30 Sep Oakcliff Triple Crown Series Sparks Next Generation Of Olympic Hopefuls
September 27, 2020 (OYSTER BAY, NEW YORK) – This weekend Oakcliff hosted three days of racing in the 49er, 49erFX, and 470 at Stage 1 of the Oakcliff Triple Crown Series. In order to keep everyone safe, Oakcliff used their COVID Safe-Boating Protocol. They also tested a new cutting edge technology provided by Vital Circle to track contact between competitors, staff, and volunteers during the entire event. This involved providing everybody with wearable electronic trackers that keep a log of any significant contact between individuals so that, if an outbreak of COVID occurs, it can be traced and managed.
“I felt very safe. I liked using these wrist bands to keep track of our distance from others and I really liked going virtual for the skipper’s meetings and protest hearings” said Nathan Housberg who took first place in the 49erFX with Lucy Wilmot. “I think we should keep a lot of these changes long after COVID is over.”
Stu McNay and Dave Hughes took first place in the 470 with fellow US Sailing Team athletes, Carmen & Emma Cowles (Larchmont Yacht Club), trailing four points behind in second.
“The Oakcliff Triple Crown series was one of the only remaining events on the calendar and the only one we could take on in a safe manner,” said Hughes. “It was fantastic to have a regatta and we think that as a community we don’t know what the best safety regulations to host regattas really are so it is great that Oakcliff is willing to experiment and find out,” added McNay.
In the 49er, Christopher & Duncan Williford (Lauderdale Yacht Club) took the top spot by a one-point margin on Charlie Hibben and Scott Rasmussen (Barnstable Yacht Club). The 49erFX saw Housberg & Wilmot win on a tiebreaker against Clark Morris & Landon Cormie.
Many other Olympic campaigners who normally compete in this event were not able to attend due to COVID but that created an incredible opportunity for youth teams to enter and get a chance to meet and be inspired by mentor figures like Hughes, McNay, Housberg, Wilmot, and the Cowles twins.
One of Oakcliff’s high school trainees, Anna Sems, only started sailing four months ago but was able to team up with fellow Oakcliff trainee, Esteban Pedroza, in the 470 for this regatta. In the boat park after racing, she got to meet the Cowles twins and spend time getting to know them, which made a huge impact on her.
“It was kind of crazy because I saw them on the US Sailing Team web page and now I saw them in real life. I couldn’t believe they were actually talking to me but they were so nice and they even shared their meal plan with me to get more fit. It was so cool. I was expecting them to be more serious but now I see they are girls just like me,” said Sems.
Housberg, who coached Oakcliff’s High Performance camp earlier this summer, was equally as generous in his mentorship of the younger sailors in the 49er and FX, as was his crew, Wilmot.
“The top tip I would give to the younger sailors here is to work together. The fleet is really small so we all need to share our gear, share our knowledge and our logistical planning,” said Wilmot.
McNay added, “Youth teams are always welcome to train with us in Buzzard’s Bay. We have a great training environment with our coach Thomas Barrows and we would love to have more boats on a daily basis. Looking to the future, we are happy to help young teams progress who will take the baton when Dave and I step aside.”
Oakcliff has remained committed to keeping youth sailors on the water during the time of COVID when so many high school and college programs have entirely shut down. Earlier this year they teamed up with the US Performance Academy, an accredited online high school for traveling athletes, to run programming at Oakcliff. Trainees are tested for COVID and then allowed entry into the Oakcliff “bubble.” They do their school work online and the High Performance Coach, Andres Guerra, runs daily practice sessions in the 49erFX. As they progress they will incorporate training in the Nacra 17, 470, and the Waszp.
Applications are still open on a rolling basis for this semester. If you or someone you know is interested in doing high school or college online while training at Oakcliff, they can apply here. Or they can email Training Program Director, Ethan Johnson, at Training@OakcliffSailing.org
Stage 2 of the Oakcliff Triple Crown series will take place next weekend. Again, there will be a mix of top Olympic athletes and aspiring youth. If you would like to request an invitation to compete, you can visit the Oakcliff website. If you have any questions, you can email Regatta Program Director, Patrick Burks, at Regatta@OakcliffSailing.org
There will be a video recap of Stage 1 of the Oakcliff Triple Crown series posted on the Oakcliff Youtube channel. Make sure to subscribe and turn on notifications so you don’t miss it.
Oakcliff Press Contact
Lexi Pline, Media and PR Manager