Training the Next Generation at Oakcliff’s Grade 5

Training the Next Generation at Oakcliff’s Grade 5

August 23, 2020 (OYSTER BAY, NY) – All eight Match 40s were filled with teams ranging from seasoned match racers such as July Grade 3 champion Doug Shannon to a team of  first-time match racers led by Sam Hahn.

Brendan Feeny, in just his second appearance at Oakcliff this summer, took first place while newcomer and 470 sailor, Emma Kaneti, took second. Long-time Oakcliff match racer Ward Brooks finished third. Read the full results here:

Oakcliff is not only keeping their regular community of match racers competing through the pandemic, but also introducing new sailors to the discipline. Sam Hahn has been an Oakcliff Supporter for a few years, mostly sailing offshore in the Farr 40s, but this year he pulled together a crew from his office and started training in the Match 40s during Oakcliff’s socially-distanced Open Sail Sessions. Oakcliff staff coached them from the ribs and encouraged their “quaranteam” to sign up for the August Grade 5.

“We discovered a skill set we didn’t know we had,” said Hahn. “Last weekend we learned how to do a dial up, this weekend we were doing them in the prestarts. There was a lot more pressure than just practicing so we were nervous but as we kept racing, it opened our eyes and we improved with each race we did. We also felt safe because Oakcliff has one of the best COVID protocols out there.”

Oakcliff is a training and coaching center and, before COVID, they hosted weekly Tuesday-night match race drills building a strong regional contingent of match racers. This is where third-place finisher Ward Brooks began his match race career and continues to be a launching point for introducing sailors to competitive match racing.

The Oakcliff trainee team of Lynn Benali, Wes Bright, Wynn Simmons with Skipper Taima Crean and Coach Ethan Johnson finished 4th in a three-way tie breaker for second. Shortly after their third win, they acknowledged the incredible progress from their first match race four weeks ago.

Considering this weekend’s event was the most well-attended of the season, Oakcliff’s 2021 season will include a new Grade 5 format with a clinic on Saturday and racing on Sunday. 

Oakcliff has forged a new partnership with the US Performance Academy that will allow students to safely enter the “Oakcliff Bubble”, have a social experience  and take fully accredited classes with an on-site learning coach, and continue sailing in a number of different disciplines: Match 40s for those hoping to race in the America’s Cup, High Performance for those eyeing the Olympics, and complete cross training for those that just love to sail.


Apply or learn more here

Oakcliff Press Contact: 

Lexi Pline, Media & PR Manager


T: +1 (410) 858-6946