Meet Erika Reineke, The Best Young Female Sailor in the Land

She's beauty and she's grace.
Meet Erika Reineke, The Best Young Female Sailor in the Land Will Ricketson/US Sailing

Erika Reineke is lovely. Yes, it’s an odd way to describe someone who kills it on the racecourse, as she does in her Laser Radial these days. With unbridled enthusiasm for the sport, her presence among the Olympic sailing squad brings out the best in her teammates and friends. She also comes across as genuinely thrilled about everything in life, as one might expect of a 24-year-old college grad and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year. Reineke’s due recognition follows her selection as college sailing’s top female, and four years as an All-American at Boston College. With an environmental geoscience degree in hand, she’s now the US Sailing Team’s golden girl, with big hopes for Tokyo 2020.

What’s your secret to managing such an intense sailing schedule and keeping a flawless complexion?

I am far from perfect and I am definitely still learning as I go forward, but I think it comes down to time management while not losing sight of the important things in life. As an aspiring Olympian, all I think about is going out on the water and training to perform at my absolute best. However, sailing would become a job or a chore for me if I didn’t find time to do other things I love, like hanging out with my family and friends or meeting new people and making more relationships. As a result, I must be efficient with my time on both fronts. All of my training needs to be purposeful, with a specific goal set before I hit the water, but I also have to make time to get away from sailing and live my life. Whenever I have this balance, I am not only able to perform at my best when the time comes but I also feel at peace with the other part of myself.


What’s the story behind your Instagram handle?

My @amerikandreem Instagram handle was something I thought would embody the meaning of my Olympic campaign. The American dream is coined as a dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. I believe this is what the Olympics is all about; dreams can be achieved through hard work, determination and initiative. I just tweaked the name a little and added “erika” in there for fun.

Best-kept secret in Boston?


Of course, the first thing I think of is food. There is an amazing Asian restaurant called Little Big Diner in Newton Centre near Boston College. Their udon noodles and ramen taste like heaven.

Are you a mental blueprint kind of ­person or a “get up in the morning and see where life takes you” person?

I think I’m both. It’s great to have a plan for the next day, especially if I have a ton of things to get done, but when I have some time to relax and hang out, I love to see where the day takes me.


You’re the editor of this magazine. Who is on the cover, and what’s the headline?

John John Florence would be on the cover, and the headline would be “John John Takes Laser to Pipe.”

You never learned to sail. Describe your life today.



Do you have a hype song?

There are so many songs that get me excited to go out and work hard on the water or in the gym. It’s hard for me to pick one. Recently, I have been listening to “Feels Great” by Cheat Codes and Fetty Wap.

You can give yourself as an Opti sailor one piece of advice. What do you say to young Erika?

Live every day to the fullest, and always remember to have fun and smile.

Would you rather be able to teleport or see into the future?

Teleport, for sure. Then I would never have to get on an airplane and travel to an event again, and I could go anywhere anytime I want. Who would want to see the future? The mystery of it is the best part.

Weirdest thing you pack to travel to events?

I always make sure to pack Bananagrams to play with my training partners when we have some downtime.

Guilty pleasure?

Binge-watching The Office on Netflix. Michael Scott is the world’s best boss.

A major television network asks you and fellow U.S. Sailing Team athlete Bora Gulari to co-host an exercise TV show to hype the Tokyo Olympics. Are you down?

I am so down. Not only would Bora be the coolest guy ever to co-host with but, call me crazy, an exercise TV show would be so fun.