Casey Klingler was born with sailing in her DNA. Not only are both of her parent’s avid sailors, her dad is a world class sail designer. Needless to say, Casey was on the water at an early age and by 11, her love for racing had started to grow. After the local Opti racing team and international regattas, the next step was obvious and she recently completed her first collegiate season at Yale University, winning the ISCA Women’s National Championship.
Her dad – Quantum’s Kerry Klinger – took some time off this past year to watch her compete. As a father and sailor, he was proud and impressed by her growth.
“It’s always good to see your child succeed and do well,” he said. “Watching her race at nationals was really fun for me, realizing how well she was sailing the boat.
“The Yale team is well-coached and they work hard to get the most out of their sailors. You couldn’t have a better scenario as far as a racing team is concerned. She’s learning and growing and getting the things she needs to become a better sailor.”
Casey recently spoke with Quantum about how she improved last year and how she would encourage the next class of collegiate sailors.
You grew up with parents who sail, but why did you start racing? When I was 11, I decided to try a weekend practice and kept doing it for a while. Eventually I liked the feeling – it felt like I was good at something, and I wanted to pursue it further than just sailing in the summer. I joined the Long Island Sound Opti Racing Team, traveling with them during the winter, which led to traveling with them during the summer. That led to team trials, which led to international regattas.
What attracted you to the Yale University sailing team? I had two main priorities – strong academics in combination with a strong sailing team. Of the schools I looked at, the Yale team was a good fit personality wise, and I really loved the campus.
How was your first collegiate season? It was really cool. I was coming from high school sailing, where I was one of the best, to an experience where I wasn’t. I learned a lot from being around people who were so much better than me. The growth in my sailing ability was pretty huge this year. Plus, getting to know my teammates is what made it a fun and rewarding experience.
What was your favorite part of the season? One of my favorite things was getting to the end of the spring season and doing regattas. It was cool to see how far I’d come at the end of the season, especially seeing how far my crew Isabelle and I came.
What was the most difficult part of the season? The end of the fall season. That season was so long that it was hard to stay in it mentally, especially as it got colder. Wanting to go sailing was a challenge, so I worked on keeping focused and motived.
What surprised you the most? I wasn’t used to being at practice and regattas with that high level of competition all the time. It was a great experience to be constantly surrounded by people who are really good at what they do and really love doing it.
You and your crew finished fifth in your division at the ISCA Women’s National Championship this year – what did you do well that weekend? What was your biggest struggle? We were really good at being conservative and having consistently good starts. The wind wasn’t super shifty, so the big thing was paying attention to what the current was doing and making sure you stayed with the fleet, not sailing off to another side.
Sailing 420s, our struggle was that a lot of other teams had had bigger crews. We were too small. When it got really breezy, we struggled with speed. The breeze was less of a struggle in FJs.
If you could, is there anything you’d like to do over or do differently? Nothing! It was a great season. I’m happy overall.
What kind of advice would you give to next year’s freshmen? Watch. Your best resource on a college sailing team is your teammates and the people around you. Watch what other people do, ask them about it, and try to replicate it in your own boat. Learning from other people is what I most benefited from this year.
Quantum wishes Casey all the best and we’re excited to continue following her sailing career!