Melges 14: game faces ON at the midwest high performance sailing camp
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 8:44 AM
The Midwest's top junior sailors trained hard at the Midwest High Performance Sailing Camp this weekend. The US Sailing Olympic Development Program (ODP) event was sailed in Melges 14s at the Geneva Lake Sailing School. 17 athletes were selected by sailing resume to represent the region at the ODP Clinic. These midwesterners received top-notch coaching, giving them a window into their dreams of sailing at an olympic level.
"You're going to learn how to learn" was the running theme of the weekend. Sailors walked away from the clinic with a renewed excitement for sailing at an elite level, new techniques to improve their skills, and a deeper understanding of the Olympic pipeline in the United States and its accessibility to midwesterners. "In the world of high performance sailing, there will be many moments where you will not be able to do what you want to do," said Coach John Pearce. "You will fail to reach your goals. That's a fact you must accept. You need to work hard, make mistakes, and make corrections. That's how you will get to the top of your game."
Harry Melges IV won the race series with a total of 8 points after five races, followed by Chapman Petersen with 11, Jack Schweda with 15, Kyle Navin with 20, and Jack Baldwin with 25. Learn more about the athletes here: bit.ly/ODPClinicMelges14
Each day started out with a workout led by Coach Caroline Atwood, a current olympic campaigner in the 49erFX class and the program director of the 29er Skiff Squad. Atwood played a key role, sharing advice, technical support, and stories from launching and training for her own campaign. US Sailing Youth Director John Pearce brought technical smarts and a knowledge of the sport through a youth development lens. USODA National Team Coach Marek Valasek directs the Geneva Lake Sailing School and the Buddy Melges Racing Team; the sailors learned from his experience sailing the Finn at the 1996 Olympic Games. Daily drone footage and stills provided by Melges Performance Sailboats and the Melges 14 Class helped sailors visualize difficult concepts and learn from their mistakes. Olympic Medalist & successful America's Cup skipper Buddy Melges was the honorary guest at the team dinner, sharing stories and showing the students that Midwest sailors can reach the highest level of the sport.
The US Sailing Olympic Development Program forges America's path to the podium. The ODP is a long-term effort to help young sailors build a complete high-performance skill set. The ODP provides world-class training to young athletes around the country who demonstrate talent and a commitment to improve.
The Melges 14 proved to be a perfect training platform for the clinic. Sailors were ecstatic about sailing the hottest new one-design dinghy. The modern singlehanded boat won the coveted Boat of the Year seal from Sailing World Magazine in 2016 and the fleet has continued continued to grow at a rapid pace since it was first introduced two years ago. With a modern, fast design from Reichel/Pugh, the Melges 14 is built by Melges Performance Sailboats in Zenda, Wisconsin USA and sails with one or two people. The carbon mast and boom complements its flexible sail plan with three rigs. With boats in North America, Asia, Africa, and Central Pacific, the Melges 14 is emerging as a true one-design racing boat.