Youth Sailing Foundation’s Nick LaRochelle (11) and David Ratanu (10) took 1st and 2nd respectively in the 8-foot Optimist Silver class at the Florida East Coast Series Regatta #2. Competing in the larger 14 foot 420 two person racing dingy, skipper Edee Steinkamp (15) and crew Luke Franco (17) raced to a 3rd place finish. Skipper Mikey Ladd (15) and crew Jimmie Collins (15) sailed to 7th place in the 420 class. The 117-year-old Eau Gallie Yacht Club located on the east bank of Indian River Lagoon across from Melbourne hosted junior sailors from clubs as far away as the Mid-Keys. The young sailors were challenged by a northeast breeze that built during the afternoon as intermittent showers added some spice to the racing conditions. Racing around a closed course in close proximity to dozens of other sailboats requires concentration and a keen sense of situational awareness. The young sailors are constantly trimming sail and adjusting course to maximize speed while at the same time judging their position in the fleet.
Five races were sailed over a three-hour span. There are no timeouts in a sailing regatta. There are no substitutes, and no running to the sidelines for a break. After completion of a race, the sailors immediately start maneuvering for the start of the next race. Yet as the photo above indicates, at the end of the day everyone was all smiles. The sailors knew they sailed their best and were taking home valuable lessons in seamanship that when brought ashore will help them navigate life’s challenges. 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