The Seattle Sailing Foundation has done a lot to expand youth sailing and racing in the Northwest, but they have identified that there is a need to connect dinghy sailing/racing to keelboat sailing/racing. Many boat owners would welcome youth on their boat, but even the most experienced youth would prefer to sail with other kids, not with a boatful of adults. So Bob Ross, owner of the Seattle Sailing Club, stepped forward and offered the Youth Racing Team at Corinthian Yacht Club (CYC) the use of a J105, Puff, to use for the first Monday night Ballard Cup Series put on by the Sloop Tavern YC.
These kids are experienced dinghy racers and some have been on a keelboat, but they had never raced one before. Some were intimidated, but all were excited. The goal of Al Hughes and Shauna Walgren, their coaches, was to have the kids learn to do everything, including helming, focus on team building and have fun.
Most of these kids had started sailing in Optis and graduated to 2-person dinghies, FJs (Flying Juniors) and V15s (Vanguard 15s). They were used to racing, jockeying for a good start, and understanding the course. The basic explanation given to them by head coach Al Hughes “the J105 is basically an oversized Vanguard, you know how to sail it. We’re just adding winches and a spinnaker into the mix.” Erik, a freshman at Ballard was the main helmsman. Erik appreciated the opportunity to learn about sail trim, boat speed, currents, winds, and starting tactics, "this was a valuable experience for my sailing career!” Felix our youngest member at 12, kept encouraging the team to beat his dad who was sailing on another boat, and they did!