Sailor of the Week - April 29 - May 5
Last weekend was a special time for 11-year-old William Marshall of Newton, Mass. William won the Blue Fleet at the Youth Invitational Optimist Regatta in Boston on Sunday at the Volvo Ocean Race stopover at Fan Pier. He won four of the seven races and finished second in the other three. However, this special weekend had little to do with racing results, and more to do with having something in common with some of the bravest, most adventurous offshore sailors in the world.
William and the Marshalls have been following Ken Read and his Team PUMA’s odyssey around the globe with great anticipation of the race coming to Boston. Needless to say, the Marshalls were excited to take part in the festivities celebrating the Volvo Ocean Race’s sole stopover in North America. What could an 11 year old have in common with the elite sailors competing in the Volvo Ocean Race?
When William was just six years old, he and his family embarked on two year sailing trip on their Swan 46 that featured stops in the Caribbean, the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, Europe and into the Mediterranean. The Marshalls essentially lived on their boat for two years, while covering over 15,000 miles. William and his brother were always practicing their sailing skills on the opti attached to the bow of the Swan. “The whole experience was great for my sailing fundamentals,” said William. “It gave me a great head start on racing against other people my age when I got back.”
William enjoys speed and thrives off the intensity of racing. His math skills have also played a part in his on-the-water success. He likes studying ocean patterns and changes in the weather as it pertains to sailing. William’s mother, Lucia, describes his intense passion for sailing by explaining: “William sails like he would play chess. He is so focused and remains dialed in for as long as it takes. He likes intellectualizing about it.” William looks forward to competing at the U.S. Optimist Dinghy Association Team Trials Regatta on April 30 – May 3 in Darien, Conn.