Through a window in a confeence room at the International Sailing Federation’s Annual Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, in November, I could see Optimist dinghies, Laser Radials, and International 420s racing. There were easily more than 100 boats on the water, and coach boats followed the young sailors in the rain and cold, conditions I’m sure the sailors didn’t mind whatsoever. On any given weekend, this same scene is mirrored around the world, especially in the United States, where junior sailing is thriving. Observing all the activity off Dublin’s waterfront that day, however, made me wonder how our young American sailors will someday stack up against their Irish peers. From what I’ve seen in my travels around the United States, and from scrutinizing the individual results of nearly 400 sailors in order to select my Jobson Junior All-Star finalists, I’m confident the commitment of parents, coaches, and development programs will result in young sailors that are more advanced in boatspeed and technique than ever before. I’m equally confident that these eight All-Star finalists are individuals we’ll be seeing much more of in the years ahead. Read on to meet the class of 2012.
Youth sailors (L-R) Jack Barton, Audrey Giblin, Scott Buckstaff, Hanne Weaver, Greg Martinez, Jonathan Lutz, Allyson Donahue and Malcolm Lamphere are the 2012 Jobson Junior All-Stars.
Jack Barton, 17, sails out of the San Francisco YC. He’s captain of the Sir Francis Drake High School Sailing Team, and his favorite boats to sail are the Laser and the 29er. Last summer Barton, along with younger brother Sam Barton, Corey Lynch, and Sammy Shea, won the U.S. Junior Triplehanded Championship for the Sears Cup. Barton, who also races on a Santa Cruz 37, says he’s considering attending the California Maritime Academy. “It is close to home, and it’s a great college with a phenomenal sailing team,” he says. He tells me he has a lot of respect for his crew Corey Lynch. “He pushes me hard to be the best I can be,” Barton says. Barton recently took up surfing, and says he enjoys “going out and messing around with the professionals.” That’s a good attitude for a future in sailing.
Scott Buckstaff, who recently turned 18, hails from Belvedere, Calif. He won the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship in the 29er class, alongside his crew, James Moody. During the school year Buckstaff races with the Redwood High School Sailing Team. He’s also active in San Francisco’s seasonal keelboat circuit, usually trimming the main or running the bow on various boats. This summer, however, he stepped into the afterguard of the J/90 Ragtime, and, as tactician, helped the team win the YRA of San Francisco Champion of Champions Regatta. He keeps fit for sailing by mountain biking and training for triathlons, and he credits Moody for helping him develop as a sailor. Buckstaff and Moody hope to compete for an Olympic berth in the 49er class, and fortunately they have come a long way since their first taste of skiff sailing—they capsized 100 yards from the dock on their first day sailing the 29er. When asked if he had a favorite sailing book, Buckstaff replied, “Yes, the rulebook. I always have it with me.” Buckstaff also plays the virtual online sailing game SailX, and admits that his addiction to the game often has him playing for hours at a time.
Allyson Donahue, 17, is from Brigantine, N.J. She started sailing at the Brigantine YC when she was 7 years old. Like most youngsters of her caliber, she cut her teeth in the Optimist class and now races both Club and International 420s with her regular crew, Maddie Widmeier. The pair won the U.S. Junior Women’s Doublehanded Championship and finished near the top in every event in which they sailed, including the Club 420 North Americans, the U.S. Youth Sailing Championships, and the Orange Bowl. “I am fortunate to have had the same teammate for all four years that I have raced 420s,” says Donohue, when asked how she stays at the front of the fleet. “We learned to sail the boat together and learned to be a team.” Looking ahead, she plans to race in college and credits her father for being her chief supporter for the past 11 years. When not sailing, she fuels her competitive hunger by playing on her high school’s field hockey and softball teams.
Audrey Giblin, 14, from Monmouth Beach, N.J., sails out of the Shrewsbury Sailing and YC. Giblin is enrolled in Laurel Springs, an online high school, which allows her the flexibility to narrowly focus on Optimist sailing. In 2012 she won the Opti National Girls Championship and was the top female at the Nationals. Giblin travels extensively, and this year alone she sailed in Argentina, Italy, and Bermuda. She is a member of the Long Island Sound Opti Team, and works closely with her coach, Pepe Bettini, to get the top results she’s shown of late. When I asked why she is so dedicated to sailing, she told me that sailing has given her the opportunity to do things she never would have been able to do if she’d played soccer or basketball instead. “Sailing brought me and my family closer because of the traveling we do,” she says. “I’ve made so many friends that I will probably see throughout my sailing career.”
