MIAMI, Fla. (November 18, 2020) – It was a skiff family reunion down in Miami, Florida last weekend at the Skiff Generation Grand Prix, a brand new training platform for U.S. high-performance sailing development featuring three skiff classes in one regatta: the 49er, 49er FX, and the 29er. Seven US Sailing Team athletes hit the water on Biscayne Bay for eight races over two days and swept the podium as they started their first real racing in months. Overall, the team performed well on the water in a range of conditions.
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It is the story beyond the numbers that make last weekend even more vital to the US Sailing Team’s trajectory towards the 2024 and 2028 Games. Event organizer, Philip Muller, had a vision in early 2020 for a series to bridge the gap between the skiff classes and bring the entire range together at one event. Phil, the head coach of 2NINER, a high-performance sailing program based in Miami, an Olympic Development coach, and one of US Sailing’s Youth Worlds coaches, was in the unique position to put his vision into action. The creation of the Skiff Generation Grand Prix series encapsulates the continued growth of the youth pipeline into high-performance racing.
An additional benefit that became clear during the event was the excitement the 29er sailors felt sharing the circle with top American sailors in their own progression towards the Olympic class boats. Younger sailors in the 29er fleet raced alongside US Sailing Team athletes, and their dreams of bigger, faster boats became real.
Spectators observed the sharing of information between the classes as competitors provided pointers between races, and when asked why the Skiff Generation Grand Prix is a “must-sail” event, the 29er sailors overwhelmingly cited the openness of the group and coaches and their willingness to impart their knowledge on less experienced racers.
It was a historical milestone weekend for the Olympic Development Program as it signaled a significant effort to support the “pipeline” of sailors training to step into the Olympic-class boats. With a total of 22 skiffs on the water in Miami, it was an inspiring view of the importance of regional development. Event #3 is scheduled for December 10-13 for the 49er/49erFX North American Championships and December 12-13 for the 29ers.
Congratulations to the fleet winners: Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis.) and Severin Gramm, who filled in for Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) in the 49erFX, and Harry Melges IV (Fontana, Wis.) and Finn Rowe (Fontana, Wis.) in the 49er.
Other US Sailing Team finishes included Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.) taking second, and Tokyo Trials winners Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) securing third in the 49er fleet. Results/Final Standings
The US Sailing Team would like to thank Philip Muller and the whole 2NINER team for their tireless efforts in bringing the vision to life with the support of title sponsor the Kolter Group; Carol Ewing and her race committee crew; and all of the parent volunteers for making the event happen. The team is also grateful for Severin Gramm who jumped into crew for Roble in the 49erFX. He demonstrated a true showing of support in helping keep the team athletes sharp, actively racing, and able to recover when needed. His participation this weekend is what the US Sailing Team “squad” is all about, and we applaud his team attitude and dedication.
Thank you, event sponsors: Kolter Group, 49er.ca, Zig Travel, iUniforms, and Sailing Performance Training