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F18 Catamaran League Grants Up for Grabs

The Narragansett Bay Adult Athletic Sailing Association is now accepting applications.

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Sailboat racing
Marina Barzaghi and Kaleigh Morgan work through the gymnastics of their first Formula 18 cat season. Mattias Capizano

Founded in 2021 by a group of F18 sailors, NAASA is dedicated to growing participation in competitive high-performance sailing. The organization’s core activity is the NAASA F18 League – which is 13 days of F18 racing sailed on Narragansett Bay in the Summer. To attract as many athletes as possible, NAASA has created a scholarship program to reduce economic barriers and attract diverse athletes.

NAASA Scholarships provide fully funded F18 Catamarans for the NAASA F18 League including summer storage at Sail Newport, entry fees, and coaching. Full teams or individual athletes are encouraged to apply via SailNAASA.org.

The F18 League’s inaugural season in 2021 was a tremendous success with 10 boats consistently competing including our first scholarship boat sailed by Marina Barzaghi and Kaleigh Morgan. Before 2021, Barzaghi and Morgan were experienced dinghy sailors and athletes but had very little high-performance experience.

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“It felt like taming a wild animal,” said Barzaghi after their first regatta in June. “We had more than our share of crashes, but the support from the other sailors who offered advice or even hopped in to help us was amazing,” Morgan added.

As their season progressed and the learning curve began to flatten, their competition level rose. By the end of the season, they were frequently on the podium with confident, and determined smiles. A highlight of the season came when the rookie team sailed to an impressive 5th place overall in the demanding New England 100 event.

“Overall, we had a great first season with the scholarship program and looking forward to growing it next year,” said NAASA President Chris Bulger. “Seeing Marina and Kaleigh put in the work and advance in these challenging boats was a major highlight. This is exactly why we founded NAASA.”

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There’s a lot to be excited about for the 2022 season. The NAASA F18 League schedule – which includes both NAASA race days and other local regattas – will include the 2022 US Multihull Championships sailed at Sail Newport in F18’s. In addition, both the 2022 F18 Worlds and the famous Worrell 1000 are in Florida – suggesting interest in the F18 class will be strong.

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, NAASA will have 2 scholarship boats for the 2022 season. Sailors are encouraged to apply if they are an adult athlete with a passion to master the high-performance end of the sport. The venue for NAASA F18 League racing is Newport RI – so applicants must be able to get themselves to Sail Newport for all league events. Applicants may apply as a team or as individuals and the selection committee will match qualified compatible candidates.

The application and more information can be found at SailNAASA.org/apply. The application period is open until January 31, 2022 with interviews in February and the final winners will be announced in March.

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