JAYC Sailors Deliver a Strong Showing at 2024 i420 Midwinters West

JAYC Sailors Deliver a Strong Showing at 2024 i420 Midwinters West
Freddie Parkin and Estella Morris at the i420 Midwinters West

The recent 2024 i420 Midwinters West regatta hosted 23 boats all vying for a qualifying spot to Youth Worlds, which will be held later this summer on Lake Garda. Three talented JAYC sailors were on the water: Estella Morris, Glen Foster, and Melanie Lahrkamp. After four days of tight racing, Estella Morris and skipper Freddie Parkin came away with the win, chalking up 5 bullets across 12 races, and that coveted spot at Worlds. Glen Foster skippered his boat to a 4th place finish and Melanie Lahrkamp skippered her boat to an 8th place finish. (overall results here)

Melanie Lahrkamp (right) and Isabel Brewer

Bell 42 caught up with Estella, a sophomore at Holy Child High School, to hear more about the event.

Bell 42: Congrats on the win and the chance to go to worlds! How long have you been sailing with Freddie Parkin?

Estella: Thank you! Last Fall, Freddie was looking for a new crewmate to train with. I started working with him and by December we had decided to pair up.

Bell 42: What were the conditions like for the event?

Estella: We had a full range of conditions. The first two days were quite light, about 7 to 13 knots. The 3rd and 4th days were more like 17 to 20 knots. While most days were on fairly flat water, on the third day we went outside the break wall and sailed in 8 to 10 foot waves.

Glen Foster (right) and Pierpaolo Baldassari

Bell 42: Being on a trapeze in 10 foot waves must have been exciting!

Estella: It was. At the bottom of the wave we would look forward and all we could see was the next big wave to climb. I managed to find a decent position on the wire where I could get low enough but not hit too much by the water.

Bell 42: What do you think contributed to winning the regatta?

Estella: Freddie and I communicated really well. On the windy days, we were super clear about each leg and where we wanted to go. Speaking for myself, I also tried not to treat it like a regatta, but rather approach each race as if it was practice. And of course starts were key. The line was long but we worked hard to be in the favored position and get off the line at full speed. Lastly, I think our prep work helped. We did a clinic right before the regatta and practiced a lot down in Miami in heavy wind. 

Bell 42: Where there moments you particularly remember?

Estella: On the 3rd day, we rounded the first windward mark in 4th. Because of the strong wind and waves, a lot of other skippers were sailing more conservatively. Freddie, though, loved to really work and surf the waves. We pulled ahead in the downwind and kept our position for the rest of the race to take first.

Freddie and Estella (left) battling the waves

Bell 42: Any challenging moments?

Estella: On the second day, we were postponed for 5 hours waiting for wind, which finally came in around 5:30pm. We didn’t adjust quickly enough to the new conditions after all the floating around. And on the 4th day, 5 minutes before the first start our vang shackle broke. We attempted a tie-down line but it didn’t fully work. Our leech was totally open compared to the other boats. Thankfully, after the race we managed to get a proper fix in place. 

Bell 42: Last thoughts on the regatta?

Estella: Being on the water at this regatta, with the level of competition, was super fun. To think back to Melanie, Glen and myself all in optis in JAYC, to see how far all of us have come — it’s exciting.

Congrats to Estella, Glen and Melanie for your great performance at the event. You make AYC proud. AYC Sailing Director Kevin Broome also gave a special shout-out to Estella not just for her accomplishment but also how she volunteers her time to work with newer and younger sailors. Kevin said, “Estella works hard on and off the water. Her high energy and passion shows in her sailing, and she has tried different boats and different positions to broadly level up her skills. She’s a fan favoritie for our after-school Optimist sailors when she visits as a guest VIP.”

Estella demonstrating an Optimist roll tack