Long Island Sound I420 Sailors are Tops at US Youth Champs
On June 24-28, the Corpus Christi Yacht Club hosted the 2017 US Youth Championships. The event assembled more than 175 American sailors divided into 6 different classes ranging from the Olympic single handed dinghy, the Laser, to the faster and newer multihull, the Nacra 15. Some of the best American sailors competed, many of them from the Long Island Sound Region. These sailors did particularly well in the International 420, with the top 4 boats coming from the Sound. The event was won by Max Anker and Leyton Borcherding (Riverside Yacht Club / LISOT/ Belle Haven Yacht Club), making this the 4th Youth Champs in a row won by JSA (and LISOT) sailors.
The event took place in unusual conditions for the venue. Instead of the usual sea breeze clocking in at the same time, direction, and intensity every day, the sailors were greeted with a completely different weather system, with the wind coming out of different directions. This resulted in a very shifty and choppy venue, extremely light at times and tricky to sail in.
As Emma and Carmen Cowles (LISOT / Larchmont Yacht Club) said, “the key was to not overthink the race, we had to focus on the start and come out clean”, while “thinking about one race at the time”. The key was to stay consistent, and as Emma puts it out: “every point counted”. This strategy paid off as they finished first in the Girls’ division and fourth overall, thereby securing a spot at the 2017 Youth World Championships in Sanya, China.
The event was very competitive, as many crews were trying to figure out the best way to sail in a breeze described as “unpredictable and shifty” by Thomas Rice, while at the same time battling to qualify for the 2017 Youth World Championships. The US Youth Championships marked the second event to qualify for the Youth Worlds, along with the I420 Midwinters which took place in Miami February 18-20.
As the event neared its end, JC Hermus and Walter Henry (Bellport Yacht Club/ Seawanhaka Yacht Club) engaged essentially in a “match race” in the final race with Thomas Rice and Trevor Bornarth (Seawanhaka Yacht Club / LIMA) in an epic battle to qualify for the Youth Worlds. After the throw out was factored in, JC Hermus and Walter Henry finished second behind Max/Leyton. But it wasn’t not enough to compensate for their 5th place finish at the I420 Midwinters in Miami – and Thomas/Trevor qualified for Youth Worlds. Out in front were Max Anker and Leyton Borcherding (Riverside Yacht Club / LISOT/ Belle Haven Yacht Club), who finished first overall in what Max described as a “breakthrough regatta”, as this is their first season sailing the I420. They sailed very well, finishing consistently in the top third of the fleet, other than a 17th place throwout.
Looking forward, the different crews agree they needed to spend more time in the boat. All of them will be competing at the Open and Junior I420 Europeans, respectively in Greece 22-30 July and in Italy 6-13 August. After this year’s success, Max and Leyton are ready to come back next year to defend their titles and possibly qualify for the Youth Worlds. They will be training and racing extensively in the I420 class. In addition, Thomas Rice and Trevor Bornarth as well as Carmen and Emma Cowles will be competing at the 2017 Youth World Championships in Sanya, China, representing the United States.
Read the full regatta report and view photos on US Sailing website.