Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Harbor Report: Getting some tips from the winners

Jake Mayol won this year's Jr. Sabot National Championship. 

By Len Bose
August 15, 2015

I am back from Hawaii and the Transpac race where we finished second in our class, only two minutes out of first place, aboard the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon.

Speaking of first place, my yacht club, The Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, has something to be very proud of this season. Not that it is so unusual, but Mark Gaudio has won this year's Naples Sabot Senior Championships sailed in Alamitos Bay back on June 6-7.
According to Gaudio, this could be his 18th Sabot Championship but for the second time in three years, a BCYC member Jake Mayol has won the Junior Naples Sabot National Championships sailed in Alamitos Bay in Long Beach Aug. 3-4.
In an effort to improve my own sailing skills I got on the phone and interviewed both Jake and Gaudio.
Jake is 11 years old and attends the Don Juan Avila Middle School in Aliso Viejo. He has been sailing in the BCYC junior program since he was 6 with his brother Max. Max, 15, has placed third in the Sabot nationals the last two years and is away at the Canadian Youth Championships.
Max Mayo at The Canadian Youth Championships

During the Sabot nationals, Jake sailed a Phoenix-made sabot with the sail number 9333. From my understanding it came down to the last race, on the last leg, for Jake to secure the victory.
"All the pressure going into the last race, having to beat my competition was one of my most difficult moments in my sailing career," Jake said.
After he received his first-place trophy I asked him which past winners' names grabbed his immediate attention? Jake said, "Jim Otis, Mark Gaudio, Brian Thomas, Chuck Driscoll and Charlie Buckingham."
My next question was: "Jake, since you have just won the Sabot Nationals where will you be going next?" It was not Disneyland. He has goals of placing in the top 20 on the U.S. team trials sailed in Optimist sailboats next year and is looking forward to qualifying to the U.S. Olympic team someday.
I asked Jake what advice he would give to the C3 sabot sailor who has aspirations of becoming the next national sabot champion?
"A lot of practice, practice always makes you better, you can never really get to the best of your ability," he said. "You will always have to work at one thing at a time. Don't overload yourself with a bunch of things at once. Work at stepping stones, focus on one thing until you have it down. If you have a bad race try to always forget about it and do your best on the next race."
I asked him how it goes when he sails against his brother. He had a quick laugh before answering: "We try not to get into each other's faces to much. He is my best friend out there, on the race course and it's kind of fun to race together. We will talk about how one of us got ahead of the other and improve our results."
We also had a good laugh when I asked him if he would be sailing in the BCYC Club Championships this summer. He turned and asked his mother if they would be in town and then asked me for the dates. I told him it was more of a joke — I was hoping he would be out of town that weekend.
Gaudio 2015 SR Sabot National Champion

Mark Gaudio
If you have ever raced in a championship in our harbor, be it sabots, Lido 14s or Harbor 20s, you have to have beat Mark Gaudio to take home the gold. Gaudio started sailing in our harbor back in 1964 at the age of 7 in the city's program at 18th Street and later at the Orange Coast Yacht Club which turned into BCYC.
Today Gaudio works as an institutional bond trader but in the late afternoons is often seen coaching the BCYC junior program or sometimes giving private lessons.
Gaudio also sails a Phoenix-made sabot, which he has had for the last 20 years, name Private Idaho.
"I have had this boat for so long, I am just comfortable with it," he said. "I have tried them all and it has a looser feel. Just not quite as stiff as the others."
I asked Gaudio the same question about which names have caught his eye on those first-place trophies.
"It has to have been Brian Thomas, Jerry Thompson or Nick Scandone," he said.
Then I asked him what advice he would give a C3 sailor.
"Get out on the water as much as you can and keep in mind most sailors will weigh out, become too big for a sabot," he said. "You can find the right boat for your size, just go sailing."

Trying to learn as much as I could from Gaudio before our Harbor 20 fleet championships coming up in a couple of months, I asked him what a Harbor 20 sailor should keep in mind when starting a championship regatta.
"Know who you have to beat — who are the key players in your fleet. Don't get into any confrontations with them and try to control them and dominate early," he said.
I have no idea what Gaudio means by that answer, so I had better go out and practice more.
Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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