Archive for » June 2nd, 2014«

SAILING: Megan out to retain Sail for Gold trophy

UPDATE WITH VIDEO: SAILING: Megan out to retain Sail for Gold trophy


HOME favourite Megan Pascoe is determined to continue her fine form in the Paralympic 2.4mR class when racing gets underway today at the Sail for Gold Regatta, hosted by Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

Portland’s Pascoe is attempting to retain the title she won last year, and she goes into the five-day event having impressed on the ISAF Sailing World Cup and EUROSAF circuits.

“I am definitely looking forward to the Sail for Gold Regatta this year, it is one of my favourite competitions,” she said.

“We have world class waters in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour and it’s always nice to compete on home waters.

“It is a completely new format they are using which is something that us 2.4mR sailors aren’t used to, so it could be quite entertaining with 16 very short races.”

Pascoe has picked up four podium finishes so far this season, with two gold medals at the Sailing World Cup in Miami and the Delta Lloyd Regatta, her last before returning to Weymouth and Portland.

She will line up against 12 other boats today, including that of fellow Portlander Helena Lucas.

Pascoe added: “I won Sail for Gold last year so it would be great if I could retain my title, but we have some tough competition this year.

“Every regatta is important and a crucial stepping stone towards Rio.”

Racing comes thick and fast with a number of Olympic and Paralympic class sailors, including Nick Dempsey, Bryony Shaw, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, all taking part.

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With the wind: Oriental seeks to maintain ‘sailing capital’ tradition

ORIENTAL | Hosting the International Sunfish Class Association’s 2014 U.S. Masters National Championship this weekend was another sailing milestone for this village, which uses the motto “Sailing Capital of North Carolina.”

A total of 25 boats came to town for two days of racing on the Neuse River, based out of Jim Edwards’ Bow to Stern sailing center on Smith Creek.

The visitors came from as far as Illinois, Ohio and New York. The event is a qualifier for the 2015 world championships.

The 2014 Sunfish World event is in October at Camp Seagull and Camp Seafarer near Minnesott Beach.

The Sunfish are the largest One Design sailing class. But, the boats are a one-person sail, lightweight enough that the pilot can hand-maneuver it on a small trailer for launch.

The event was sponsored locally by the Oriental Dinghy Club.

It was the second major sailing event here in the past two weekends.

Many sailing enthusiasts around the area have been working to attract more sailing regattas to Oriental, according to resident and sailor Joe Mattea, who started a Facebook page titled “sailing capital of north Carolina.”

He tries to promote sailing through his marketing background and by photographing events. He recently purchased a drone to use to record Oriental sailing events.

He also purchased three internet domain names –, along with .net and .org.

“I couldn’t believe no one had ever taken them. I was shocked,” he said. “I have them all going to a landing page right now with nothing really on it, but once things (sailing) slow down a bit, I plan to put some things on there that doubles down on our brand.”

Mattea said the local sailing residents working to attract events have no formal name, no clubhouse and no dues.

“It is very grassroots, but we seem to be getting some traction,” he said of the village hosting the recent races.

“This kind of event used to be huge in Oriental,” he said. “We are just trying to rekindle that. We are just trying be hospitable.”

Mattea moved to Oriental three years ago from West Virginia and believes that sailing events are good for the town, for recreation and to attract visitors and tourist dollars.

“I have a sailboat like most people,” he said. “I don’t care if someone here has never stepped foot on a sailboat. Their property values, or if they have a business, is really tied to the image the town has a sailing center.”

With some cities such as New Bern spending hefty dollars on banding campaigns, Mattea and others around Oriental think they just need to make the most of what they have.

“There are any number of towns that would pay huge money to have that brand,” he said. “We can’t trade it or sell it, but if we aren’t careful, we can tarnish or lose it. Or, we can enhance it. So far, everyone has responded really well and I think the town is feeling good about seeing these groups come in again.”

The goal for tourism is to bring visitors who will return.

This weekend’s event adds another category — new residents.

Nancy Jaywork, a retired teacher who sailed in the event, along with her semi-retired lawyer husband, Terry, came to Oriental for the first time from their home in Rehoboth, Del.

The couple said they had serious thoughts of retiring here.

“We have never been to Oriental before, but it is awesome,” said Nancy Jaywork. “My husband is looking at property already.”

Terry Jaywork spent Saturday touring the town on his bicycle and liked what he saw.

“It is an amazing place,” he said as he helped his wife prepare her boat for the Sunday races. “I rode my bike on every street and I like everything. I think we will look to retiring here.”

Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or

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‘It was hell,’ recalls boat’s lone survivor

MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. — Bob Sales was 18 when he made the landing at Normandy. That may be a surprise to the U.S. military.

He says he lied about his age on the enlistment form when he joined the Virginia National Guard a few years earlier. He was just 15½ at that time.

He wasn’t alone in making that decision. The Depression had made jobs scarce, and plenty of men and teenage boys were joining up from his hometown. Recruiters didn’t ask too many questions. His high school teacher even went with him to join that day and kept quiet about his student’s real age.

But the worst economic downturn in U.S. history was not what drove Sales to join the fight and to end up serving in the D-Day invasion. His father had a good job as an engineer on the railroad.

“I just wanted to go,” he says. “I felt strongly about it.”

When the ramp of the landing craft dropped to the rough waters on the coast of France, German gunners cut down the 29 other men in Sales’ boat before they could reach the beach. He was the only one who survived.

“It was hell,” he says. “I’ll tell you, men were dead everywhere. It was terrible.”

He regrouped with the survivors from his company of six other boats and fought the next day on the beach. Sales fought on through France and into Germany. Soldiers were getting killed so fast, he made sergeant within weeks. He eventually made staff sergeant.

