Project Sail is a new program formed by long-standing members of the Melges 32 fleet as a way to give back and promote the sport. The all-youth grand-prix racing program will sail for the first time this weekend at the Melges 32 U.S. National Championships.
Project Sail is a new initiative launched by Jason Carroll of Argo and the DeVos family of Volpe and Delta, pillars of the Melges 32 fleet, as a way to give back to the sport: Eight young sailors, all in their early 20s, have been selected to form a Melges 32 grand-prix racing team called Team Hydra. Quantum’s National Sales Director Martin Kullman will serve as coach and main trimmer.
The idea is to help bridge the gap between junior and college sailing and entering the grand-prix racing arena. The goal is to provide these young sailors with experience that will carry them into their careers.
“Ideally, we would like to see these sailors put forth a lot of effort, improve their skills, work within a team, be competitive, and ultimately, have a valuable experience that will help open doors for them in the future,” says Kullman. “I think by the end of the first regatta, we will have learned a tremendous amount, and hopefully surprise a few of the other Melges 32 teams.”
Kullman has been sailing with the Melges 32 fleet from the beginning, and for the past several years has coached several teams to personal successes in the fleet.
The group will gather for the first time this week ahead of their first regatta, the Melges 32 U.S. National Championships in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., December 4–6, the first event of the 2015-16 Blue Water Series. They will have only one day to practice as a team before they hit the racecourse.
The sailors were handpicked by Carroll and the DeVos family and include Mac Agnese, Lexi Petters, Mitchell Kiss, Alex Post, Alex Brown, Matt Kaplan, Henry Fernberger, and the 2015 Quantum Female Collegiate Sailor of the Year, Morgan Kiss.
“Coming from college sailing, I am really excited about the tight racing in the Melges 32 fleet, and the opportunity to learn from the pros and experienced sailors in the class … Having an opportunity to drive in such a competitive fleet is very unique and I'm looking forward to challenge!" says Kiss, who will be on the helm.
Taking a group of sailors who have never sailed together before and putting them on a boat to compete against the best teams in the world is a hefty feat no matter what age they are. “One of our biggest challenges will be to get eight team members working together as quickly as we can. Getting the sails up and down without incident will be key out of the gate,” says Kullman of this weekend’s regatta.
The team will be posting photos, results, interviews, and videos on their Facebook page. Good luck Team Hydra!