US Youth Champ, Olympic Contender, Young Northwest Women Sailors Rock!

Last weekend, unknown to many local sailors, a major championship was occurring at Sail Sand Point in Seattle. The US Sailing Junior Women’s Championship (Leiter Cup) was sailed in picture perfect conditions over four days. Twenty-eight young women from all over the country turned up, but it was area sailor Talia Toland that ended up on top.

Toland earned the victory, having sailed several years in Lasers on the growing and very competitive Northwest Youth Circuit. A quick look at her results over the last few years show a steady progression through the ranks. And while second place went to Kiera O’Reardon of Houston Yacht Club, third went to up-and-coming local Abbie Carlson from the Seattle Yacht Club.

The biggest winners were the Pacific Northwest racing community and Sail Sand Point. “US Sailing was skeptical that we could pull this off,” explained SSP Executive Director Mary Anne Ward. “They wanted four separate rooms for videos and a full kitchen and a few other things that we just don’t have.” But in the end, it went off without a hitch, thanks in large part to virtually perfect winds, northerlies first, followed by southerlies and then ending on northerlies. Ten races were completed.

“US Sailing is already talking to us about hosting more events,” Ward said.

The US sailing recap of the event can be read at the end of this post. More of Jan Anderson’s photos can be found here, and results can be found here.

Our Olympian Helena


Of course many of the young women sailing last weekend dream of going to the Olympics. Well, one of “ours” is there right now. Helena Scutt is crew on the 29erfx, a very high performance skiff class for women.

Helena Scutt
Helena Scutt

She and skipper Paris Henken are in Rio right now. I hope to have some tidbits from Helena to share with you, and will convey them as soon as I can. In the meantime, here is a video interview of Scutt and Henken when they secured the Olympic spot.



Talia Toland Wins U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehandeds

Published on July 31st, 2016

A fleet of 28 Laser Radials competed at the U.S. Junior Women’s Singlehanded Championship, held July 29-31 on Lake Washington in Seattle, WA. In the end, it was Washington native, Talia Toland (Kirkland, Wash.), who ran away with the title in her home state.

Toland enjoyed a three point lead over Kiera O’Reardon (Houston, Texas) through eight races entering Sunday’s final two races. With the Nancy Leiter Clagett Memorial Trophy on the line and two 50-minute races to go, Toland won her third race of the Championship in Race 9 and gained two more points on O’Reardon, who placed third.

In the 10th and final race, Toland ensured O’Reardon did not catch her in the standings by finishing three places ahead of her (14th to 17th) to win the Leiter Trophy.

“This is my third year sailing at the Leiter Trophy and it’s great to finally put it all together in my home venue,” said Toland. “It was kind of cool that we had different wind direction every day of the regatta. I stayed in the pressure and stayed pointing towards the mark and kept a cool head in the shifty conditions, which helped a lot when you patience. I had a chance to work with all the coaches, which is really great. It’s cool to see how I’ve developed from year to year at this event.”

Toland placed third at this Championship last year and sixth in 2014.

The top six boats qualified for early acceptance to the 2017 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships – a qualifier for the 2017 ISAF Youth World Championships in Israel.

Final Standings (Top 6 of 28; 10 races, 1 discard)
1. Talia Toland, Seattle Yacht Club/Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, 1-5-5-4-2-2-1-4-1-[14]- ; 25
2. Kiera O’Reardon, Houston Yacht Club, 3-2-4-1-9-6-3-3-3-[17]- ; 34
3. Abbie Carlson, Seattle Yacht Club, 9-1-2-2-1-[14]-8-9-11-5- ; 48
4. Lillian Myers, Sarasota Youth Sailing, 16-3-17-[23]-3-1-2-6-8-1- ; 57
5. Julia Sheaffer, Lakewood Yacht Club, 14-6-[21]-7-11-3-5-2-13-4- ; 65
6. Maggie Toombs, Orcas Island Yacht Club/ Sail Orcas, 5-7-6-14-6-4-4-14-9-[19]- ; 69

This Championship was preceded by two days of clinics featuring a collection the country’s top coaches. The clinics were led by Richard Feeny, US Sailing Junior National Coach.

Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He's married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.

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