Historic Virginia Key Beach Park provided a spectacular venue for the first South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association (SAISA) Regatta of the season on Saturday, October 2. Located between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, directly east of downtown Miami, the island offers a dramatic panorama of open ocean and to city skyline.
Thirty-one teams from Florida’s elite sailing schools and clubs launched 14-foot 420 racing dinghies off the beach out into the Atlantic. A stiff 17-22 knot breeze from the east-north-east had the lightweight boats flying around the 2-mile triangular course. Add in the 3-4 knot current flowing in the cut between Virginia Key and Key Biscayne and you have a perfect storm to challenge the young sailors.
Youth Sailing Foundation’s (YSF) Nick Crull, sailing his first SAISA regatta with crew Edee Steinkamp aboard, skippered the YSF Junior Varsity team to a 5th place finish. The thirteen old 8th grader, sailing against some of the best interscholastic competition in the United States put on the performance of his young career. The second boat in the JV team was skippered by Rayne Herold with Michael Ladd aboard as crew. Despite a capsizing and getting a bit knocked about prior to race #1, Rayne and Michael came back and sailed the last two races to 4th place finishes making a significant contribution to the team score.
The YSF Varsity team of skippers Denali Herold and Sydney Ohs, and crew Luke Franco, Cate Lovelady and Kate Bounassi, finished a respectable 18th over-all out the 31 teams in the combined Varsity/JV fleets. Several of the varsity teams were skippered by sailors who have won major national and international championships. Finishing in the middle of the pack against this level of competition is a tremendous achievement for the young YSF team.
YSF Sailing Director, Mary Morgan commented: “Given the 15-hour day, the sailors spirits were high and they were very proud of their overall performance, and our goal for regatta number 1 was accomplished, everyone had fun.”
Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit devoted to eliminating cultural and financial barriers to sailing. Numerous youth programs are offered throughout the year, many of them free to participants. For more information or to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit: www.ysfirc.org.