Caroline PattenSailor of the Week: April 28 - May 4
Caroline Patten (Barnegat Light, N.J.) has a lot to look forward to with a very busy and exciting sailing schedule on tap. Caroline is a senior skipper on the Hobart/William Smith College sailing team and a promising Lightning sailor. Last month, Caroline and her crew received a boat grant from the International Lightning Class Association (ILCA).
The ILCA grant program is designed to fund young sailors who want to experience the high level of competition offered by the ILCA. The program awards at least two young teams a competitive boat, plus substantial regatta expenses for one season of racing. There will be mentoring provided and the goal is to expose more youth racers to the ILCA circuit.
"We really like her enthusiasm," says ILCA Co-Chair Debbie Probst. "Last year after she just missed receiving a grant, she found a boat to borrow and experienced Lightning sailing. We were very pleased when Caroline applied again. And we think we'll really capture her interest in the Lightning Class after she is completely immersed this summer. Her successful application this year might serve as an example to other teams who we encourage to reapply next year. Don't give up." Patten's team includes Tyler Menninger of Langhorne, Pa. and Michael Crann of Brick, N.J. Lightning sailor, Jarrett Lynn will be assisting the team as their mentor.
Caroline and her crew plan to race the Lightning at both national and local regattas. “We are only just getting started on the program but already everyone involved has been super helpful. We were provided with a mentor, and we cannot wait to get going and just race it,” Caroline said.
Caroline enjoys Lightning sailing, and a big reason for that is because of the sailors in the class. “Last summer I did a bunch of regattas in the Lightning circuit and I was amazed at how helpful such a competitive group of sailors could be,” she said. “The class seems really tight-knit, but is still super welcoming to anyone who wants to get into the boat.”
On top of this great news, Hobart/William Smith College advanced to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) / Gill Dinghy National Championships, May 30 – June 1 at the Gorge in Cascade Locks, Ore., after finishing seventh in the ICSA Western Semifinals last week in Long Beach, Calif.
Caroline had this advice for high school sailors interested in competing at the collegiate level: “Make sure you are doing it because you love to sail. College sailing is a big commitment, but definitely worth it if you’re willing to work hard.”
Caroline is grateful for the help and support she has received throughout her sailing career and looks forward to giving back. “I have had a lot of people help me and I want to be able to do the same for someone else. This is why I teach sailing in the summer. I want to make sure that the kids I teach have fun with it and want to keep doing it.”
Click here to learn more about the ILCA grant program.