SAN DIEGO– Fort Lauderdale’s Sophia Reineke enjoyed a breakthrough performance the weekend of July 19 at the 2014 U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, hosted by Mission Bay Yacht Club.
Beginning with the July 18 first set of races, Reineke asserted herself on the race course and on the leaderboard early on in the championship. By posting bullets in each of the four races, she took a 12-point lead into Saturday, July 19. Reineke won two of four races on July 19 to increase her lead over the competitive field of 33 Laser Radial sailors. She entered the Sunday, July 20 racing with a 16-point advantage and cruised to victory. With two races remaining in the championship, Reineke refused to sit back for average results on Sunday. She won Race 9 to start the day and finished third in Race 10 to close out the championship. She won seven of 10 races.
Last year’s runner-up Lindsay Baab (Saratoga, California) finished in second place again this year. Simone Staff of Los Angeles, placed third.
“I didn’t have really good starts, so I needed to make sure I found the shifts,” said Reineke. “It was a little tricky, but I paid attention to the wind in the pre-race and that paid off. This event was a lot of fun and the coaches were great. There were all types of different conditions, from light to really windy.”
Reineke placed fifth in thse highly competitive women’s Laser Radial fleet at the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta last December. She has three more years of eligibility at the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship.
A nice sea breeze settled in for the sailors on July 20 including breeze at 8 to 12 knots for most of the day.
This year’s list of competitors featured a number of top returning sailors from last year’s championship and many young upstarts eager to get better. Five of the top nine sailors from last year’s championship are back.
The U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship is an open event that offers tremendous opportunities, skill development focus, and outstanding competition in a fun, safe, high-quality racing environment.
U.S. Sailing Junior National Coach Richard Feeny conducted a two-day clinic that preceded racing, with a distinguished list of high school and college coaches, including, U.S. Sailing Paralympic Coach Betsy Alison, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Head Coach Brian Swingly, St. Petersburg Yacht Club Head Racing Coach Todd Fedyszyn, former Quantum College Sailor of the Year Alana O’Reilly, and U.S. Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider member Allie Blecher (also a former College Sailor of the Year). These clinics familiarized the competitors with the local conditions and race course. Coaches were on site providing instruction and guidance to the sailors for all three days of the championship.
The top three boats qualified for early acceptance to the 2015 U.S. Youth Championships, hosted by Eastern Yacht Club (Mass.), which is a qualifier for the 2015 ISAF Youth World Championships, provided they meet the eligibility criteria and submit an application. Prizes included U.S. Sailing Championship medals, the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy and more.
Unofficial Top 5 Through 8 Races
1. Sophia Reineke: 1-1-1-1--1-2-1-1-3- ; 12
2. Lindsey Baab: -3-4-3-2-2-6-4-3-5- ; 32
3. Simone Staff: 7-5-2-[33/DNF]-1-3-1-5-2-10- ; 36
4. Claire Havig: 3-6-7-5-16-6-11-2-9-- ; 65
5. Jessica McJones: 5-4-9--7-12-5-3-7-15- ; 67