Ralf SteitzSailor of the Week: May 26 - June 1
When Ralf Steitz (Port Washington, N.Y.), U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) Sailing Foundation President, took notice of the German youth team who entered the Transatlantic Race aboard the Andrews 56 Norddeutche, he thought why not us. The idea of the All-American Offshore Team (AAOT) was created and endorsed by the USMMA and other leaders in the sailing world, such as the Oakcliff Sailing Center (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) and the Storm Trysail Club (Larchmont, N.Y.). The goal of the AAOT is to provide high-performance offshore training opportunities for an upcoming generation of American ocean racers.
“We needed an offshore youth team to keep up with other countries,” said Steitz.
Nine sailors between the ages of 18 and 30 representing nine different states were selected from a pool of applicants to join the Oakcliff AAOT management team. The 2011 team is racing on USMMA Sailing Foundation’s IRC 65 Vanquish.
“Our management team selected the 2011 racing team with input from a lot of great sailors,” added Steitz.
There are four key events on the AAOT 2011 schedule with one in the books. Last Friday, May 27, the AAOT raced in the Around the Block Island Race, which is 185 nautical miles from Stamford, Conn. around Block Island, R.I. and back. The race was a success for AAOT. They finished second in their division and 27th out of 58 boats. Remaining events on the 2011 schedule include the Annapolis to Newport Race; the Transatlantic Race (Newport, R.I. to the Lizard, U.K.) and the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The mission of the AAOT is to have a lasting impact on the sport beyond the 2011 campaign by creating a sustainable future for providing top-level training and opportunities for young American sailors. The AAOT is joining Oakcliff Sailing, who will provide a stable year-round training platform for the team moving forward.
To learn more about the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team, visit allamericanoffshoreteam.org and http://www.oaklciffsailing.org/.