Sailboat racing on Vero Beach’s Indian River Lagoon reach new levels of excellence and sportsmanship on the weekend of April 1 and 2 , 2023. On Saturday 84 of the top high school sailors from across the state of Florida launched their 14-foot 420 racing dinghies at 10 AM for five hours of intense racing in the South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association’s (SASIA) series regatta.
A steady south-by-southeast 10-15 knot breeze made for perfect sailing conditions for the high performance 420’s. The boats literally flew around the course set by Race Director Skip Willauer, YSF Board member and Chair of the Sail Committee. After six sets of three races each, or 18 races covering a cumulative 18 miles of racing, the Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove Florida took home the gold medal with a winning performance by Griggs Diemar and Violet Martin.
On Sunday, YSF hosted the Steve Martin Memorial Regatta. It was fourth and final Florida East Coast Spring 2023 Series with 30 Opti 8-foot dinghies and 7 420s competing on two race courses. Conditions were challenging as a light northwest breeze died about 30 minutes after racing commenced at 11 AM. After an 80-minute pause, a steady 7-10 knot sea breeze filled in from the east and made for an excellent afternoon sailing.
The large Opti fleet sailed north of the 17th Street Bridge right in front of the future 3-Corners development. It was a spectacular scene as 30 white sails in lock-step formation, with 8-10-year-old boys and girls at the helm, peeled-off to windward as the gun sounded. There’s no more exciting moment in sailing for these young children.
YSF’s Alex Delamarter took home gold with a 1st in the Opti Gold fleet. By winning the Steve Martin Memorial Regatta, Alex took 1st for the entire Spring East Coast Series. YSF’s Ole Vorholz sailed to a solid 2nd in the Opti Gold class. In the Opti Silver class, David Ratanu had his best performance of the year with a 2nd. David also took home 2nd place honors for the overall Spring East Coast Series.
Sailing south of the bridge and east of the Intracoastal Waterway the 420 team of Luke Franco (skipper) and Edee Steinkamp (crew) took 2nd place. That performance propelled them to 1st place for the Spring East Coast Series. Skipper Michael Ladd and crew Rayne Herold sailing in YSF #12 420 took 3rd place in both the Steve Martin Memorial and Spring East Coast Series.
Sportsmanship and seamanship were at their finest. After a weekend of intense racing in close quarters by 128 sailors – sometimes only inches separating boats flying a hull speed – not a single protest was filed. It is a testimony to the training, sailing skills and focus of these 8 to 18-year-old sailors.
YSF’s volunteers and staff performed brilliantly over the weekend. More than 30 volunteers ranging from parking lot attendants – they parked 150 cars on Saturday and Sunday – to race directors and safety officers helped make arrival, launch and sailing a pleasant experience for the over two hundred sailors and family members who came to YSF over the weekend. Members of the Vero Beach Treasure Coast Kiwanis Club cooked hamburgers and hotdogs for everyone on Sunday.
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