The Junior All-Star List Has Talent

With his annual rundown of top young talent, /SW/'s Gary Jobson encourages yacht clubs around the country to make junior sailing a priority. "Jobson Report" from our January 2008 issue

Chris Barnard368

It has been great fun watching the sailors who have made our annual Junior All-Star list excel on the racecourse. Many have gone on to be All-Americans and standouts in a wide variety of boats. The sailors on our new list will continue to grow and improve in the coming years, and all deserve our encouragement and support. The Junior All-Star list is primarily for sailors of ages 14 to17. Only one junior sailor, Paige Railey, has appeared on the list four times. This year, five of our top sailors hail from California. In fact, nearly half the sailors that have made the list since 2001 are from California. Perhaps the weather is an asset, but the long-term commitment to junior sailing is clearly paying off. I'm happy to learn that junior sailing has become an important priority at many yacht clubs throughout the United States. And at this writing, a record 365 high schools offer sailing as either a varsity sport or club activity.

Following a pattern of most of our All-Stars, Chris Barnard, 16, of Newport Beach, Calif., is a versatile sailor winning in 420s, Laser Radials, Lasers, and in both fleet and team racing. He follows the careers of other California sailors closely. "I look up to sailors like Andrew Campbell and Mikee Anderson-Mitterling, Naples Sabot sailors that have risen up to be the best in the world," says Barnard. "Also sailors like Robert Scheidt and Ben Ainslie for their ability to not just win but to dominate."

Looking toward the future, he hopes to attend an East Coast college with a strong sailing team, perhaps St. Mary's, Yale, or Georgetown. In a thoughtful moment Barnard told me, "I'd like to stand on the podium with a gold medal around my neck and listen to the Star Spangled Banner. This is my ultimate goal and why I push hard every day and put so much emotion and effort into the sport."

As a skipper he won the 420 Midwinters, was fourth in the Cressy finals, was second at the Laser Radial Midwinters, third in the 420 Youth Champs and third at the 420 North Americans. It will be fascinating to follow his results next year.

Emily Dellenbaugh, 17, of Easton, Conn., makes our list for the third time by distinguishing herself on the international stage by winning the ISAF Youth Worlds in the 29er class with crew Briana Provancha. The duo also won the 29er European Championship, the U.S. Youth Champs, the 29er Midwinters and placed third at the 29er North Americans in Kingston, Ontario.

Even with this busy schedule Emily spent a week to participate in an Outward Bound Wilderness course in Maine last summer. She and nine other teenagers lived on an open 30-foot boat for seven days, learning a lot about teamwork. "You bond with people you are working with toward a common goal," says Dellenbaugh. "I had to trust myself to do things I've never done before." The experience will help her sailing.
Dellenbaugh's aspirations include the Olympics, and she credits her father, David, with being the most helpful person with her sailing.

Jake LaDow, 14, from San Diego has won the Junior Sabot Nationals Championship two times. As a result he was invited to race in US SAILING's Championship of Champions regatta last summer and finished a respectable 11th. In addition to racing his Sabot, Jake enjoys the Club 420 and the Flying Junior. He thanks his high school coach Steve Hunt and his father for helping him excel in sailing. Like other West Coast junior sailors, LaDow hopes to sail with an East Coast university team.

Jake started sailing when he was four, with his father on an Etchells. "When I was six I was in a regatta and it was very windy," says LaDow. "I spent most of the time seasick over the side of the boat."

A year later he started sailing Sabots, and today he skippers an Etchells, crews on a Melges 24, and has even done some distance racing on a Santa Cruz 70. "I like to steer downwind in a heavy breeze, and I help with tactics," says LaDow.

And what's in LaDow's future? "At this point I really don't know. I just want to keep sailing and improving."

Caleb Paine, 16, of San Diego, had his first sail as a three-month-old infant with his parents on the family Capri 25. He started racing his own Sabot at the age of seven and has had lots of opportunity to steer on a Beneteau, Schock 40, and a Swan 60. Not many junior sailors his age have had time on the helm of big boats.

Out on the racecourse Caleb was second in B division in the Mallory Trophy, won his area's Junior Olympics, was first at the Rose Bowl, was part of the winning team at the Southern California Team Race Champs and placed second in the Smythe Trophy. Paine credits Steve Hunt, his high school coach, for his success, as well as Jana Odou, the Junior Director at Southwestern YC.

But his life is not all racing all the time. Paine, his brother, Olin, and father often cruise the California coastline and take their Hobie catamaran sailing on Huntington Lake in central California.

It hasn't always smooth sailing for Paine, however. "My worst experience in sailing was at last year's Laser Midwinter East Regatta," says Paine. "The competition was really intense and I realized how much more I need to learn about racing in different conditions."

Judge Ryan, 16, of San Diego, raced 29ers and 420s very successfully in 2007. Ryan won the 29er North Americans in a 63-boat fleet and placed fourth at the 420 Midwinters in Florida. "I like both boats because they are fast and fun," says Ryan. He gives a lot of credit to his crew Hans Henken.

He is constantly on the road, traveling to distant regattas, including events in Argentina, England, Canada, and the Netherlands. He races aboard an Etchells with his sister and his father, whom he says is the most influential person in his sailing career. "He drives me everywhere and is constantly handing me sailing articles to read and learn from," says Ryan. "My Dad has helped me so much." Ryan, in turn, coaches his sister when she steers the family Etchells.

Ryan also appreciates the coaching he has received from Boston College All-American Adam Roberts and 2008 Olympic 470 crew Graham Biehl. Both of these sailors have appeared on our Junior All-Star list. Ryan told me that he most admires Laser legends Robert Scheidt and Ben Ainslie. "They are both very accomplished and have worked hard in the sport," he says. "My goal is to go to the Olympics and win a gold."

At 15, Chris Segerblom is on a fast track as both a crew and a skipper. At the helm he won the FJ Nationals and as a crew he is consistently a major asset in many classes. Check out this list: first in the 420 Midwinters sailing with Chris Barnard, second at the U.S. Youth Multihull Champs, first in the Governor's Cup match race regatta as bowman, and a member of the winning Mallory Cup, representing Newport Harbor High School.

Segerblom told me that he gets a lot of inspiration from Roy Disney, "I admire Mr. Disney, not only for his ability as a sailor, but his passion and contribution to the sport." Segerblom helmed Disney's former boat, Pyewacket. Like most California sailors he is at home on downwind fliers, "I steered a Santa Cruz 50 in a long distance race, and whenever I'm racing I usually offer my tactical thoughts." Segerblom will certainly be in high demand in the coming years.

Ian Heausler, 16, of Tampa, Fla., excelled last summer in the Laser Radial Class. He won the U.S. Youth Champs, placed second in the Laser Radial Nationals and third in the Cressy Trophy. From the early days of his sailing career in the Optimist Green fleet Heausler can still remember repeatedly capsizing at the Opti Nationals at the age of eight. This experience, he says, has been helpful to him as an instructor at the Davis Island YC, where he motivates his charges to keep at their sailing to improve.

In addition to sailing Heausler is an avid tennis player. Clearly he enjoys the singlehanded aspect of certain sports. However, he recently started sailing a 29er with his father, who he credits with being the greatest influence on his sailing career. Interestingly, Heausler told me the people he admires most in sailing are his competitors. With this attitude, he's off to great start.