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Hobie Sailor of the Month - January, 2013Ivan Shestopalov
US Sailing’s 2012 Junior Olympic sailing season culminated with the Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta on December 27-30 in Miami, Fla. Ivan Shestopalov, a 12-year-old Opti sailor from Miami, was one of 652 youth sailors competing from all over the world. Ivan was second overall out of 250 Opti sailors, and the top U.S. sailor.
Over the past three years in the Opti event at the Orange Bowl, Ivan has shown steady improvement. He was 17th overall in 2010 and fifth in 2011. 2012 was a breakout year for Ivan. He finished seventh for Team USA, the top American result, at the IODA World Championships in the Dominican Republic.
“Orange Bowl is always a great event, one of the biggest youth regattas in the world, and it’s right in my backyard,” said Ivan. Not only has Ivan improved from year to year, but from race to race. He won 4 of the final 5 races of the regatta. “You can always improve upon any aspect of your sailing with practice, whether it’s starts or boathandling. Even when you think you’ve got something nailed down, you can always perfect it.”
All US Sailing Junior Olympic events share a common goal: to promote the enjoyment of sailing and development of skills to young sailors as well as provide an Olympic pathway for talented junior sailors. Ivan’s focus, determination, and love of the sport was on display throughout the event.
Ivan was introduced to the sport when his older sister started sailing Optis at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, and at the age of 7, his parents signed him up for lessons. Also, Ivan’s father frequently took him cruising at an early age on their O’Day 22.
“I think the Opti is a great class in that it is very competitive, being the largest one-design class in the world. It is sailed everywhere, so you get to meet new friends wherever you go,” he explained.
In the short-term, Ivan wants to become a better team racer, and eventually, get involved in crewed boats. He went on to say that his favorite sailing experience is getting to travel to places like Chile, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, and others that he would, otherwise, not have seen or experienced.
Click here for full results from Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta.