Supporting a Generation of Champions


March 30, 2004
CISA Clinic: Top Young Sailors Learn from Olympians

LONG BEACH, Calif.---Seven sailors, including three medalists, from the 2004 Olympics will gather at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club this weekend, not to sail but to impart their know-how to about 135 of the hottest prospects on the continent.

It's the annual Advanced Racing Clinic Saturday through Tuesday, April 2-5, organized by the California International Sailing Association. CISA, founded in 1971, conducts the clinic each year for boys and girls ages 13 and older who are selected on the basis of their sailing résumés. Boats to be used are Laser, Laser Radial, Club 420, International 420, Club FJ and 29er.

The students will represent 13 states from Maine and Florida to Hawaii, plus British Columbia.

Among the 19 instructors are Athens Olympians Kevin Burnham, Charlie Ogletree, Lenka Smidova, Katie McDowell, Isabelle Kinsolving, Pete Spaulding and director Peter Wells.

Four days of intense instruction ashore and afloat will cover boat handling on Saturday, boat speed on Sunday and tactics on Monday, climaxed by a championship regatta on Tuesday.

How intense will it be? Adults accompanying the students are instructed: "Plan to drop off your sailors at 8 a.m. each day and pick them up at 8:30 p.m."

Burnham was a gold medalist in Men's 470 at Athens last summer and attained instant fame with Daniel Forster's photograph of him doing a back flip at the finish line, leaving skipper Paul Foerster smiling in the boat.

Ogletree won a silver medal with John Lovell in Tornado, while Smidova won silver in Europe dinghy for the Czech Republic.

McDowell and Kinsolving sailed a Women's 470, Spaulding a 49er with Tim Wadlow and Wells a Mistral sailboard.

Ogletree said, "I taught at the clinic a few years ago. What I learned was how high the level of junior sailing is today compared to when I [was that age]. The intensity and basic skill level are higher. There have always been exceptions of young sailors who were standouts in a class, but now the overall level is much higher."

Other instructors will include Olympic campaigners Bill Hardesty, Mark Ivey and Nick Adamson. The latter was a 1996 Olympian in the Laser class. In January at Key West 2005 Hardesty drove a Melges 24 with Burnham and Ivey as crew to Boat of the Week honors in that prestigious event.

Spaulding and Dalton Bergan---runnerup in the U.S. Trials in the 49er class---will tutor the 29ers, McDowell, Kinsolving, Brian Doyle, Jaime Malm and Peter Alarie the Club 420, Burnham and Ogletree the International 420, Jay Kehoe and Bill Uniack the CFJ, Nick Adamson, Brett Davis and Hardesty the Laser, and Smidova, Richard Feeny, Elizabeth Kratzig, Carisa Harris and Adam Deermount the Radial.

Ron Rosenberg of Long Beach, an organizer of the 2005 ORCA Elite Youth Racing Clinic May 27-30 at Seattle, said, "The most successful of these youth clinics is CISA. It is not only the pioneer of youth racing clinics in the USA, but 28 years later they are still the undisputed masters, and they were more than happy to generously support our ORCA Clinic efforts as well."

The program will consist of morning lectures and evening programs scheduled around on-the-water drills. The financial and personal demands of an Olympic campaign also are included in the curriculum.

CISA supports amateur sailors by providing travel grants for regional, national and international competition and funds local sailing programs and racing clinics.

Unlike other nations, the U.S. has no federally supported assistance programs for its amateur sportsmen or for the development of young talent. CISA, a 501(c)3 organization, relies on contributions of corporations and individuals to provide support of amateur sailors. Because it is non-profit and tax-exempt, all contributions are tax deductible.

Questions may be submitted to CISA administrative assistant Marylee Goyan at

P.O. Box 17992
Irvine, CA 92713-7992

Rich Roberts
(310) 835-2526