US SAILING Communications Manager
Other than the 500 feet of beautiful beach front property, there is nothing too fancy about the North Cape Yacht Club (NCYC)… and they prefer it that way. This average size club located in La Salle, Mich. on Lake Erie has more of a shorts and t-shirt atmosphere. This grass roots yacht club takes their sailing seriously, but handles it with a down to earth approach. Similar to their home grown product, Anna Tunnicliffe, a Laser Radial Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time winner of US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year award, and proud member of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.
The junior sailing program at NCYC is a huge priority. The club does a remarkable job of providing opportunities for youth sailors to compete. First-class instruction and quality boats and equipment are made available to motivated junior racers. However, these young sailors must work their way through the program first. The club emphasizes how important it is for sailors who graduate from their program to give back to the club. Many kids return as instructors or coaches.
“That is one thing that impressed me about Anna,” said NCYC Vice Commodore, Duane Burgoyne. “She has been coming back for years, and not just to sign autographs.” Anna returns to her home yacht club as an instructor and coach. Burgoyne believes the kids have improved because of it, from an instructional standpoint and because she is a great role model. “She’s so accessible and approachable,” added Burgoyne.
Anna and her husband Brad Funk have participated as Laser instructors in the North Cape Advanced Racing Clinic for Juniors. According to Jeff Mackay, last summer Anna put on a demonstration of various techniques in the club harbor while Brad narrated. Observers including the previous year’s Laser junior champion and runner up as well as the clinic participants and parents were in awe to see how basic moves were supposed to be done. While doing 720’s in 10 seconds, Anna didn’t seem to think it was quite right so she kept going around and around. At that point Brad suggested she was just “showing off”. The evening prior to the clinic the North Cape racing team was on the water conducting practice races. Anna and her parents went out to the race course where she jumped on a laser and sailed with the kids. That was an inspiration to the kids aspiring to be great.
Anna is not the only accomplished sailor to learn the ways of the wind and water at NCYC. Her brother David is an outstanding sailor, and Skip Dieball the 2009 Championship of Champions is also a member of the club.
In an effort to raise the level of competition, Anna’s parents were intstrumental in organizing a traveler’s series for junior sailors in the region, including 12 sponsoring clubs and four classes (Thistles, Laser, Laser Radial, 420, Opti). An overall champion is crowned at the end of the summer. Anna and her brother participated in the summer series and were quite successful.
“Kids are amazed to see their name on the same trophy with Anna,” said Mackay.
About US SAILING
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.