In 2015 I faced a crossroads: whether to continue my own Olympic campaign in the 49er, or to focus my energy into coaching full time. For me, it was a question of money as much as anything. While our competitors could send one boat to Europe for the spring season, one to Argentina for the Worlds, and keep one in the US to train in, we could barely scrape together the funds to attend the worlds in Spain. This made it impossible to get the experience we needed racing against other boats.
I decided to pursue coaching full time to try to change the paradigm, to ensure that those who came after me wouldn’t be faced with the same decision.
As we scale the Olympic pipeline up, costs are going to drop, but we need to ease the costs for today’s athletes.
In junior sailing right now, we have a critical mass of teams which creates economies of scale to make the experience affordable for everyone, but in the Olympic world, teams need more attention and they are working with coaches so many more days of the year - the costs for athletes really jump tremendously. As we scale the Olympic pipeline up, and develop more connections between Junior sailing and Olympic sailing, some of these costs are going to drop, but to get to that place, we need to help ease the costs of coaching for today’s athletes, so that it’s easier for teams to make the dive into the Olympic classes. Rather than fundraising for coaching so that we can say, “our program is free”, we believe that the right message is to price the program at the true costs, but offer grant money to help teams who need support paying for coaching.
We’d love to talk to you about how we Hope to achieve the biggest impact.
Right now we are building our scholarship fund specifically to offer scholarship assistance for teams to attend our domestic training efforts, where we’ll be able to work with the most US teams. These camps will bring together top Olympic hopefuls and younger athletes with sights set on longer term goals. In 2019, the scholarship fund will focus on Olympic classes, subsidizing summer training on the west coast, as well as some travel events later in the summer. As the program develops, we plan to eventually support US athletes during most major school holidays throughout the year. We’ve put a tremendous amount of though into how to optimizing scholarship funds, and for those who are interested, we’d love to talk to you about how we hope to achieve the biggest impact.
We hope that by having this scholarship fund, we’ll be able to subsidize the costs of domestic training, to make it easier for teams to get on the water with our Olympic hopefuls:
In 2016, Skiff Squad sailors came out in Coronado Bay to help Paris and Anna train for two weeks before heading to Rio for the Olympics.
In summer of 2018, 29er Fleet Alums came back to support Kate Shaner, Charlotte Mack, Paris Henken and Anna Tobias, and to get their toes wet in the big skiffs. Hopefully we’ll see many of them on the water again this summer!