Thirteen year-old Miami, Florida native Julia Johansson is a sailing legacy. She started sailing two years ago after watching her brother sail with Team USA in Palamos, Spain. It looked like fun so she gave it a try. Two years later she’s making waves in the Opti world, winning regettas with no plans to let up.
When did you start racing? Why?
I started sailing when I was eleven, and I immediately started racing in Green Fleet. My first regatta was River Romp. I had never sailed before, and I won! After that, I kept competing in Green Fleet regattas until the Orange Bowl. I won, then moved to Championship Fleet and continued racing in regattas.
Where and how do you train?
I train at the Coral Reef Yacht Club. Lior Lavie is my coach. We usually workout in the morning. We meet and go out on the water and do different drills and practices races.
What’s your favorite part of racing?
That's hard to say. I love everything about racing because it’s always a challenge and I am always thinking about what to do next.
What’s the hardest part of racing?
When conditions get really heavy it’s hard to keep a flat dry boat, but I'm working on it! Also, it’s a challenge for me to stay energized and at my best throughout a long day of racing.
What was your biggest failure? What did you learn from that experience?
My biggest failure was at a regatta after I had just come out of green fleet into the championship fleet. It was not as easy, and I was not doing very well in the races. It was probably the last race of the regatta, and I was in last. I gave up, I just stopped trying. My gap from the fleet got bigger and there were only a few boats behind me. I finished the race and went straight in.
When it was awards time, I watched all my teammates and cheered for them. When they called up first place I thought to myself, that person NEVER gave up because he would not have won if he did.
My coach was very mad and he told me to never give up, and I have sailed that way ever since, trying my best until the end. Whenever I come in, I feel good, like I did everything I could to end up where I did.
What’s been your greatest success? What did you learn from that experience?
On the last day of racing at team trials 2014, it got pretty windy and the water really started to pile up in my boat. By the time I rounded the windward mark, I was in tenth to last. As I started to bail, I butted myself to second to last, but I did not give up. I just kept sailing and kept bailing, and I gained many boats. When the results came, I made North Americans by one point. I reflect back on that race and tell myself to never give up, no matter what.
What are your sailing strengths?
My strengths are sailing in light air and shifty wind because I can stay focused on the race course and the wind while many people start to goof off.
When did you start using Quantum® sails? Why?
I began using Quantum’s XR-1 black just before team trials in 2014. Many of my teammates were sailing fast with that sail, so I tried it and I loved it.
How have Quantum sails helped your racing?
I feel as if Quantum sails have helped to maximize my speed and pointing. They are also easy to adjust for certain conditions.
Who supports and encourages your sailing? How?
My friends, family, and coaches support me because they know I love the sport. They are very supportive and understanding, so they will always help me out.
Do you have other interests beyond sailing?
I run track in the spring, but sailing is my main focus.
What’s next for you?
I'm just going to keep sailing until I can't anymore. I will face whatever challenges are thrown at me and take victories with pride.