First-Time Competitor at Youth Champs is Recognized for Sportsmanship
Thanks to your support, this year’s Youth Championship was able to welcome more sailors than ever before. More than 230 young athletes competed across seven classes at the pinnacle youth regatta.
A highlight of the week was presenting the David M. Perry Trophy to one sailor in each class. The award is a great honor, not only because it’s named for one of sailing’s most notable figures, but also because the winners are selected by their peers and coaches for demonstrating the outstanding personal qualities and positive sportsmanship that make our sport strong.
Charlotte McDonald, a 15-year-old sailor from Maine, was selected for the 2023 Trophy in the 29er.
“When I heard my name called for the award, I was definitely very pleasantly surprised!” Charlotte said. “I’ve never received such a meaningful award before.”
Charlotte started sailing at the Southport Junior Yacht Club summer sailing program in Southport, ME when she was 8 years old. An enthusiastic turnabout skipper, it wasn’t until her freshman year on the Portland High School sailing team, which sails out of SailMaine, that she found her love of racing.
Although she’d only been sailing the 29er for a few months, she decided to register for Youth Champs. And she’s glad she did! “I learned more about the boat in that one week than I have in an entire season!”
“Sterling Henken, our US Sailing coach, was one of the coolest, most genuine people I’ve ever met,” she said. “He really helped me succeed throughout the event and taught me a lot about teamwork and perseverance. I learned a lot about being a good teammate and improving as a sailor, and it provided me with a lot of excitement about pursuing more opportunities like this.”
Your support of US Sailing helped ensure that every sailor at Youth Champs had the chance to work with top-notch coaches like Sterling. Thanks to you, promising young sailors had three days of clinics, both on and off the water, to sharpen their skills, ask questions, and get direct feedback to improve their sailing.
Being honored for her sportsmanship made the event even more special for Charlotte.
“Being recognized elevated the entire experience,” she said. “I’m so grateful to receive this award. It really inspired me to keep pushing myself to succeed as a sailor and continue competing with an attitude of positivity.”
“My experience at Youth Champs was the most intense and enlightening sailing experience I’ve ever had!”
Thank you for your ongoing support of US Sailing. Because of you, sailors of every age and ability can find their place in the sailing world. You’re helping to keep the sport strong, safe, and accessible. And you’re building the next generation of high-performance racers and lifelong sailors!