By Bryce Huntoon
HYSA Youth Writier
First published in the KYC Telltales Newsletter, April 2022
In March of 2022, I journeyed to Richmond Yacht Club to participate in the 2022 Waszp America’s Championships. Two weeks before the event, I had no intention of attending. Suddenly, I was vaulted into the reality that I was going to go compete in this international event, and that I only had two weeks to train. I had only a few training sessions before I had to pack up my boat and send it to San Francisco. After a little bit of difficulty getting the boats shipped, I boarded a plane solely by myself for the first time ever. It was a little bit daunting. Luckily, the flight went as smoothly as possible and fellow KYC member Buzz Blackett was at the gate to pick me up.
Buzz, who is a well-known member of Richmond Yacht Club (RYC), invited me to race on his boat, Io, the next day in the Big Daddy pursuit race. Io is the only full carbon Antrim 27 currently in existence. This boat is also different because it is designed to be sailed shorthanded in an ocean race. Buzz plans on racing Io double-handed with John Antrim in the 2022 Pacific Cup. During the race, which took place around Angel Island and then around Alcatraz Island, we hit 17 knots hauling downwind while flogging the main the entire way. As you can imagine, the temperature difference between Kaneohe and San Francisco was quite harsh, and by the end of that day, I was thoroughly freezing.
On Monday, Pearl, JP and Gavin flew in from Florida where they were competing on the amazing 69f. The boats didn’t arrive until late that night, but we got the majority of the boat set-up done that night. The next morning, we finished setting up the boats and went sailing. Sadly, the wind was too light to foil, so we went back in. The next day was a practice day that went pretty badly for me. My wand, which communicates to the foils and tells them how high they can go, wouldn’t go all the way forward, which meant that the foils still wanted to keep going up. Luckily, we were able to fix the problem when we got in. The next day was Thursday, which was slalom day. Sadly, I missed slalom day too due to main sheet problems. The next day was the start of the actual regatta. That day was about tuning my boat and figuring out how to sail in big chop. The next day looked perfect for me. The wind was kicking pretty well, and there was minimal chop. It was just perfect. At one minute to the start, I tacked onto starboard to setup for my start. My tiller snapped in my hand. I was sad, so sad. Luckily, after I got towed in for the second time (I know, right?), I was able to grab a spare tiller and install that and get back out there for the last race of the day.
On the final day of the regatta, I was able to complete all of the races. I really felt like I knew how to sail in the conditions. But my bad luck struck again and the wind lightened up. It was really hard to keep the boat up on the foils because I had the smaller sail on because the first day was windy. This definitely hurt my results as I couldn’t get foiling when some of the others with the bigger sail could. After the regatta, we did awards. I won first in 6.9 (the smaller sail) but more importantly, JP won the entire regatta! Because of this, he qualified for SailGP Inspire. Pearl, his sister, won the woman’s class and also qualified for SailGP Inspire. As of writing this, I am currently still in San Francisco anxiously awaiting SailGP and the SailGP Inspire Grand Finale. Good luck to both Pearl and JP!
There was so much I couldn’t include in this short snapshot of my trip. I had so much fun, laughing with the team, singing on the car rides with them, and looking around the F50s. I would like to thank Buzz Blackett for letting many of us crash at his house for the entire week and for lending us a car. I would like to thank team Hawaii for showing me the ropes and helping me out whenever my boat broke down. I would like to thank my coaches, from Jesse Andrews to Patrick Wilkinson, to Blackbeard (Mike). Thank you for coaching me through the good patches and the rough patches. Last, and certainly not least, I want to thank my parents, who were there to push me into this and help me through it all. This was truly a remarkable trip where I learned a lot, met many, many cool and amazing people, and had so much fun. Thank you to all of you who made this amazing experience possible.
** After the WASZP America's Championship, the team, friends, and family headed out to the SAIL GP race in San Francisco, CA, to support JP and Pearl Lattanzi representing the USA in the SailGP INSPIRE Grand Final race, and CJ Perez who sails on the US SailGP team.