Junior Sailing News

Junior Sailing News

  • 2/25/2019 Cross Country Firsts
  • 1/31/2018 - A Great Start
  • 10/4/2018-Nearly a Sweep
  • 9/24/2018 -End of Summer Blues
Along with the cold weather, wind, and rain that this winter month has bestowed, February has been a busy month for the "kids in the basement". 

Travel Team News and Coach reflections: 

For the first time in recent years, select sailors from the DPYC Travel Team traveled across the continent to compete against some of the best youth sailors from this country and abroad. DPYC Sailors Hannah Carter and Sam Kipper traveled to Jensen Beach, Florida to compete in the C420 International Mid Winter Championship, race against 106 other boats, and fly our burgee on a foreign shore. 

Thursday / Friday: After a regular day of practice, we hopped in an uber and boarded a delayed red-eye to Fort Lauderdale. Leaving anywhere at midnight and traveling far into the future (we arrived at 8:00am EST) is never ideal, but spirits were high even as we left from the airport and headed straight-to the Martin County Sailing Center for venue practice. Thanks to the Dana Point Harbor Youth Foundation, the girls were able to charter a brand new Z-Force C420 and after a 2 hour drive, pickup, and rigging, we hit the water with other clubs from Annapolis, Connecticut, the Virgin Islands, and San Francisco to get a feel for the water and wind conditions on the Intra-coastal Waterway. 

The First Day: Challenges Abound
Saturday would be the first full day of racing and qualifiers in sustained heavy winds of 15-20kts. Calamity would strike in every race - A back row start in the first race, a fouled spinnaker the second, a swamped boat the third (resulting in a DNF),  and a torn spinnaker in the fourth. Variables and conditions like these would take the heart of any sailor, including myself, but despite the hardships and a silver fleet placing, Hannah and Sam finished the day with smiles and ready for the next bout. 

The Second Day: Starts
Sunday brought together a silver fleet of 53 boats of mixed ages, affiliations, and skill levels. The breeze had switched; abandoning it's north-eastern post and swapped for a westerly off-shore zephyr. Today, everything was ironed out. With a re-tuned boat, a new spinnaker, and a better idea of what was to come, our sailors headed out with a renewed sense of self and presence on the race course. Eager beavers would result in the a general recall, then the U flag, and eventually, black flag starts for the rest of the day. The first race - a second row start and 36th place finish The second race - Black Flagged. After some post race coaching and deliberation - finding a hole and defending position on the line became more natural and things started to improve - a 22nd place finish was to follow. In the final race of the day, the wind shifted hard left after the right had been favored all day; lifting the sailors that had chosen that line. We finished the day in 36th. 

The Final Day: Boat Speed Revelations
Monday proved to be the lightest day of all - with wind speeds dipping as low as 3 its (postponing the starts of multiple races) and as high as 14kts. Today would also be our best day, a day filled with massive improvement, good starts, and super scooty boat-speed. The day started off like the one before, a rough start with a quick comeback, a quick moment in front of the entire fleet, and ultimately a 38th place finish. The second race - a first row start, a far right advantage, a better understanding of the relationship between a flat boat and speed, and ultimately a 24th place finish. The third and final race - a bad start, a push for the front, excellent form, the best boat speed of the day, and ultimately a 15th place finish. - refer to this later as "the click" 

From here, it was a race to the shoreline. It was just about 2:30 when the races finished and our flight was leaving in 5 hours. Between now and then we had to make the half hour tow back to the sailing center, de-rig and pack up the C420, pack up and ship out the coach boat, and hope to all the Lords and Ladies of the Wind and Sea that we didn't hit any traffic on the way back. We did hit traffic, and we did get to the airport late, but we made it to our gate with 10 minutes to final boarding and headed home. 

Coach Reflections:
Now it's only fair to read this breakdown and think "well...that didn't go very well", and that, my reader, is a totally fair and reasonable conclusion to come to. No - We didn't place very high and yes, a plethora of mistakes were made but our attendance at this event was neither focused on victory in the numbers or perfection on the course; it was focused on learning and experience. 

The road to success for dinghy sailors is paved with loss, hardship, and an incredible amount of practice. It is through blown out spinnakers, 3rd row starts, protests, and new and challenging conditions and venues that athletes in this sport move on to greatness. It doesn't happen overnight or in the 3rd regatta in a new boat. When we decided to take on this first big travel regatta, it was with this in mind that I re-assured our sailors, plain and simply, that it's ok to lose, it's ok to take mid fleet - to put the glory and weight of winning out of their heads and to instead replace it with sailing and competition in the context of pushing themselves further, of mastering one more skill, of the love and discipline of water, and most of all - in the context of good fun. We (myself included) forget this far too often. 

I watched our sailors do many things at this regatta. I watched them stumble repeadetly and I watched their frustration. More importantly though, I watched as they improved and learned from their mistakes. I watched Sam's form change on the trapeze. I watched Hannah keep an extra eye on stall. I watched them try with every pound they had to keep the boat flat in conditions they'd never really sailed in. I watched their faces during late evening debriefs about how the current rolls in the intra-coastal and I watched as those things (and so many more) melted together to form a C420 plaining on a blast reach for a 15th place finish on our last day. It is for those moments where everything comes together, that I continue to be a career sailor.

