Supporters, Staff, and Board Compete at Carlos Aguilar

Supporters, Staff, and Board Compete at Carlos Aguilar


Earlier this month, several Oakcliff sailors travelled to the Caribbean to compete in a premier match racing regatta. Here’s what Elizabeth Shaw, Training Program Director at Oakcliff, had to say afterwards:

“The Carlos Aguilar Match Race event brought together one of the most impressive line-ups of competitors that I have ever seen. Certainly the skippers on record were of an incredible caliber, combine their talents with the impressive crew lists that each skipper had pulled together, the level of competition was fierce. My goal going into this event was to apply more of what I had learned crewing in higher level match races over the past year and a half since my last event as a skipper and to soak up as much learning and knowledge as I could from the incredible teams we would be exposed to racing for the first time. The scoreline is rough to look at, but I’m glad to report; mission accomplished.”

“I was lucky to put together a great team including Oakcliff program graduates Madeline Gill on the bow and Hobie Ponting trimming main. We were fortunate to also have local pro John Holmberg trimming jib/spinnaker and high school sailor and USVI World Sailing Youth Worlds athlete Paige Clarke in the pit. Our team had never match raced together but took the approach of inches. Each race we learned. We debriefed. We asked questions of our competitors. And most of all, we kept a positive attitude on board and had a great time sailing together. The biggest and most obvious take away for a pick-up team when competing against the world’s best: PRACTICE.”

“Time in the boat and hours on the water can’t be faked across an entire series. We had some very tightly fought races against top seeded teams which was encouraging and helped to build our confidence. While our individual talents and teamwork had some great moments to shine in the pre-starts and on course, we lost leads and missed opportunities due to a lack of experience racing together. This may seem to counter my “mission accomplished” statement above, but as a coach and athlete, this opportunity was immense and I took advantage of every opportunity to speak to the other sailors, learn from our successes and mistakes as a team and will apply these lessons to Oakcliff’s programming and my own sailing moving forward. It was also great to discuss the coming changes in match racing and strategies for the future with people like Taylor Canfield, Peter Holmberg, Sally Barkow and Dave Perry who all have slightly differing views on what the landscape will be like in the next 1, 3, 5 years. Luckily these experts are friends of Oakcliff and will no doubt play a part in influencing where we will focus our efforts in future programs.”

“As we sat on the bleachers watching the final races in the incredible venue that is Charlotte Amalie Harbor, someone said to me “Match racing is incredible because sometimes you’re giving the punches and sometimes you’re taking the punches…”; we certainly took more punches than we gave, but I can say without hesitation, I have never enjoyed nor learned so much in earning 0’s on a match racing course. A huge thank you goes out to our host family Marshall and Nancy Calder in beautiful Mafolie, St. Thomas who opened their beautiful home to us, to Bill Canfield and Verian Aguilar Tuttle along with all of the countless volunteers who made this incredible event happen and of course to the team at Oakcliff for allowing us to get away from the office for a few days to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. This was one of the finest learning experiences I’ve had and I am truly grateful for the opportunity.”

Day 1 Release by Carol Bareuther, Sail World
Day 2 Release by Carol Bareuther, Sail World
Day 3 Release by Carol Bareuther, Sail World