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U.S. SailGP Team debuts Foiling First: Coaches Clinic to accelerate foiling education

25 JULY 2022News

To help kick off a summer of foiling fun for youth sailors around the country, the U.S. SailGP Team hosted a successful Foiling First: Coaches Clinic in late May. Youth coaches from Foiling First partner organizations: Bristol Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Jackson Park Yacht Club (Chicago), and the Santa Monica Wind Jammers Yacht Club spent a weekend learning on and off the water, thanks to the U.S. SailGP Team athletes Cooper Dressler, Daniela Moroz and Anna Weis, and the team’s #RacefortheFuture partner RISE.

The weekend included a great mix of on-water individual coaching by Anna, Cooper and Daniela, group participation in the RISE Coaches Leadership Series, and more than a bit of fun with an opening BBQ and pizza party.

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For Phoebe Norwood, representing the Santa Monica Wind Jammers Yacht Club in California, it was a weekend of firsts. Not only did she experience foiling for the first time, she got to meet and spend time with Anna Weis, one of her idols, getting great coaching tips from her to improve Norwood’s coaching knowledge this summer.

“I loved the weekend,” Norwood said, who kicked off her summer coaching job at the Foiling First clinic, having flown in straight from her home in Ireland to attend. “It was so cool to come into such a welcoming environment. It was my first time even being close to a foiling boat, much less getting a chance to fly. Now that I know the basics I can keep improving, which means I can help get the kids quickly up to speed because it’s so fresh in my mind having just learned it myself.”

Luke Arakelian from Bristol Yacht Club agreed. “Everything about this weekend was really cool. I’ll be remembering all the cues and advice these elite sailors told me so I can better coach the kids this summer."

The sailors experienced the gamut of wind conditions, from a windy first day to light air on Sunday. The bigger breeze on day one was perfect for the coaches like Arakelian to easily pop up on the foils. “But while it was easier to get up,” he said. “The tricky part was staying flying. Foiling feels like nothing I’ve ever done in a boat so it’s super fun and unique.”

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The breeze turned light on Sunday, which taught Chicago Yacht Club Coach Hector Gusman a few additional tricks he plans to take back to his junior sailors. “We learned a lot about how to sail the boat in displacement mode and really get a feel for its capabilities and it was still a lot of fun.

“This weekend had everything – learning, doing, and observing – it was a great 3 in 1. The leadership workshop was a great addition so we can also be better coaches. Taking back our fresh experiences with learning how to foil will make us more empathetic to our new sailors and what they are feeling. It will help us translate and help their sailing and what they’re feeling and need to adjust.”

Interested in joining Foiling First? Season 3 applications to host a Learn to Foil Camp and join our Partnership Program are being accepted now for bringing the joy and fun of foiling to your yacht club and sailing organization. U.S. SailGP Team athletes will come onsite to coach the camp, teaching both the youth sailors and their coaches foiling basics all in a fun and safe environment. Visit www.FoilingFirst.com to learn more.