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Washingtonians Dominate at Artemis Event

Who needs a whisker pole when you’re young enough to contort your back like this young Encinal YC sailor?

© Ellen Hoke

Promotion of youth sailing is a frequently stated goal of the ongoing America’s Cup activities here in the Bay Area. The latest example of that commitment came last Saturday when Encinal YC hosted the Artemis Racing Invitational — a team racing event that drew six teams from Western Washington U, Cal Berkeley, Encinal YC and the Royal Swedish YC — the Challenger of Record for the 34th America’s Cup (which will be played out here next summer, of course).

"Team racing emphasizes not just speed, but boat-handling, tactics, and an in-depth knowledge of the rules, some of which are altered in team racing," explains Encinal’s Youth Sailing Director Andrew Nelson. The format, he says is best described as, "three match races happening at once." That is, each team fielded three pairs of sailors to compete in a round robin of fast-pasted, 10-minute races where each team’s scores are combined.

Although the Estuary races were often close, the young sailors from Western Washington U dominated on the scoreboard.

© Ellen Hoke

Although Western Washington U dominated on the scoreboard with six wins, competition was often very close, especially from the young Swedes, who took second overall (and first among the 20-and-under juniors). "Racing was close all day, with plenty of dramatic lead changes and razor-close finishes," explains Nelson.

After the awards ceremony — where RSYC (KSSS) head-coach Bjorn Johansson and EYC Commodore Victor Early exchanged burgees — Artemis Racing‘s CEO Paul Cayard gave the young sailors a presentation on his team’s program, and the winning Washingtonians were given an exclusive tour of Artemis’ Alameda compound. As excitement builds for AC 34, San Francisco Bay will undoubtedly host more special youth sailing competitions in the months to come.

These young Swedes came all the way from Scandinavia to compete and spend a week at ‘Camp Artemis’.

© 2012 Ellen Hoke

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