I am immensely proud of these young women and of all the accomplishments that they have had in the last few months. Our next venture takes us to San Francisco for the C420 North American Championship. 

Junior Team News: 

It's not all about midwinters! While the DPYC Travel Team was away in Florida, the Junior team traveled to West Lake Yacht Club. The venue saw wind speeds of 17-19kts and shifts of up to 180* in a matter of seconds. ( thats lake sailing for you) If it most literally was not for the protests of our Head Sailing Instructor Peter Albertson, this regatta would have been canceled.

If you don't know, we send our kids out in almost everything. Raining? We're going sailing. Swells 4-6 feet? We're going sailing. 25mph winds? We're going sailing. In fact, some of the only things we DON'T go sailing for are lightning, winds over 30 mph, and swells that pose an imminent danger. Fair weather never made strong sailors.

It was for that reason, that one of our own DPYC Sailors, Oliver Ernest, took first place overall with not one...not two...but THREE first place finishes. Thats a picket fence if I've ever seen one. 

The Junior Team is going on to regattas in Marina Del Rey and San Francisco in the coming months. Keep an eye out on RSterana.org 

It's official, the Spring season is now in full swing with regattas on the schedule nearly every weekend. 

This past weekend (1/26-27) DPYC traveled to two regattas. C420 sailors from the Travel Team met bright and squirrely at US Sailing Center - Long Beach to set up for a full two day edition of the SCYYRA Perry Series. This 3rd installment of the series brought a small and personal fleet of 32 boats. Saturday provided sustained 6-8 kt winds and fierce competion. Sunday was the opposite and made for a hot and light air day on the water. DPYC Sailors Hannah Carter and Sam Kipper had consistent finishes in the top mid fleet and pulled an 18th place overall finish. Not bad for our first C420 campaign! 

Travel just 45 minutes north and you would have found Peter Albertson & the DPYC Junior Race team competing in the Santa Monica Windjammers YC Super Bowl Charity Regatta; the 5th regatta in the RS Tera California Series. Saturday saw fierce competition between DPYC Sailors Chris Daher, Xandon Yee, and defending champion, Emily Rychlik. Light winds brought tough sailing conditions and in the end placed Chris Daher 2nd overall, Xandon Yee 3rd overall, Oliver Ernest 7th overall, and Kate Sweeney 8th overall. 

The coming weeks brings 3 more regattas: PSCISA SoCal #4 at ABYC for the DPYC High School Racers, SCYA Midwinters at Westlake YC for the DPYC Junior Racers, and the C420 Midwinter Regatta in Jensen Beach FL for the DPYC Travel Team. 

Want to volunteer your time for a regatta? Just want to cheer us on? We'd always appreciate it! Contac the Sailing Director for information regarding upcoming regattas and volunteer needs. 

You've seen it, and if not, have likely heard it - the sound of whistles over the basin while hanging out at the club on Thursdays or Fridays. For the last month and a half, the new DPYC travel team, a merger of the DPYC juniors and a new C420 fleet, have been training hard at practice on 4 separate days of the week to represent Dana Point at other clubs around California, and in some cases, around the country.

Both the RS Tera sailors and C420 sailors competed in their first regatta of the season: The BCYC Corinthian Cup. It was a light weekend with winds maxing out around 6 knots but we were able to see some good clean sailing among all of the competitors. The end of Sunday brought high overall finishes to DPYC sailors with Hannah Carter & Tyler Welk finishing 3rd and Naomi Hawkes and Ryan Brown finishing 5th in the C420 Fleet, Christopher Daher finishing 2nd (MISSING FIRST BY 1 POINT) and Kate Sweeney finishing 5th in the RS Tera Fleet.

The Tera team loaded up again for the Halloween Regatta at ABYC and nearly swept the podium. Christopher Daher finished 2nd overall, Kate sweeney 3rd, and Oliver Ernest took 4th. Thank you to Peter Albertson, our new assistant head
coach, for being there for the team!

From the Director -

Racing News:

With the summer officially out of reach and the arrival of a new school year, the time for the DPYC youth racers to gear up is once again upon us. We’re proud to announce that for maybe the first time, the DPYC Travel Team will be officially campaigning for all of the SCYYRA Perry (C420) and Hamlin (29er) Series events; representing our burgee at other clubs from San Francisco to San Diego. In addition, with the hopeful approval of our application, we will be traveling to Florida on two separate occasions for the 2018 Orange Bowl International Regatta and the 2019 C420 Midwinter Championship. In the PCISA Highschool racing circuit, DPYC is hosting and training teams from 3 different high schools including: Dana Hills, San Clemente, and JSerra. Their first regatta saw high spirits, mid fleet finishes from new sailors, and our first set of Gold Fleet Sailors - Carsen and Riley Lenthall.

