Sailor of the Week: July 9-15
The Indian Harbor Yacht Club (IHYC) in Greenwich, Conn. was the host for this year’s 2009 U.S. Youth Sailing Championship in late June. The Indian Harbor staff and countless volunteers played an intricate role in making this year’s championship a tremendous success. One of these contributors was the sailing director at Indian Harbor, John Bainton. As the sailing director, John oversees regatta management, junior sailing, adult sailing classes, team racing, and other sailing events at Indian Harbor. John drove the safety boat at the championship on Long Island Sound. His responsibilities were to tend to any possible safety issues on the water, whether it is a competitor that gets injured while racing or a race committee volunteer that gets heat stroke.
The task of hosting a regatta of this magnitude that included 116 sailors and four classes takes years of preparation. John discussed the challenges of making this event happen, “Hosting this championship was an incredible experience. We were very fortunate that the town of Greenwich and Greenwich Boat & Yacht Club were so welcoming to help support us in their facilities on Grass Island. The membership at IHYC and local sailing families really stepped up to put on a fantastic event.”
John started sailing the Optimist dinghy when his father introduced him to the sport at 7 years old. He was immediately hooked, and has been racing competitively since the age of 10. John hopes to race at this year’s Star North American Championship in September at his home yacht club in Westport, Conn. (Cedar Point Yacht Club). John is a multi-talented athlete. He had put competitive sailing to the side for two years when he decided to pursue a career as a professional snowboarder. However, his passion for sailing won out and he returned to the water. John attended the University of Vermont and joined the sailing team. “I have learned so much from the many coaches I’ve had over my sailing career,” John said. “You will not learn everything you need to know from one person. You need to sail with and experience learning from many different types of sailors.”
Whenever John has stepped away from sailing, he always seems to return to the sport he loves. After a stint in the corporate world, he decided to turn his passion for sailing into a career and joined the staff at Indian Harbor in 2008. John added, “It is a special moment when you see someone click and ‘get’ what you are trying to explain.”