Youth Sailing Foundation sailors bring home the gold from Fall Festival Regatta


L to R: Mary Morgan (YSF Sailing Director), Kate Bounassi, Cate Lovelady, Sydney Ohs, Nita Holloway, Skip Willauer, Mylee Smith, Jacob Gingras, Peik Sander.

Fighting gusty winds and choppy seas, Skipper Nita Holloway and crew Cate Lovelady of VBHS took first place in the highly competitive 420 class at Palm Beach Sailing Club’s Fall Festival Regatta on October 28.    Nineteen 2-man boats competed in a series of races in challenging conditions that had sailors flying around the race course.

YSF’s two other 420 entries garnered 3rd place (Mylee Smith, Skipper; Jacob Gingras, Crew) and 8th place (Sydney Ohs, Skipper; Kate Bounassi, Crew), respectively – a great showing all round for the Vero Beach Varsity Sailing Team.

For the Opti class, on the other hand, it was a day of hard knocks and teachable moments.  The elementary and middle school sailors were forced to contend with brisk winds, high wakes from boat traffic, and strong currents.   Only five intrepid sailors out of the 40 entrants successfully completed all five races. This was vastly different from the favorable conditions two weeks earlier at Fort Pierce, where YSF’s Peter Swanson sailed to a 2nd place finish in a 21-boat Opti regatta.

Despite the setbacks at Palm Beach, YSF’s youngest competitors maintained a positive outlook and a can-do attitude, doing their best in the challenging conditions and notching some valuable experience.

The unpredictability of weather and competition is one of the facets of sailing that makes it such a worthwhile endeavor in the cultivation of young minds and characters.  Besides learning practical boating skills and enjoying outdoor activity, these kids are developing and sharpening their decision-making capabilities and other valuable sensibilities in a unique and exciting way.

Serving approximately 150 children each week, Youth Sailing Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit offering free instruction as a means to engage local children who would otherwise have no opportunity to experience the enjoyment and challenge of sailing.  To learn more, volunteer, or make a donation, please call 772-492-3243 or visit

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