2003 All-Jobson Juniors
America’s youth sailors continued to shine during 2003. Some of their top achievements included a Youth Worlds title, a high-school triple crown, and even a mayoral proclamation. This group of super sailors exhibited not only fine performance, but remarkable leadership and sportsmanship, too. With these rising stars taking the helm, sailing’s future is in good hands. Graham Biehl, 17, of San Diego, is the country’s most decorated junior crew. This year he won a new title–the 29er Nationals–with his brother, Cameron. His high school, Point Loma, won a triple crown in the Inter-Scholastic Sailing Association; Biehl’s contributions included a first in A division at the Mallory Trophy (fleet-racing champs) while crewing with Adam Roberts, and a shift to skipper to help win the Baker Trophy (team-racing champs). Biehl reunited with his former skipper, Mikee Anderson-Mitterling (now a college All-American), to finish first at the Snipe Junior Worlds. Biehl also crewed to first at the Club 420 Midwinters and fourth at the Youth Worlds (in International 420s). Skipper Zach Brown, 17, of San Diego, hit the crew jackpot, pairing with Graham Biehl in 2003. They were fourth at the Youth Worlds in Portugal, and Brown gives credit to Biehl: “He knows those boats so well and made everything go smoothly on the wire.” In Club 420s they finished first at the U.S. Youth Champs, and third at US SAILING’s Bemis Trophy. Brown finished third in A division at the Mallory for University of San Diego HS and second in the Radial fleet at the ISSA Singlehanded Champs. He shows promise in the Laser, but says he prefers doublehanded sailing. “I don’t like long windward legs,” he says. “There’s too much hiking involved.” Todd Hawkins, 16, of Ocean Gate, N.J., covered a lot of ground in 2003 to race Laser Radials. He won the NAs in Corpus Christi, Texas, and lost by a point to Parker Shinn at the Canadian Olympic Training Regatta in Kingston, Ontario. He also raced at the Radial Worlds in Italy. Hawkins has sailed doublehanded boats, as well, racing for Monsignor Donovan HS at the Mallory Trophy twice. Now, at 5’10” and 148 pounds, Hawkins has started to shift to the Laser and says, “the transition was a huge rush of adrenaline.” At school he plays varsity football, and in the winter enjoys iceboating when not snowboarding. In last year’s Jobson Juniors listing, we reported that Reed Johnson, 17, of Toms River, N.J., was starting a sailing team at Toms River HS South. This year, his new team finished third at the Mallory Trophy, with Johnson sixth in A division. Thanks to Johnson’s efforts, which included recruiting and training several new sailors, the mayor of Toms River presented the team with a proclamation naming them the best sailing team in town. Later in the summer, in the Laser, Johnson finished second in US SAILING’s Smythe Trophy and third at U.S. Youth Champs. In 2003, a modest travel year for Johnson, he logged 11,517 miles trekking to and from regattas. What are the odds that the tiniest pair on the 420 circuit could achieve as much success as Leigh Kempton, of Island Heights, N.J., and her crew, Kaity Storck, of Huntington, N.Y.? The two 17-year-olds weigh just under and just over 100 pounds, respectively, but they’ve got a heavyweight resume. They finished first in the Club 420 class of 50 at the NAs at CORK, where their best days came in 15- to 18-knot winds. In Club 420s they also won US SAILING’s Ida Lewis Trophy, and were third at the coed U.S. Youth Champs. At the International 420 Worlds, they finished 12th in the girls’ fleet. Kempton has been turning in excellent heavy-air finishes since her Opti days; she had the best U.S. finish at the 2001 Worlds. She now races for Monsignor Donovan HS on a team her family helped her start. Storck is a top student and track athlete at St. Anthony’s School, where she skippers in A division and is an avid ballet, tap, and jazz dancer. Kyle Kovacs, 17, of Pennington, N.J., is now a senior at the Lawrenceville School where he’s a resident assistant and is working on an independent study program on the physics of sailing. He started a sailing club last year, and 47 students signed up. By selling T-shirts and soliciting alumni donations they raised money to buy six Club Juniors. On the racecourse, Kovacs won the Smythe Trophy and finished fourth in Lasers at the U.S. Youth Champs. He and Paige Railey are the first juniors to pull a Jobson Junior three-peat, earning a place in this column three years running. Adrienne Patterson, 17, of Newport Beach, Calif., has succeeded both as a skipper and crew. This year, she’s turned in impressive finishes as a skipper at the ultra-competitive Pacific Coast ISA regattas. “One of my favorite things about sailing is that girls and guys can compete with no handicap,” she says. Other Patterson successes as a skipper include a third at the Sabot Nationals, seventh in A division at the ISSA’s Mallory Trophy, and second at the Ida Lewis Trophy. “I’ve been working hard,” she says, “but I still have a long way to go.”She crewed for Justin Law at the International 420 Worlds and hopes to both crew and skipper in college. “Somehow I pick up the tactical side of things as a crew,” she says, “and transfer that to driving.” Only 16, Paige Railey, of Clearwater, Fla., added to the bronze medal she earned in the Byte fleet at the 2002 Youth Worlds by coming home from the 2003 Laser Radial event in Portugal with a gold. She was also honored with US SAILING’s Outstanding Female Athlete of the Year Award for the second time, and became one of the youngest sailors ever nominated for Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year consideration. Since then she’s been sailing a Europe Dinghy, and stepped back from the youth circuit. “I believe in training in only one boat,” she says. Could an Olympic medal be next? A key skipper in Point Loma HS’s dominance in 2003 was Adam Roberts, 16, of San Diego. He topped A division at the Mallory Trophy and soon after helped win the Baker Trophy. He credits his coach, Rob Hallowell, and a “stepped-up training program.” Roberts prefers fleet racing to team racing. He particularly likes to sail in breeze, but seems to do better when the air is light. Like his cohorts on the Point Loma team, Roberts is a junior, making Point Loma a favorite to repeat at next spring’s championships. Another force behind the Point Loma powerhouse of 2003, Parker Shinn, 16, of San Diego, started the sailing year with a bang when he won the ISSA Cressy Trophy (singlehandeds) in the Radial fleet. He blazed ahead to finish first in B division at the Mallory Trophy and skippered in Point Loma’s victory at the Baker. Over the summer he finished 12th in the Club 420 fleet at the U.S. Youth Champs. A junior, Shinn likes to surf in his spare time, and says, “I definitely prefer dinghies to big boats because there’s more stuff going on. Because the work isn’t split up, you get to do more.” Honorable mention Ted Hale, 15, Annapolis, Md.;Charlotte Hill, 17, Miami; Evan Aras, 15, Annapolis, Md.