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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
US and foreign sailing teams are streaming into Miami. Everyday, more boats arrive at the US Sailing Center. Masts are stepped, shrouds are adjusted and rigs are tuned. At some point during the first day, the T shirts come off and the sailors start to work on their tans. The Australians, the South Americans and the South Africans have a base, but the Europeans look as if they have spent a lot of time indoors this winter. On the second or third day, teams launch their keelboats and keep their fingers crossed hoping that everything works and they havenít forgotten to put their battens in their sails. While a few of the aspiring Olympians admit to having been skiing, most are playing it safe and not risking injuries so close to world championships and regattas that count for either qualifying their countries for the Olympics, qualifying for their Olympic teams or qualifying for more funding. Between cardio, core and strength training; eating; sailing and going through debriefing sessions, their days are full, and they wouldnít have it any other way.
Everybody is looking forward to the sailing season in Miami and everyone has a story to tell about their quest for the Olympics. As we approach the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and the Star Worlds, Lynn Fitzpatrick will be profiling some of sailingís familiar and unfamiliar personalities and teams so that we can follow them this season and during the run up to the Olympics and beyond. Sheís not likely to run out of material because sailors of all kinds head to Florida and the Caribbean during the winter for at least one regatta in warm waters and under sunny skies.
The first inspirational profile on Star sailor John Manderson follows.
If you want to see a changed man, catch up with John Manderson. Almost overnight heís been transformed into a guy who is grinning from ear to ear. John is on sabbatical. Call his office number and the message says that heíll be away from the December through May. As for his residence in New Jersey, itís locked up tightly and the neighbors are keeping an eye on it. His car? ďI donít need it here. Itís up north.Ē John is a marine biologist with a PhD turned full-time Star sailor for the next four months.
|John Manderson |
Like most of the other Star, Yngling, Laser and Laser Radial sailors who have come to Miami to train for upcoming Grade 1 events, John has rented an apartment for the sailing season and he gets around town on his bicycle. Unlike many of the other sailors, nothing is on the line for him. Competing in the Olympics means nothing to him. All he wants to do is learn how to sail a Star over the next five months.
ďIím a marine biologist sailing for joy against the best sailors in the world,Ē said Manderson over a glass of red wine. He doesnít have the strict regimen that a lot of the sailors on the circuit have, but sailing for ten or twelve days in a row has helped to tone the weekend warrior and put him in a great frame of mind. Manderson hasnít totally put his profession behind him. In fact, he does research in the morning and is working on a project with the University of Miamiís Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, a campus that he can see every time he points his Star toward the northeast on Miamiís Biscayne Bay.
My predictions are that this Snipe skipper known for his heavy air prowess will figure out the Star. His sabbatical may come to an end at the Star Western Hemispheres in Geneva, New York this May, but heíll shine as a weekend warrior in District 1 events this summer and there will always be a twinkle in his eye when he reflects on his winter in Miami.
Journalist Lynn Fitzpatrick:
Lynnís sailing journalism career started when she was Regatta Chairperson of the 2006 Snipe Western Hemisphere & Orient Championship, the largest regatta in the eventís 56-year history. The regatta was a finalist for the St. Petersburg Trophy, awarded by US Sailing for the best regatta in the United States during the year. Lynnís sailing articles, columns and event coverage have appeared in North American and international publications such as Seahorse International Sailing Magazine, BoatInternational USA, Cruising World, Sailing, Star Lights, Sailing Scuttlebutt, Scuttlebutt Europe, Sail-World and numerous other sailing-related websites.
|Lynn Fitzpatrick |
She provided extensive coverage of the Star class during the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal, on behalf of the class. As the only non-Chinese member of the Sailing Committee of the ďGood Luck BeijingĒ Olympic Test Regatta in Qingdao, China in August 2007, she provided daily previews and recaps of all 11 Olympic Classes to the organizers for distribution to media throughout the world. She was also the primary written journalist covering the Monsoon Cup, the grand finale of the 2006-07 World Match Racing Tour. The regatta was held in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. Lynn capped off the year as one of two American journalists at the 21st Annual Kingís Cup in Phuket, Thailand, the largest regatta in Asia. She is a member of the Miami-Dade County Olympic Development Committee.
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