Day 1: California Tour Gets Underway at West Marine US Open Sailing Series
by Casey Coffin
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (June 12, 2021) – The West Coast tour of the West Marine US Open Sailing Series kicked off on Saturday in full San Diego sunshine. With only two days of racing, stakes were high on Day 1 for a mix of young Olympic hopefuls and experienced sailors.
The 29ers and the Finns set out this morning for Course A while the ILCA 7 (Laser), ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) and ILCA 4 (Laser 4.7) ventured slightly further and took on Course B. The breeze stuck around 8-10 knots with some puffs and favored the left side for most of the day, an unlikely occurrence in San Diego. All of the classes sailed four races today.
The ILCA 7 class was dominated by Leo Boucher. After three races, Boucher took the lead by six points over Ford McCann with a 1-2-2-1 scoring line on the day. All three of the current top standings are participating in the series as part of the Olympic Development Program (ODP).
The ILCA 4 was the smallest fleet on the water today with five boats on the starting line. Oscar Parzen beat Kousei Hatter by only two points, finishing with seven overall in the current standings and winning two of the four races. With such light winds, Parzen found it challenging to move quickly, but sailed smart and stayed consistent in the results.
“The first race was pretty important,” said Parzen. “In most regattas, it is, because you don’t know a lot about the conditions and the fleet, and it sets your mental attitude for the rest of the day. I’m planning on going out there early again tomorrow to practice like I did today.”
Parzen is currently training for the ILCA 4 National Championships in Norfolk, Virginia in two weeks. “My goal overall in sailing is to just have a really good time.”
The top 10 sailors of the Radial fleet experienced a really fair game with a variety of scoring and results across the fleet. Katherine Doble finished day one with two bullets in three races, earning herself the first place spot on the standings.
“The courses were well set and long,” said Doble. “A big priority for me was getting off the start well. I have good speed in these conditions, being from California, but if you have a good start, it makes the other decisions come easier. To get off on the right foot in race one was an important way to start the day and the regatta.”
She continued, “I’m really excited that the US Open Sailing Series has come to the west coast. It’s great to have such talent come right here and get to race against them in the conditions that we have here on the west coast in the summer.”
Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s Robert Kinney finished first in the Finn Fleet, two points ahead of James Buley in second and four points ahead of AJ Nosar in third. The fleet sailed four races.
In the 29ers fleet, Samantha Gardner and Alice Schmid were a force to be reckoned with. The duo spoke at an in-store event with fans on Friday night at West Marine – San Diego alongside two-time Olympic medalist and San Diego Yacht Club mentor JJ Fetter. Fetter checked in with them on the water, where they explained they were working on finding their rhythm and climbing back up after a rough start on race one.
Paul Cayard, Executive Director of the US Sailing Team, made an appearance on the West Marine Coaches Corner this morning. With Los Angeles 2028 in the future, Cayard emphasized how crucial a domestic platform like the West Marine US Open Sailing Series really is.
“Building a domestic platform in the United States is fundamental to us being the strongest team in the world. Having 70 to 80 sailors racing against each other six times a year in the US, heading towards Los Angeles 2028 when we’re sure a lot of international sailors will also participate in these regattas, is a fantastic opportunity and a fundamental building block in making the USA the strongest country in the world in sailing,” said Cayard.
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