CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (July 15, 2018) – The 14 sailors who comprise the US Sailing Team at the Youth Sailing World Championships begin their quest for gold medals tomorrow.
The 48th annual Youth Sailing World Championships is being hosted by the Corpus Christi Yacht Club with racing slated for Corpus Christi Bay. The regatta features 382 youth sailors, aged 16 to 19, from 66 nations racing in nine classes.
The US team is comprised of 14 sailors from five states. Five of the sailors were on last year’s team that traveled to China, including gold medalists Carmen and Emma Cowles (both Larchmont, N.Y.) and Charlotte Rose (Houston, Texas) who won gold in the Girls 420 Class (doublehanded dinghy) and Girls Laser Radial Class (singlehanded dinghy), respectively.
Also returning are Berta Puig (Miami, Fla.), skipper in the Girls 29er Class (high-performance dinghy), and Dominique Stater (Miami, Fla.), who’ll race in the Girls RS:X Class (sailboard). The US team comes in with great hopes for a gold medal haul.
“We’re really excited about Team USA this year,” said team leader Rosie Chapman, who’s coached the team for two and a half years. “We have a lot of sailors returning and some great new talent coming up the ranks. It’s a great variety of sailors.”
The Cowles sisters dominated the Girls 420 Class last year, winning by 26 points with a scoreline that featured all first- and second-place finishes. A return to the top of the podium isn’t guaranteed. The French team of Violette Dorange and Camille Orion, last year’s silver medalists, are also back and looking to derail the Cowles’ train.
Rose won the Girls Laser Radial Class on a tiebreaker by virtue of winning five races. Her main rivals from 2017 have all aged out and the she is the clear favorite to repeat on what amounts to a “home” course. Her main rivals come in the form of Italy’s Federica Cattarozzi and Russia’s Valeriya Lomatchenko who won silver and bronze, respectively, at the Laser Radial Youth European Championships in Hungary last April.
“It’s always about sticking to the process,” said Chapman on the girls’ chances to repeat. “It’s another event and you have to keep to your routine. The team is very well prepared. Since China last year they’ve been working very hard. You increase your chances for success when you stick to the routine.”
In the Boys 420 Class (doublehanded dinghy), newcomers Joseph Charles Hermus (Bellport, N.Y.) and Walter Henry (Syosset, N.Y.) pick up the baton for the US. Last year’s crew won a silver medal in the class, but for Hermus and Henry to win the gold they’ll have to take down last year’s gold medalists Otto Henry and Rome Featherstone of Australia. Hermus and Henry seem up to the challenge after placing second out of 39 entries at the 420 North American Championship last January.
The Boys Laser Radial Class is the largest at the regatta with 58 entrants, including American newcomer Chase Carraway (Wrightsville Beach, N.C.). The gold and silver medalist from last year aren’t returning, but Italian bronze medalist Guido Gallinaro returns looking to move up the podium after finishing six points off the win.
In the Girls 29er Class, Puig returns from last year with new crew Bella Casaretto (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). They placed second at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championships last month racing against boys and girls crews. They’ll be going up against Russians Zoya Novikova and Diana Sabirova, who won the silver medal last year.
The Boys 29er Class features newcomers Charlie Hibben (Concord, Mass.) and Nicholas Hardy (Newton, Mass.) of the US. They have to contend with Norway’s Mathias Berthet and Alexander Franks-Penty, who won the silver medal last year and will also have to keep an eye on Ville Korhonen and Robin Berner, the duo from Finland who placed fifth last year.
In the Girls RS:X Class, Stater is looking to cash in on the experience gained last year. She’ll be going up against Italy’s Giorgia Speciale, who is hoping to win the gold medal that she lost last year on a tie-breaker. Speciale is the only returning competitor from last year’s top 10.
The Boys RS:X Class is open for the taking with none of last year’s medalists returning. That gives Geronimo Nores (Miami, Fla.) great hope for a podium finish. The tall, 6-foot, 4-inch sailor has proven strong in windy conditions, a trait that could be useful on windy Corpus Christi Bay. Tenth-place finisher Max van der Zalm of New Zealand is the only returning competitor of six who placed in the top 10.
In the Nacra 15 Class, the multihull class open to boys and girls, Nico Martin (Houston, Texas) and AnaClare Sole (Houston, Texas) look to capture gold for the US. The duo won the US Youth Sailing Championship last month and could well contend in a class that has no medalists and only a few sailors from 2017 returning.
The weather conditions this week look to be robust, with wind strengths of 15 to 20 knots forecast each day. Chapman says that the team is prepared for whatever comes its way.
“The team is strong across all conditions,” said Chapman. “Corpus Christi is historically a windy venue but having trained here on and off for two years we’ve seen a mix of conditions. We’ve had a great lead up and this is essentially home waters for them. I think we’re the most prepared team here.”
The Opening Ceremony, including a parade of nations, is scheduled for Sunday evening. Racing begins Monday and continues through Friday.