ODP, one of the things that makes us so optimistic about the future is how our training groups have really embraced this sense of teamwork,” says US Sailing Team Sperry High Performance Director Charlie McKee. “This 29er group has been really good at that. There are more kids getting into the boat because it’s fun to sail; and if everyone’s working together, the regattas and training are more fun too.”
Clinics such as this are also an opportunity for the local sailing community. Sail Newport is one of the country’s top public sailing facilities. Executive Director Brad Read sees this clinic and others like it as a great way to expose local youth sailors to the upper levels of the sport.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to introduce another exciting boat to the sailing population of Newport,” says Read. “We feel that the 29er has an opportunity to grow within the double-handed programming that we offer at Sail Newport. Being a hub of activity for this class offers unique opportunities to kids who come out of our public access sailing and racing programs, and to sailors throughout Southeastern New England.”
“I think the coaches did a good job choosing activities and focal points that would utilize the big fleet: things like mark roundings and starting lines, places where the kids could really benefit from having that many boats around. A lot of these teams are going to the 29er Worlds at the end of July so this camp was a really good opportunity to get into that big-fleet mentality.
“At the same time, US Sailing Team Sperry Technical Director Grant Spanhake and Dane Wilson, who is a 29er expert, were able to pull kids out of the drills and work with them on specific things.
“We spent quite a bit of time talking to the sailors about creating routines and playbooks, strategically, so we can get down to the business of sailboat racing instead of over thinking decisions that can be very simple. We worked on creating a way of communicating that’s very simple, very straight forward. This is very important in a high-performance class because you don’t have the luxury of making a lot of extra moves on the racecourse. The teams that make concise and decided moves are the ones that do really well.
“We also focused a lot on this idea of speed in and speed out of the turns on the course. I’m going to be really excited to see some of these kids coming into the mark at full speed and leaving at full speed.”
“[This camp placed] a lot of focus on getting race ready. We did a lot of starting drills and mark-rounding drills whereas in a smaller clinic we might’ve focused more on boatspeed.
“It’s definitely a different feeling [going into the regatta] because on the final day of the clinic we were running races with a vast majority of the fleet for Nationals, so it’s a smoother transition into a regatta setting.
“It’s definitely going to be an advantage [going forward] in that these are going to be some of our competitors at Worlds, and it’s just more kids that we haven’t seen before. A lot of our U.S. competitors, I can tell you what they’re going to do, but these international teams are a new factor to deal with.”
“We’re a new team and we live in Wisconsin; we don’t have anyone to train with at home. This clinic was huge for us. I’ve never heard of a camp with 30 boats. I thought it was very well organized; I was very impressed. With all the boats clumped up, we got into stressful situations. You’ll find those situations on the water racing, but you won’t find those in camps.”This camp exposed some of our flaws, which I think is a great thing because we now know what we need to work on back home, especially when we’re training by ourselves. My takeaway from this camp is we need to work very hard to catch up to the top guys because they’ve been putting in a ton of time and they’re very good.”
“Every morning was different. We’d have these seminars and presentations on upwind tactics or inner and outer tracks, which you want to take, some days it was on downwind racing, or starts. I can honestly say that during the three days of this clinic, I’ve improved more than the past two months of racing.
“On Saturday, we worked on improving specific areas of the racecourse. We split into three groups and we worked on the windward mark, the gate mark and the start, and just hammered away at it. Then on Sunday we got back together and did races and tried to put everything into practice.
“The starts were very competitive and you could see that what we learned really paid off, people were more confident in their staring and better at pushing the line.”
29ers On The Loose
New England / Northeast Clinic Series 2015 Clinic Schedule
May 16 – 17 at Bristol YC
Coaches: Richard Feeny and Ryan Pesch
Richard is the Youth National Coach and multihull fanatic.
Ryan is a 49er sailor and ‘11-’14 US Sailing Team member.
BYO Boat, or just your wetsuit – we will get boats here.
Cost – $200 for the weekend includes boat charter, and coaching.
To Register: Richard.Feeny@gmail.com
mobile phone: (415) 233-1630
June 13-14 “Girls Only” at Sail Newport
A US Sailing Youth Development Clinic
(Boys interested in sailing this weekend? — if interest merits we will arrange coaching.)
Coaches: Ryan Pesch and others to be decided.
BYO boat, or charter boats available (4)
For more information: Richard.Feeny@gmail.com
August 11-14 (tentative) “Clinigatta” at TBD
and/or August ?? at Sail Newport
The 29er class website is active (29ernorthamerican.org — including used boats). Meanwhile, the Florida 29er fleet is training regularly from the US Sailing Center Miami and would like more boats. Next event is in MiamiApril 3-4, Friday and Saturday this week, “Midwinters East”. Leandro has spots reserved for girls in the boats you sailed.
The Miami group has practice every Sunday and will be hosting one of their regular “After Opti” clinics the third weekend of May.
Dealer is Zim. http://www.Zimsailing.com
Very active season begins May 23rd in the Northeast. The most active fleet is LISOT, based out of the New York, Long Island Sound area. Steve Keene is the contact. email@example.com
Second most active fleet is in Texas, based around Houston. Sarah Lihan at Texas Corinthian Yacht Club is a good contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The boat you sailed is Wade Waddell’s (email@example.com).
Dealer is: https://www.kosailing.com/
Two-time Olympic medalist Charlie McKee, now the High Performance Director for the US Olympic sailing program, sees windsurfing in classes, such as the Techno and the Kona, as an essential step for learning to sail.“It’s the most organic way of sailing and teaches great skills like balance, agility, and feel for speed, which are all skills that can be transferred to any boat if desired,” he says. “Plus, it’s fun and affordable.” From Sailing World March/April 2015 pg. 46
The Techno 293 class is the One-Design youth class, with a great scene based out of Miami Yacht Club. Contact me for more information about their training schedule and program.
A hotspot and great training center is Calema Windsurfing near Cocoa Beach. Tinho will take care of you and he’s a great teacher.http://calema.com/
The Formula 16 catamaran has been used to select our youth worlds team the past two years. The class is not very active, but will have a fleet at Youth Champs. http://www.usf16.org
Matt McDonald is a contact for boats. http://www.falconmarinellc.com
And Zim has them also. http://www.zimsailing.com/viper-f16.html
Multiclass events are popular with catamarans, as are distance races. Here are some Florida distance races. http://sailseries.com. Email me for help with logistics for these.
Information about the Olympic Development Program of US Sailing is here: http://www.ussailing.org/olympics/odp/
See you on the water.
The Essential Principles of Ocean Sciences
1 The Earth has one big ocean with many features.
2 The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth.
3 The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.
4 The ocean made Earth habitable.
5 The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.
6 The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.
7 The ocean is largely unexplored.