Youth Sailing Foundation’s Alex Delamarter (13), Nick LaRochelle (11), Hanno Vorholz (9) and Ole Vorholz (12) competed in the major Valentine’s Day Regatta hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on February 12. Sailed on Tampa Bay in winds gusting to 32 knots. On the Beaufort Scale this is Force 7 and described a moderate gale. See the photo below provides some feeling for the conditions these young sailors took on.
A total of 308 junior sailors — ages 9-13 — from across Florida competed in this major regatta for the 8-foot Optimist Class dinghies. Sailing solo, these young sailors skipper their own boats. They must simultaneously sail the boat, navigate the course, and maneuver in fleets of as many as 122 boats. It requires focus and determination to do all that while combating winds up to 35 mph and steep four-foot waves.
Alex Delamarter and brothers Hanno and Ole Vorholz competed in the 241 boat Gold Fleet comprised of the best racing sailors in that class from across the state of Florida. All three acquitted themselves well with Alex finishing in the 1st quartile and Hanno and Ole in the 3rd.
YSF coach Herminio “Luke” Agront commented on how proud he was of his young sailors: “These boys rose to the challenge presented by the rough weather and huge fleet of top sailors. They all hung in there and showed expemplary seamanship and sailing skills under trying conditions.” Luke is one of five full-time sailing instructors at YSF. He knows something about competition as he captained the Rollins College Sailing Team in 2021-22.
The comradeship and bonding that comes with being shipmates experiencing moments like the one depicted below can last a lifetime. There was no shortage of sea stories recounting a weekend of thrills on the long drive home to Vero Beach on Sunday evening.
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.