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Jobson All-Star Juniors

Watch out for these eight talented young sailors. If they’re fast now, wait until they get into the big leagues.

January 27, 2011
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Sailing World

Jobson All Stars 2011

LUCAS ADAMS Started sailing at? Age 5 First boat? JY 15 Most influential sailor? My dad Big plans? I hope to be able to compete after college. It would be amazing to be in the Olympics some day.

Junior sailing is the most vibrant element of our sport today, and, from what I’ve seen of late, there’s considerable talent here at home, which is good for the future of American sailing. But all of this talent sure makes finalizing my annual All-Star squad that much more challenging. Over the past 10 years, 94 young sailors between the ages of 13 through 17 have made my All-Star list, 38 of which have gone on to be college All-Americans. A dozen of them are now members of U.S. Sailing Team AlphaGraphics, so we’re on a roll. This year, my selection process started with more than 300 individuals, and while only eight made the final cut, there are a lot of prospects out there. For owners seeking young, eager crew, now is the time to recruit these kids. In the meantime, let’s meet our new All-Star Juniors.

Lucas Adams, 17, of Middletown, R.I., is a blooming Laser sailor, currently racing for the Portsmouth Abbey School (R.I.). In 2010, he won the New England Singlehanded Championship (Healy Trophy), was the top junior in the Gold Fleet at Laser Midwinters East, and finished seventh at the US SAILING Chubb Junior Sailing Championship (Smythe Trophy). Adams also races Vanguard 15s and 420s with his regular crew, Grace Medley. He plays hockey in the offseason and says there are parallels between the two sports: “In hockey, having strong legs and a strong core is very important, as it is with Lasers,” he says. Adams plans on racing at the collegiate level and is looking at several New England colleges.

When I asked him about his most embarrassing moment on the water, he said, “I have mark-trapped my own teammates a couple of times during [team-race] meets after confusing them for the other team.”

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Maximiliano “Mac” Agnese, 16, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., prefers high-speed sailing, specifically multihulls, 29ers, and Melges 24s. Agnese started out in Optimists at age five and has been on a roll ever since. In 2010, as crew, he placed third in the Open Multihull division at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Turkey, and, as skipper, finished third in the 29er at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship. Agnese also competed at the U.S. Multihull Championship (Hobie Alter Cup), sailed in Formula 18 catamarans, and traveled to the 29er worlds in the Bahamas, as well as the 29er Europeans. That’s an impressive amount of travel for a 16-year-old sailor. Agnese regularly crews for Antoine Screve in the 29er (Screve was a Junior All-Star in 2006), but when he’s on the helm, his crew is Timmy Zenderman. The two will sail together in 2011, when they upgrade to a 49er. “I am now of a better size to be a crew,” says Agnese. His next goal is to join a college team, most likely one in Florida.

Norman Berge, 17, of Boyne City, Mich., is an aspiring bowman with a specialty in rigging. “Norm has the passion, experience, and athletic ability to be one of the best crew in the United States,” says current ISAF vice president Dave Irish, who knows him well. Berge has already completed five races to Mackinac, crewed in two Farr 40 North American Championships, and raced on a TP52 at the Audi MedCup series. Key West Race Week, Charleston Race Week, the Verve Cup, and the Beneteau 36.7 North Americans are all on his résumé, as are Club 420 North Americans. His fast-paced career hasn’t always been smooth sailing though—he still laughs at the time he fell off a trapeze in front of a hometown crowd.

Morgan Kiss, 17, and her brother, Mitchell, 16, of Holland, Mich., are siblings with diverse accomplishments in sailing. Morgan (with crew Katia DaSilva) placed second at the 2010 International 420 World Championship. The pair also raced the International 420 North Americans and at the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. Morgan started sailing at age 10 in the Optimist and now races with her father in a Melges 20. They won the 2010 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship in Holland, Mich. When not sailing, she plays soccer, which she says has helped her with the physical aspects of sailing. “It has improved my strength,” she tells me. Morgan is planning on competing in college, and has the Olympics on her long-term wish list.

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Mitchell Kiss races a Laser Radial. In 2010, he placed second at the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship, was fifth at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, third at the Laser Radial worlds, and fourth at the Laser Radial North Americans. That’s a pretty impressive string of results. Like his sister, Mitchell started out in Optimists, and he, too, plans on a collegiate career, with plans to study engineering. He credits USSTAG head coach Kenneth Andreasson for introducing him to international competition. “Kenneth showed me that the winners of those events are not very different from me,” says Mitchell. When we spoke, he remarked that he was excited that his sister was also an All-Star, saying, “She motivates me to do my best.”

Taylor Palmer, 17, from Miami Shores, Fla., sailed with Mac Agnese at the 2010 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship. Palmer enjoys both multihull sailing and windsurfing, but has his sights set on an Olympic windsurfing campaign. Now that it appears likely that the multihull will return to the Games in 2016, he’ll have a tough choice ahead. As with our other All-Stars, Palmer started off in an Optimist; he remembers an embarrassing moment during his days sailing in the Green Fleet. At the Fall Harvest Regatta at the Miami YC, it was blowing over 20 knots, and Palmer went sailing with only one air bag. His Optimist flipped and sank, and his coach had to rescue him and retrieve the boat. Over the past year, he raced the Alter Cup in Texas, the Tradewinds Regatta in Islamorada, Fla., and put in his time offshore in the Miami to Key Largo Race. His favorite boat at the moment is the Formula 18. Next on his agenda is racing in college—somewhere in Florida.

Kate Rakelly, 17, sails out of Mission Bay YC, near San Diego. In 2010, She won the U.S. Junior Women’s Championship (Ida Lewis Trophy) and placed second in the Bemis competition at US SAILING’s Chubb U.S. Junior Sailing Championship. “Sailing is a team sport, and none of my successes would have been possible without my crew, Colleen Hackett,” she says. “In fact, our success is partly due to the fact that we are dedicated to remaining a team and improving together.” Rakelly completed a circumnavigation with her family from age six to11, and she plays the piano, to which she draws a parallel to sailing: “You practice against yourself.” Both Rakelly and Hackett hope to join top college sailing programs.

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In 2010, Erika Reineke, 16, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., placed third in the Laser Radial at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship, was the first junior at the Laser Radial Worlds, placed 19th in the Rolex Miami OCR, finished fifth at the Atlantic Coast Champships, and was sixth at the North Americans. In addition to sailing the Radial, she enjoys racing on a Moth and a Melges 32. Ever the athlete, Reineke also likes to run and bike to stay in shape, and she wakeboards whenever possible. She credits Anna Tunnicliffe and Brad Funk for helping progress her sailing. “They have not only inspired me but have also been training and pushing me to help me achieve my Olympic dream.” Her outlook on life and sailing is simple, but thoughtful: “There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.”

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