JOBS ON REPORT
These eight talented sailors stand out from the thousands of juniors who are competing at a much higher level than our past Junior All-stars. American sailing’s future is in good hands.
What do these eight Jobson Junior All-stars have in common? Results, and the drive to succeed.
O Since compiling my annual Jobson Junior All-star lists since 2001, I’ve been combing through results of hundreds of junior championship regattas and speaking with parents, coaches and young sailors about their astounding performances. The All-stars from that first class are now in their 30s, and many who followed have gone on to become collegiate champions, world champions, America’s Cup sailors, Olympic medalists, and Rolex yachtsmen and yachtswomen of the year. A few names you should recognize include Andrew Campbell, Paige and Zach Railey, Briana Provancha, Caleb Paine, Charlie Buckingham, Clay Johnson, Stephanie Roble and Molly Carapiet. As I have with my All-star finalists in the past, I’ve discovered a common thread with this year’s class: They each have a strong desire to excel, appreciate the support of their parents, and work closely with coaches to improve their skills.
Stephen Baker, 13, of Coconut Grove, Florida, was the first to cross my radar thanks to recommendations from professional sailors Steve Benjamin and Mike Toppa. This superstar Optimist sailor is only in the eighth grade at Ransom Everglades School and has been sailing for only four years. Baker won the 35th Lake Garda Optimist Meeting in April 2017 against 770 boats, and at the Optimist World Championship in Thailand, in July, he finished fourth of 281 boats.
“I wish I had been a bit more aggressive on the first days,” says Baker, who also defended his Optimist North American title in Canada. And if that isn’t enough to impress, he won the 2017 U.S. Optimist Nationals, topping 307 competitors.
When not sailing, he plays golf and is on a club swimming team.
“Golf and sailing both test my patience and focus,” he says. “You have to take one race at a time, like one hole at a time. Swimming prepares me physically and mentally for the long hours on the water.”
Chase Carraway, 17, of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, started sailing Optimists at the age of 6 and now races a Laser Radial. In 2017, Carraway won the Radial Laser Nationals and the Cressy Trophy (Interscholastic Sailing Association Singlehanded Championship) and placed fifth at the U.S. Youth Champs in the Radial. When Carraway is not racing with the Cape Fear sailing team, he travels to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to practice on many weekends. Carraway hopes to be accepted to Hobart and William Smith Colleges to join its sailing team before considering an Olympic campaign after college.
When asked if he ever had an embarrassing moment in sailing, he recalls an incident at an Optimist regatta several years ago, one he’d perhaps soon rather forget. “We were being towed through a sewage spill on Long Island Sound,” he says, “and somehow I capsized when the coach let go of my tow rope. I was in my drysuit, but I still needed to be completely cleaned up.”
Carmen and Emma Cowles, 17, Larchmont, New York, are twin sisters who race for the Mamaroneck High School sailing team. They both started sailing at the age of 9 in Optimists. Today they race the International 420, Interclubs and occasionally Flying Juniors. Emma and Carmen both spend time as skipper and crew. They won the 2016 International 420 Nationals at the Orange Bowl and placed third at the International 420 North Americans. Both sailors are considering graduating to either the International 470 or 49erfx in the near future. They credit their Optimist coach, Pepe Bettini and, more recently, their coach Steve Keen for rapid improvements in recent years. While it’s yet to be determined whether they’ll attend the same college, they do share a common desire to attend a school that is highly competitive academically and with a strong varsity sailing program.
“Sailing has given me the opportunity to learn critical life lessons such as dealing with stress, performing under pressure and learning to be successful,” says Emma. Carmen adds, “Being confident with who and where you are as a sailor is crucial to becoming a successful athlete.” Studious as well, they recently read Wind Strategy by David Houghton and Fiona Campbell, and the book gave them a better understanding of wind.
Cameron Feves, 17, of Long Beach, California, started sailing as a 1-year-old, riding along with his father on the family Olson 30 in Southern California. Four years later, Feves was skippering a Lido 14. This past summer, along with his teammates Tristan Richmond and Brock Paquin, Feves won the Sears Cup in Flying Scots on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. The trio won five of 10 races. In addition to racing FJS, 420s and Lasers, Feves enjoys the J/22 and plans to race with his Sears Cup crew in the J/22 World Championships in Annapolis in 2018. He has also raced Nacra 15s and 17s with Nico Martin.
Feves gleans sailing information from the online resource portal of the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association every day. “I find it to be my biggest resource for organizing my time,” says Feves, who placed third in the Laser Midwinters West and seventh in the U.S. Sailing Singlehanded