We just wrapped up the first ever J/70 Corinthian Nationals in Annapolis, MD hosted by Eastport Yacht Club. When I first heard about this event I though it was a great idea but also was bummed because that meant my plans to attend the annual J/70 Fall Brawl would have to change. The J/70 Fall Brawl was the very first J/70 Regatta ever sailed. I was at the first one, so I already had some personal history with it. Once I accepted this decision, Becky and I decided we wanted to figure out how to make this event special, because with it being the first ever Corinthian National Championship, it needed to be successful. We talked about gathering some great coaching for teams, daily debriefs and more that could add to the event. These are an important part regattas for teams to improve. Then we began thinking outside of the box toward one of the areas we are passionate about, Junior Sailing. Two years ago, we redesigned our Maxinkuckee Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program, now know as, MYC Adventure Sailing, by changing our Junior Sailors over to O’pen Bic sailboats from Optis. We also moved the program from a private location to the local town park where it has exposure to everyone. Based on our commitment to Juniors, we decided to donate our own tricked out Sail22 J/70 to a Junior team. We didn’t just want to have just any team sail our boat. The Juniors needed to be a team first and also be good kids. This is where our friend, PRO and EYC Member Jeff Borland came in. He called me and we talked about a team from Annapolis Yacht Club that had just won this year’s Sears Cup. The Sears Cup is US Sailing’s Triple-Handed Championship Regatta. The kids had already spent a lot of time together and Jeff assured me he would give his own boat to these kids. He said they were from good families and would take care of our boat and make good decisions. For us it was very important to hear this from Jeff, but we also know that giving youth sailors access to the next level is very important for the continuation of sailing. Without young sailors making the leap from High School and College sailing to fleets like the J/70 we won’t have the fleet growth. We also need to give youth sailors the equipment to succeed they aren’t hindered which could cause them to become discouraged. Our J/70, USA 322 just competed in San Francisco for the J/70 Worlds. It is in prime condition with all lines upgraded and every detail looked over. By donating a boat like this we felt it shows the Juniors that we trust them and also showed them how to have a race ready boat for a big event.
Jeff introduced me to Porter Kalve, the skipper of the team that would sail our boat. We emailed first and then talked on the phone. We would continue to communicate while the event grew closer to us. Porter started with a three person team, so he would add a fourth to the team. Porter did a great job of keeping in contact with me as we worked on our schedule. We were in San Francisco for the J/70 Worlds and then Lake Geneva, WI for the Melges 24 US Nationals prior to heading to Annapolis. We arrived in Annapolis Wednesday night before the event. Porter had organized himself and crew member Remmington King to meet us on Thursday morning. The other kids were still in school. He and Remmington were lucky enough to have Thursday and Friday off that week. We met at Annapolis Yacht Club and immediately began rigging our J/70. As I had some other work to do, I guided the them while I completed other work. Porter and Remmington took it upon themselves to get cleaning supplies so they could clean the boat. They also took the boat to the hoist to make sure them got the boat thoroughly clean. What impressed me most about this team was the fact that they knew where everything was supposed to go and how to tape ring dings, tighten shackles, etc. When approached with questions, they instinctually did the right thing. This says a lot about their parents, coaches and other people that have helped these kids grow in sailing. They even put bow numbers on and changed out the sail numbers.
The fun part for us was meeting the parents. We knew Kenny and he came by early on and thanked us and said hello. Remmington’s Dad got out of his van when he dropped his son off at EYC and came over to introduce himself and thank us. He was very nice and professional. These things really mean a lot. Then there was Porter’s Dad. He rolled his window down on Aris T Allen Parkway and yelled across at us to thank us. Then when we were having breakfast at the Eastport Kitchen he came in to more formally say thanks and shake my hand. I guess our Sail22 Van is easy to find. The effort he took to make sure he thanked us and not just from a distance. The final group we met were the Mom’s. At the end of the event we weren’t sure if we were going to hit the road or go to EYC for the awards. Since we have two little ones, we needed to start our drive back home. Fifteen hours to get to Annapolis made for a long day on the way there. So we had decided to split it up on the way home. A break to see the Junior team and congratulate the competitors was the right thing to do. As we arrived at EYC, we heard we were needed by a friend. As we worked our way over to the tent, we were greeted by Porter’s and Mariner’s moms. They were very excited and very appreciative. They immediately went into what I would call “Mom Mode” asking if we needed anything and making sure we knew how much they appreciated our support. We appreciated how grateful they were for the opportunity their children were given, but this was not the reason why we donated our boat.
After lots of photos, awards and a nice speech from Porter and the team, we began our trek back to Indiana. Our first Junior sponsored team event was a big success. Members of that team are now heading to High School Keelboat Nationals which is held in J/70’s this year. We hope we helped the team prepare for this event. We look forward to working with more Junior teams. If you have an event that you would like to have a Junior team participate in, please let us know. We might be able to help out with our boat or help organize lining up a boat to be used. Look for more of this type of support from Sail22 in the future. If you need to contact us for this or any sailing related services please email email@example.com , find us on FaceBook, Twitter or give us a call – 574-889-0022.