Sailor of the Week: June 10-16
Alex Smith is anything but an average teenage sailor. At the age of 15, he has already made significant contributions to the sport. Three years ago, Alex helped introduce Vanguard 15s to the Great South Bay and founded Fleet 28 at Narrasketuck Yacht Club. Since then, he has grown the fleet from 3 to 18, and has organized the annual V15 Fall and Spring Series.
One of Alex’s goals is to promote the fleet, which he does by sending letters to yacht clubs in the Long Island (N.Y.) area and he advertises in magazines and local newspapers. He plans to host the first Vanguard 15 Atlantic Coast Championship this year, where he is expecting a turnout of at least 30 boats. “This regatta has become a lot of work but it is creating great connections for the fleet through working with local yacht clubs, businesses and sailors,” Alex said.
In addition to organizing this championship, Alex has his hands full with running Wednesday night fleet racing and Thursday night team racing. He also offers racing clinics and gives free private lessons for beginners.
Alex has had a passion for sailing since he was young. His first time sailing was on his father’s Narrasketuck (22-footer) during a local regatta when he was only five years old. He fell in love with the sport right away. At the age of nine, he started taking sailing lessons at Narrasketuck Yacht Club in Amityville, N.Y. This is where he realized he had a natural talent for the sport.
“During my first four weeks of sailing lessons, I out-sailed the rest of my peers and won our club regatta sailing a Blue Jay,” he said.
Alex soon moved up to the intermediate class where he was the youngest and smallest sailor. Alex soon moved on to singlehanded boats, sailing Sunfishes and Lasers. He mentioned that sailing singlehanded boats helped him grow as a sailor. “It teaches you courage, bravery and tactics because you have nobody else to rely on but yourself, and when you’re on that boat alone you have to make the decisions and just do it.”
Alex remains driven and passionate about sailing. In addition to founding the V15 Fleet at Narrasketuck Yacht Club, Alex is also the co-captain of his 420 Racing Team and last season he competed in the V15 National Championship. He races in the spring, summer and fall in 420s, V15s and Narrasketucks, and in the winter he races El Toros. Alex plans to compete in the V15 New England Championship this year, and hopefully Nationals.
Alex added, “I’m looking forward to college sailing and maybe if I get good enough, an Olympic campaign.”