At the final regatta of 2018-19 academic year YSF skipper John Mark Gaponiuk and crew Julia Dribben took home the 1st Place trophy in the elite 420 class. Nita Holloway with crew Mylee Smith aboard won 2nd Place honors. Light air and shifting currents made sharp skills and expert tactics all the more important as the fleet of 17 competed over a series of four races.
The regatta in Fort Pierce was the fifth and final leg of the Spring 2019 Florida East Coast Series. JohnMark and Julia’s win secured them 2nd Place overall, while big sister Karis Gaponiuk and her crew Jacob Gingras put in a strong enough showing to earn them the 3rd Place trophy for the series.
In the Opti division, YSF’s Peter Swanson placed 3rd for the day in the 20-boat Silver Fleet, earning him the top spot overall for the series. Shae Riley sailed skillfully to a strong 3rd place finish in the competitive Opti Gold Class.
After racing, the sailors hurried back to Vero Beach for an end-of-season picnic, celebrating an exciting year. More than 40 team members and parents reflected on the many accomplishments since last fall, as Vero Beach sailors have steadily climbed up the scoring ladder and are now competing at the highest level of scholastic sailing after just a few seasons.
The evening was capped off with the inaugural presentation of YSF’s New York Yacht Club Sailor of the Year Award to graduating varsity captain Brendan Williams. Established by brothers Peter and Robert Brinckerhoff, the perpetual trophy will be presented annually to the YSF sailor who “best demonstrates the Corinthian spirit in the sport of sailing.” Over his several years with YSF, Brendan has developed into a highly skilled racer while demonstrating an exceptional level of sportsmanship and leadership, captaining his team to a very successful 2018-2019 season.
As summer approaches, many of these young sailors are preparing to work or volunteer at YSF’s popular summer camp. The skills learned and experience gained out on the water help them pass a rigorous certification course and equip them to take on the responsibility of teaching and encouraging the next generation to explore and enjoy the adventure of sailing.
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 www.ysfirc.org.