By Dan Bullard
While this week’s 2018 US Sailing Youth Championships at the Carolina Yacht Club brought in sailors from as far away as Seattle and the Virgin Islands, a local Wrightsville Beach sailor took advantage of familiar territory, earning a spot in next month’s world championship.
Chase Carraway, a recent graduate of Cape Fear Academy, finished second place in the Laser Radial class, the largest division in the competition that offers trophies in six divisions. The podium placement puts Carraway in next month’s Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Racing on Wednesday concluded the four-day event that brought 145 of the top youth sailors from around the country to compete in six divisions. In addition to the Laser Radials, other divisions included: Singlehanded Dinghy – Laser Full Rig; Doublehanded Dinghy – International 420; Doublehanded Skiff – 29er; Multihull – Nacra 15; and the Windsurfing – Techno 293 Plus.
Carraway wasn’t the only local sailor in the competition. Scott Harris finished 24th in the Laser Radial class that fielded 46 competitors.
In August, Carraway will travel to Germany to compete in another world-class regatta. Growing up learning to sail in the waters around Wrightsville Beach, Carraway has been racing competitively since he was eight years old. While this area is home for Carraway, he also works to improve his skills at the Lauderdale Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Carraway plans to attend Hobart and William Smith College in New York to continue to develop his skills in the sport and further his education.
Harris has also sailed locally with the Carolina Yacht Club and travels with Carraway on weekends throughout the year to participate in the sailing program at Lauderdale Yacht Club.
Skip Sawin of Charleston, S.C. said that he values the time spent travelling with his son to these events. His son, Lucas, sails with Carraway and Harris at Lauderdale Yacht Club. Lucas has participated in the SAYRA Open for several years, traditionally held the first weekend in August at the Carolina Yacht Club.
The conditions on Sunday and Monday off Wrightsville Beach varied in their own way as sailors from around the country battled the heat and humidity, and the strong winds and waves on Sunday. The seabreeze made for great sailing on Sunday with 13 to 18 knots and the top of the fleets took full advantage.
The heat and humidity was slightly less of a factor on Monday, but the wind conditions fluctuated considerably. Overcast in the morning with an offshore breeze died at the end of the first race of the day. The sea breeze filled in later in the day bringing 8 to 10 knots and great ocean conditions.
On the last day some races were able to get underway, but a lull in sea breeze halted racing mid-day.
Carolina Yacht Club general manager Kevin Smith said that it was great practice for his staff to cater an event of this magnitude, providing sailors with breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day of the event.
Photos by Barbara Ann Howard: