American Development Program Payoff in Auckland

US Sailing's 13-member 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship Team secured three medals at the world's premier youth regatta.

US sailing Team Sperry Youth Worlds

2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championship

420 gold medalists Wiley Rogers (Houston, Texas) and Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) compete at the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand. The pair went on to win gold in their class.Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

US Sailing's 13-member 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship Team (YWT) secured three medals at the world's premier youth regatta, including gold in the boy's 420, silver in the Nacra 15 open multihull, and bronze in the boy's Laser Radial. The team's performance in Auckland is the first three-medal performance for the United States since 2011, when Americans claimed a trio of silver medals in Zadar, Croatia. 380 sailors from 65 nations competed in nine classes at the 2016 regatta, the 46th edition of the event.

“Our performance here was due to a combination of a lot of factors,” said Leandro Spina, US Sailing's Olympic Development Director and Team Leader for the event. “This happened because a whole community came together to support our athletes. The Olympic Development Program (ODP) supports everyone who works hard to improve, and the goal is to build a foundation for the future. At the very end of this event we followed the advice of Malcolm Page, our new U.S. Olympic sailing chief, and approached the last races like we did the first."

2016 Youth Sailing World Championship

2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championship

The International 420 podium at the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship. USA's Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin won gold, Israel's Ido Bilik and Ofek Shalgi won silver, and Argentina's Fausto Peralta and Martion Verdi won bronze.Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

In the Boy's 420, Wiley Rogers and Jack Parkin successfully defended the championship won by fellow Americans Will Logue and Bram Brakman at the 2015 Youth Worlds, and credited a competitive and collaborative U.S. 420 community for their success. "We wanted to keep the gold medal in our country, and hold up that legacy," said Rogers, who with Parkin missed Youth Worlds Team selection by a single point at last year's qualifier, the U.S. Youth Championship.

"Ever since last year we've been focused on this. It was the first thing on our bucket list, and this result represents a full year of many hours of work. You can also see that the class has come a long way in the U.S. We've all been going at it and pushing each other to the top of the world," said Rogers. Parkin noted that adaptability was the key to success this week in Auckland. "We had good speed through all conditions, and managed to grind back in a few tough situations to save our event."

The open Nacra 15 multihull class was a new addition to the Youth Worlds for 2016, and is closely related to the Nacra 17 Olympic catamaran. Americans Romain Screve and Ian Brill, formerly top competitors in the 29er class, made a rapid but successful transition to the multihull prior to the 2016 Youth Worlds. "We didn't come in with a lot of experience," said Screve, who was a member of the 2015 YWT in the 29er.

"We hopped in the boat in October, and it was our first time in a cat. We had a steep learning curve, and I think the biggest thing was getting up to speed. We were not fast in the beginning, but our ODP coaches, especially Leandro Spina, Willie McBride and Raul Lopez helped us so much. The second thing that allowed us to perform here was using our tactical skills from the 29er fleet. It seems like there are a lot of cat sailors at this level who haven't done much larger fleet racing. Our knowledge there was an advantage."

Laser Radial athlete Carrson Pearce relied on tactical consistency to get on the podium, and secured bronze with only one race result worse than 12th in the 57-boat fleet. "I was a little bit nervous going into the final race," said Pearce. "I was tied for 4th with the Spanish competitor, so I had to keep my eye on him. I wanted to just get a good start. After that, I stayed on top of the fleet as best I could."

2016 Youth Sailing World Championship

2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championship

USA's Carrson Pearce, who won bronze in the boy's Laser Radial at the 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship in Auckland.Pedro Martinez/Sailing Energy/World Sailing

Coming an agonizing two points shy of the podium after a standout week of racing was the American Girl's 420 team of Kathryn Hall and Ashton Borcherding.The pair won the opening race of the event and led after the first day, and continued to compete close to the front of the fleet for the remainder of the event. Despite a strong 5th place finish in the final race, Hall and Borcherding finished in 4th overall.

For the medalists, this result will always stand out as a special moment. "I don't think it's set in yet," said Screve, whose brother Antoine Screve medaled at the Youth Worlds in 2010. "I feel disbelief and am really excited. We'll remember this for the rest of our lives." Pearce agreed, and noted that the strong result was a full-squad effort. "I'm so excited for my teammates, and it was a really awesome regatta. We were all more confident in each other than we were in ourselves, and it had an impact on the results."

"I'm just as proud of our whole team as I am of the medalists," said Spina, who has now helped oversee 12 medal-winning performances for the U.S. at the Youth Worlds since 2010. "The way they approached the event was fantastic. We managed distractions very well this week, and our sailors stayed focused on their jobs each day. I was just honored to be here to witness it."

Final Results:

1st overall, International 420: Wiley Rogers (Houston, Texas) and Jack Parkin (Riverside, Conn.) 2nd overall, Nacra 15: Romain Screve (Kentfield, Calif.) and Ian Brill (San Diego, Calif.) 3rd overall, Laser Radial Boys: Carrson Pearce (Manahawkin, N.J.) 4th overall, International 420 (girl’s two person dinghy): Kathryn Hall (Haverford, Penn.) and Ashton Borcherding (Greenwich, Conn.) 15th overall, Laser Radial Girls: Sophia Reineke (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 14th overall, 29er: Ryan Ratliffe (San Diego, Calif.) and Sam Merson (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) 16th overall, RS:X: Geronimo Nores (Miami Beach, Fla.) 22nd overall, 29er: Louisa Nordstrom (Osprey, Fla.) and Catherine Mollerus (Larchmont, N.Y.)

Nations Trophy: 6th

More information about the 2016 Youth Worlds, visit the event website.