Junior program is toast of the coast

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club will be honoured for their junior program on Saturday

Wednesday January 23rd 2008, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United Kingdom
Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's junior sailing program will be honored Saturday night in San Diego for its recent growth to a high level of achievements in 2007.

The Garrett Horder Memorial Trophy will be awarded to program director Brad Schaupeter and other club officials by the Pacific Coast Yachting Association during the organization's annual meeting at the Silver Gate Yacht Club.

The annual award was established by the family of Horder, a 1936 Star class world champion from Washington state who was commodore of the PCYA in 1976. The award is a Currier and Ives painting of the sail/steam vessel San Francisco that hangs above the mantel at the St. Francis Yacht Club. It has Brad Schaupeter engraved plaques with the names of the annual awardees listed. The award remains at the StFYC and the annual award winner is given a take-home plaque.

ABYC succeeds King Harbor YC of Redondo Beach as the winner of the award, whose Deed of Gift is dedicated to "the quality and improvement of boating education." Also considered for the 2007 distinction were the junior programs of Long Beach YC, ABYC's neighbor across the bay; Mission Bay YC of San Diego and Corinthian YC of Seattle.

ABYC Commodore Glenn Selvin said, "The credit for this award goes to Brad and the other hard-working people who have lifted our junior program to a level of pride. Our club has always been dedicated to sailors with a strong involvement and volunteer ethic, and now we have the younger generation fully involved in that attitude."

When Schaupeter arrived in 2003 after two years at the Detroit YC, the ABYC fall junior program had 14 students sailing only Naples Sabots. Through 2007 the program grew to 117 students sailing 96 Sabots, 21 Laser Radials and most recently eight doublehanded Club 420 dinghies.

Schaupeter, 28, said, "Though the racing results [at Detroit] were the highest ever seen at DYC, students became burnt out and we lost several to this. It taught me an important lesson [that] results should never be the focal point of what a junior program is trying to achieve. It should be the result of a student loving sailing.

"As any of my coaching staff, parents or students of the ABYC program could tell you, we focus on (in this order) Safety, Fun and Skills. The sailors are excited and having fun and consequently their skills have improved immensely. Our sailors are now staying through their 18th year."

ABYC's junior program board of directors (from left) Max Clemmer, A.J. Robinson, Sydney Bolger, Laura Newton, Alex Vaught, Cameron Summers

The program also offers scholarships to children of non-members who otherwise might not have the opportunity to participate.

Full and part-time coaches have included Chuck Ullman, Alex Uniack, Billy Lopez-Segura of Argentina, Lauren Padilla and Conor Byrne and Katie Hamilton of Ireland.

ABYC has instituted a strong support program of parental involvement to build and fund the operations.

"The budget is not a large one compared to most yacht clubs, so our program depends on it," Schaupeter said.

"Additionally, there are always a few sailors that have excelled beyond the norm, and for us that is Sydney Bolger and Cameron Summers. Cameron qualified for the Smythe National championship and finished seventh. Sydney finished first among 88 420 dinghies at last month's Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami and second in the 420 Nationals."

And there are other sources of pride.

"In 2006 and 2007, Elle Merrill said thank you to the race committee after every race she sailed," Schaupeter said. "One of the race committees felt it a good idea to mention her and thank her for recognizing the volunteer efforts they put in. The result was astounding as a large amount of sailors were noted saying thank you from that point forward."

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