Other Programming:

There is a lot happening at DPYC this fall and it’s not all about racing. In October we will be hosting Beginner Adult Sailing classes on both Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00pm - 7:00pm. These classes are open to the community so be sure to bring your friends. These classes serve as An opportunity for members of the community to brush up on their sailing skills, or learn to sail a boat for the first time. Sailing the CFJ or Capri 16, this course will cover basic boat handling, points of sail, sail trim and an introduction to small boat racing, to prepare sailors to feel comfortable sailing inside the harbor and in the open ocean.


The curse of Sailing Programs nationwide is the return of the school year, and the subsequent departure of summer staff. I would like to extend a personal thank you to our staff from this summer. Together we implemented a new program and taught more children over 10 weeks than the club has seen in many years (191)  and that couldn’t have been done without a dedicated (and overworked) group of sailing instructors. This particular school year brings the loss of our Assistant Head Coach - Catherine Reynolds - as she heads off to pursue a bachelors degree in Physics at UC Santa Barbara. Catherine’s leadership skills, sailing knowledge, and her work ethic proved to be invaluable to our program this year and though by her own design she generally remained unseen in the basement or on the dock, her presence will be sorely missed. As a parting gift, I asked her to write a letter of farewell about her time at DPYC for the Junior Sailing News (you can find that on our new website) and it is as follows:

“My Time In The Basement:

I live at Dana Point Yacht Club, or at least I did. February rolled around, and it was time to find a job for the summer. Coaching experience and a love for the ocean ruled out the local Starbucks, so I turned my sights towards the coast. A few weeks passed, a flurry of calling in favors and editing resumes, but none of the long winded offers of employment seemed to hit a chord. Until I received a text from a previous employer that peaked my interest. A simple: “send me your resume”. It appeared that Dana Point Yacht Club was in need of an extra hand, so I calculated my gas mileage for the 30 minute drive down the coast, and prepared to don the navy blue collar of a DPYC sailing instructor.


If I were to describe my time at Dana Point Yacht Club, my job interview would sum it up pretty thoroughly. I arrived 15 minutes early, and after answering an extensive list of soul-searching questions, was led down to the dock to coach practice as a practical application of my presumed teaching skills. As I sat shivering in the rickety 11ft coach boat that would soon be mine, the drizzle that had been following me all morning saw my hopeful smile, and decided to broaden into a soaking downpour. I shivered my way through four hours of practice, hoping that the sailors could hear my muted voice over the chattering of my teeth and shaking body. It was a cold day, but by the time we returned to the dock a few more sailors knew how to sail in a strait line, and I was wearing the kind of grin that only comes from a day on the water and coaching sailing. Or maybe I wasn’t grinning, I’ve been told I don’t do that very often.


My time coaching at DPYC was not a cold day on the water, but rather a downpour of opportunities that pushed me to be a better instructor, and perhaps a better person also. Perhaps. It was long hours of hard work - trying not to break the speed limit in my upgraded 17 ft whaler and desperately working to focus on my job while the sun rose and set against the painted cliffs of the harbor - this job really pushed me hard. But there was real work involved also. Mornings were spent writing the summer curriculum, before motoring to the ocean to drill basic racing techniques into the (less than full) minds of hopeful racers that I soon referred to as my team. Tired eyes and sunburnt faces returned to the office each night, with hours of planning and projects waiting to be finished - plenty to keep me busy on the weekend.


As I write, I am sitting at a desk that holds hours of scribbled notes and writers block, in an office that I may as well call my home, in a basement that over the course of the summer was chock full of jabbering campers (perpetually asking me questions while I tried to hide in the office during my lunch break), beneath a yacht club that towers over the harbor not just in stature but in promise. I am sitting here, ready to begin a new college life full of Physics and sailing, and I don’t want to leave. I never begin a job that I already have the skills to accomplish, and I certainly was not sure whether my time at DPYC would prove fruitful, or if I would be fired for incompetence during the first week. But as it turns out I made it through two seasons, and couldn’t have asked for a better job, employer (partner in arms), or racing team. Thanks a bunch. “


The Assistant Head Coach position has been filled by Community Sailing of Colorado’s Peter Albertson. Peter is a 26 year old professional windsurfer and competitive skier from Minnesota and has spent the last three years making CSC a more competent and more fun program than it’s ever been. He arrives on October 1st, and we can’t wait!

Contact & Info
Anthony Capri
Sailing Director
Dana Point Yacht Club
(631) 902-0416

Junior Flag Officers

Commodore, Riley Lenthall
Vice Commodore, Hunter Laws
Fleet Captain, Hannah Carter
Port Captain, Colin Sekerka
Secretary, Audrey Whitney-Miller
Social Director, Sophia Whitney-Miller
Junior Yachtsman of the Year
The Junior Yachtsman of the Year was started in 2014 in order to recognize the junior sailor who embodies the Corinthian spirit both on and off of the water.
This year's Junior Yachtsman of the Year is
Carsen Lenthall