He was wounded in both eyes while fighting in Germany. He lost sight in one and regained partial sight in the other.

Sales was awarded three Purple Hearts and the Silver Star.

The war ended while he was still in the hospital. He came home to Madison Heights and got into the real estate and timber business. He is married to Alice Sales and has a son and granddaughter.

In February, French President François Hollande made him a knight of the French Legion of Honor for his efforts to liberate the country from Nazi Germany. He was among six D-Day vets to whom Hollande personally awarded the medal during his visit to the U.S. Sales rented a limousine to take himself, his friends and family to the ceremony.

Sales has two ages now. One, 88, is his real age. The other, 91, is what he calls his “Army age.” It is the one he uses when he deals with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He’s reserved about what it was like to witness the D-Day invasion. “It was a helluva war,” he recalls. The fight, he says, was worth it. France had to be liberated. The Nazis had to be stopped.

He hopes people will remember the freedom, and the way of life, the soldiers died for — including the 29 men in his boat who never made it to the beach.

“I just wanted them to not forget the boys that fell dead in that mud and blood,” he says. “They give up a lot there when you think of a man’s life. When he loses his life fighting a war he gives up Christmas, and all the holidays, and raising children and everything else.”

Jon Ostendorff also reports for the Citizen-Times of Asheville, N.C.

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Underdog sailing team from Jacksonville University headed to nationals

Jon Faudree, head sailing coach at Jacksonville University, describes the sport half-jokingly.

“Off the water, you can pick out sailors because they’re tan and they’re bruised,” he said with a smile. “You look out and you see the sailboats on the water and it looks so peaceful and serene, but it’s far from that. It’s a really athletic sport.”

But the challenges are more than physical; they’re equally cognitive.

The moment a boat sets out on the water, the sailors must anticipate changes in the wind and waves, the flow and the current, then act on what they see.

“You could sail right there on the St. Johns River 20 different days, and every day you go out it would be different,” Faudree said.

When sailors are in a competitive race, they have to move faster, think faster, not only anticipating the movements of nature but also those of 20 or so other boats surrounding them.

It’s a balance that six tan, bruised and determined JU freshmen understand well. On their home waters at the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Spring Championship in April, freshmen Victoria Caba, Ian Ikeda, Peter Hidley, Hannah Knighton, Danny Lawless and Mara Strobel-Lanka made JU history when they qualified to compete in the College Sailing National Championship Semifinals, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

The team’s victory marked the first time in school history that the JU team has qualified for the regatta, and one of the first times a team made entirely of freshmen will compete in nationals.

About 250 colleges have sailing teams and, of those, 36 will compete in the nationals.

“This sort of puts us in the spotlight for a team that before this year nobody knew existed outside of our conference,” Faudree said. “People are talking about us nationally, which is a lot of fun. When we go sail against teams in New England or the Mid-Atlantic region … there are a lot of people who are excited to see another team come out of nowhere.”

The achievement is another rush in a stream of forward motion and growth the team has experienced in recent years. Out of the six freshmen going to nationals, two — Knighton and Caba— never sailed before last fall.

“It’s hard to wrap my head around,” Knighton said. “A year ago, I didn’t even know anything about sailing and now, in a week I’ll be heading to nationals. It means so much. It shows that I’m a part of something so much bigger than me and has taught me that I can do more than I ever thought I could.”

When Faudree arrived at JU in fall 2012 after working as youth sailing director and head coach for the Rochester Yacht Club in New York, the JU sailing team consisted of five students, all of whom learned to sail at the university. By fall 2013, the team grew to 25 students, six of whom were recruited sailors.

“When the kids got here this year, we were really able to hit the ground running,” he said.

Last September, the JU team ranked 20th out of 27 teams in the South Atlantic Conference. Now the Dolphins rank fourth.

“We’re going up against schools that have million-dollar sailing centers and teams of 50, 60 people, where we have 25 kids and half of them learned how to sail last August,” Faudree said.

The small size of the team offers “unique challenges but also unique opportunities,” Faudree said. It gave it flexibility. Students who never sailed before could join the team and learn. Regardless of experience level, there were more chances for students to get on the water and to participate in regattas.

“We don’t have tryouts, and we don’t have a guaranteed spot to big regattas, and people don’t really know us as someone to be threatened by,” said Strobel-Lanka, who began sailing with her family six years ago. “So when we go to regattas and we do really well as freshmen, it means so much more than if I were a third-string on some bigger team. … Here at JU, the work that I put into it is building it for future generations.”

At the same time, the team lacked many of the competitive pressures often associated with larger programs. Faudree lightheartedly viewed the regattas they competed in as “glorified practices” and “great learning experiences.”

Lawless, who also began the sport in childhood, was recruited by Faudree, who began coaching him when he was an eighth-grader in New York.

“A lot of teams are very high pressure, going, going, going, but here we’re more relaxed,” Lawless said. “If I sailed at another school, I don’t think I would be sailing as much as I do.”

Starting in August, the team practiced three times a week on the water and worked out twice a week in the campus gym.

At the end of spring semester, while much of the student body made a beeline from exams to planes, trains and automobiles carrying them home, the six JU sailing competitors spent the week after finals preparing for nationals. They practiced twice a day, strapping GoPro cameras to their sailboats so they could see, study and learn from the day’s successes and failures.

As the team goes on to national semifinals, Faudree said he is “not too worried” about the competition, but instead more focused on taking in another learning experience and enjoying the event.

“Our goal was to get there,” he said.

For the student sailors, it plays into larger individual goals to become better on the water.

“I love that anyone can learn to sail, but it takes years and years to master it,” Strobel-Lanka said. “You can do it for the rest of your life, and you’ll never have it completely figured out, but that chase of figuring it out is really fun.”

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