Updated: Apr 5
by Jaxon Hottinger
This March I had the pleasure of attending the CISA clinic in Long Beach, CA hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club. Four Hawaii youth sailors were selected to attend the ILCA advanced racing clinic, myself, Micheal Kai Hochart, Noelani Velasco, and William Bagley. CISA – California International Sailing Association clinic has been teaching the nation’s best youth sailors how to do it better since 1978.
To prepare for this clinic, my KYC teammates and I trained weekly with Coaches Steve Hochart, Jesse Andrews, and Bastian Rasse. We also attended local Hawaii Laser Association and Hawaii Youth Sailing Association Regattas.
The Advanced Racing Clinic was a three-day clinic consisting of lectures and on-the-water drills with an emphasis on tactics, boat speed, and strategy. The first two days we experienced 50-degree temps, and drizzling rain, with light and shifty conditions which proved to be a challenging environment for myself and the Hawaii crew.
We were coached by Steve Mitchell, World Champion 5X Olympic sailor, and coach. He specializes in Advanced Laser Coaching. He was able to fine-tune our sail set-up in ways that I could not have imagined, which helped us with our boat speed going into the next two days. His debriefs focused on boat speed, boat handling, tactics, and better ways to tune. Maru Urban coached the Rio Olympics, and he helped us with our mental game, “Hike ‘til you die!" He pushed our boat speed and was an incredible motivator!
On the water, we also worked on our starts with Coaches Rosie Chapman, a High-Performance Sailing Coach who coached two teams to Gold at the Youth Worlds; and coach Charlotte Rose who is currently campaigning for the 2024 Olympics in the ILCA. On the third and final day of the clinic, we had the kind of weather we had been waiting for, strong winds, big swell, and chop! These conditions made for some tight and intense racing with the fleet of 30 ILCA radials all packed together.
The 2023 CISA clinic was one of the most challenging experiences in sailing that I have had. I am very happy with how much I was able to take away from this experience. I am very grateful for all of the coaches at the clinic who poured their passion and knowledge into us. I am also thankful for my parents who support my passion as well as my KYC coaches and teammates who keep sailing fun! Lastly, I would like to thank Hawaii Sailing Foundation for their continued support for the many Hawaii youth sailors that travel to the Mainland to expand their knowledge and skill.
(Photo credits to KYC team parents and the event photos from @Salty_Brother)