On February 11th, the Sailing Foundation hosted its fifth annual Coaches' Clinic for Northwest Youth Racing Programs. Over fifty coaches and program leaders attended, representing high school sailing teams, college sailing teams and yacht club programs in Washington and Oregon.
Andrew Nugnes, coach of sailing at Barnstable High School on Cape Cod and President of the 96-team strong New England high school sailing conference, was this year's featured guest expert coach. Andrew is a math teacher, as well as a football coach (in the fall) and the sailing coach (in the spring) at Barnstable High. As a youth he attended Barnstable High and was a devoted member of its sailing team. Andrew gave three talks during the day-the first on "Which Coaching Innovations Work and Which Ones Don't Work", the second on financing a high school program and building alumni and community support, and the third on how the New England conference has grown to become the largest in the USA. His enthusiasm and dedication were infectious.
In addition, Burke Thomas, leader of the Northwest high school sailing team conference, and Kyle Eaton, leader of the Northwest collegiate sailing team conference, led a brainstorming session on improving opportunities for youth to race in the Northwest. In addition, Kyle led a discussion of safety issues related to youth sailing, with an emphasis on issues relating to concussions and helmets. The gathering also provided an opportunity for the high school teams to meet prior to the Clinic and for the collegiate teams to meet after the Clinic.
Prior speakers at the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Coaches Clinics were Roger Rawlins, sailing coach at the Hill School in Connecticut, Steve Hunt, coach at Point Loma High School in San Diego, Gary Bodie, coach of the 2008 US Olympic Sailing Team, and John Vandermoer, head coach of sailing at Stanford University. No charge was made for attending the day-long clinic. The cost of lunches and refreshments and the airfare and honorarium for the guest speaker was borne by The Sailing Foundation. Seattle Yacht Club kindly made its Elliott Bay Clubhouse