In the summer of 2015 Robyn came to Oakcliff for the first time to do the College High Performance Clinic. After graduating from MIT with a degree in Mechanical & Ocean Engineering, she returned to Oakcliff for the same clinic. When it was over she didn’t leave; she stayed and pitched in wherever she could until Dawn finally asked her, “Do you just want to become a Sapling?” Without hesitation she responded with a “Yes!” and her signature bubbly smile. If you’ve met Robyn, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
At the end of the summer her hard work paid off and she was hired full-time as the High Performance Fleet Manager. Now, just a year later, she gets to take the best of both worlds and combine sailing with mechanical engineering. Bella Mente Quantum Racing (BMQR) has hired her as a part of the design team of the new foiling monohulls that will be used in the 36th America’s Cup. In March she will move to Santander, Spain, to work with world-renowned yacht designer Marcelino Botin.
“It feels absolutely stunning”, Lesh says. “The cool thing about Oakcliff is that you meet sailing celebrities all the time and sometimes you don’t even realize it. That’s what happened with Terry Hutchinson, Executive Director & Team Manager of BMQR. He found out I graduated from MIT when we met and got super excited. I gave him my contact info, two days later he emailed me and now I’m going to Spain in three months!”
During her time at Oakcliff, Robyn managed a fleet of 18 49ers and 49erFXs, 10 Nacras, and 6 Waszps, a one-design class of foiling monohulls. She trained relentlessly in the Waszp all summer and took 3rd place in the very first US Waszp Nationals. The hands-on experience she got at Oakcliff complements what she studied at MIT and will directly translate into her work at BMQR.
Robyn explains: “I will be in charge of the weight of everything on the boat. It is an instrumental job as the weight distribution of every component on the boat defines the center of gravity, which will determine the balance of the boat and whether or not it can foil stably.”
Robyn’s path through Oakcliff to the America’s Cup is just one testimony of many more to come. This new partnership with BMQR, will give more Americans the opportunity to make it to the America’s Cup.
Want to see a video of Robyn’s interview?