Malcolm Lamphere, 16, of Lake Forest, Ill., sails out of the Lake Geneva YC, in Wisconsin. Lamphere started sailing at the age of 6 in Optimist Dinghies and now mostly races Laser Radials and Club 420s. He also races with his family aboard an A Scow. Over the past year in his Laser Radial, Lamphere placed third in the U.S. Youth Champs, fourth in the North Americans, first in the Buzzards Bay Regatta, and won the Cressy Trophy (high school sailing’s singlehanded championship). Last year Lamphere and his crew, Riley Legault, from Bonita Springs, Fla., won the Club 420 North Americans against 109 boats. When competing with the Lake Forest High School team, Lamphere usually races with Alex Woloshyn. He has come a long way since his first sailing experience. “I went out alone on Lake Geneva and must have swamped 20 times,” he says. “I just kept righting the boat and bailing, and going back out there.” When asked about who has been an inspiration, he says, “Buddy Melges who comes from my home club, and my brother Gordon who is on the U.S. Sailing Development Team in the Finn class.” Malcolm looks forward to an active career on the collegiate circuit.
Jonathan Lutz, 16, is from Brick, N.J., and sails out of the Metedeconk River YC. Readers of this magazine should recognize his surname—the Lutz family is well known in one-design sailing circles, especially in the multigenerational Lightning class. In 2012, young Lutz won the Lightning Junior North American Championship, and then went on to crew for his father, Jody, and his uncle, Jay, to win the Lightning NAs outright. This is the first time someone has won both regattas in the same year since 1974 (when the youth championship was established). Lutz’s crew in the Junior NAs was Reed Baldridge, of Houston, Texas, and Jonathan Pottharst, of New Orleans. Looking ahead, he hopes to one day sail in the Pan Am Games, and he’s not ruling out a run for a place on the U.S. Sailing Team. When asked about the most influential person in his career, he says, “Without a doubt, my father. I was fortunate to watch my older brother, Joe, and cousin Taylor sail over the years, which has allowed me to witness everything I need to know about sailing.”
Proving that good sailors never stop learning, he reflects on an anxious moment at the Junior NAs. “As we rounded the (leeward) mark, I nervously tried to untie a knot in the spinnaker halyard,” Lutz says. “As I struggled, we were slowly falling back in the race. After a few minutes, I was able to untie the knot, and we were able to pass enough boats to win. Now I can laugh at this moment.”
Greg Martinez, from Houston, is 19, which is technically one year too old to be considered a Jobson Junior, but given the amazing year he had as young sailor, I’ve decided to break my rules this once. Martinez only started sailing four years ago when he acquired his first boat, a Laser 4.7. Last year he raced in Kiel, Germany, and then returned home to win the Laser class at the U.S. Youth Champs. In high school he played football and was on the wrestling team. “I learned from both the importance of strength and conditioning,” he says. “This is necessary, especially in Laser sailing.”
Martinez entered Georgetown University this fall and is a member of the Hoya’s varsity sailing team. Looking ahead, he would like to represent the United States at the Olympics, and for his initial success along this long path, he acknowledges his coach, David Wright, who showed him how dedication and determination make an athlete. His most embarrassing moment was racing in the Laser Radial fleet at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Scotland early on in his career: “I sailed in the wrong fleet during my best day of racing. I have not sailed in the wrong fleet since then.” Martinez has been a member of the U.S. Sailing Development Team for the past three years.
Hanne Weaver, 17, is from Gig Harbor, Wash., and sails out of the Seattle YC and the Corinthian YC. She started sailing an Optimist at the age of 8. Today she races Laser Radials and 29ers. She usually sails singlehanded boats; in 2012 she won the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, and she did well in the Rolex Miami OCR, Laser Midwinters East, Laser Radial North Americans, and the U.S. Youth Champs. In the winter, she is an avid skier and sees parallels between the two sports. “Both sports have given me confidence,” she says. “I have learned to adjust to changing conditions in sailing and skiing.” Weaver is aiming to secure an Olympic berth for the 2016 Olympics in Rio in the Laser Radial class. She is grateful for the help from her coaches and friends in developing as a sailor, but most of all she credits her parents. She checks out the weather every day on Puget Sound so she can maximize her time on the water.
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