WOW, what is Mr.Eric P. Bardes on?
John Morgan mentioned Optis maybe once in his article?
And I don't think he was commenting on NZL yachting, so why bag the performance of kiwi kids?
JM was commenting on his own personal coaching experience within the US wasn't he?
Gotta say some of his comments were pretty out there!
Mr Bardes, you seem to have read some attack on opti's that wasn't even there.
Too much sun?
This Opti promo-rant on the hard to find front page is amusing. Dude talks about how great the Opti is, about US Opti sailors results, about how all the US Olympic sailing team and coaches were OptiGods at one point in their life.
But yet, if the Opti was so great for training US Olympic sailors, where are the medals in '12?
He says we can't blame the feeder system. Really?
I would like to bend a few ears for a minute and put a twist on some comments and theories made lately by several individuals regarding the quality of youth sailors being developed and provided to higher levels of sailing within the United States.
I have been coaching competitive teams including the US Optimist National Team within the optimist class for well over 20 years. The expectations and abilities of coaching over the past 15 years in the United States are of the highest levels in the world. The countries from where these coaches come from are national, global and inclusive. We do that in America..... Always have, it's called freedom. The level of competitive optimist sailing and optimist sailors has only risen to a level greater than any in history.
First I would like to address the US Olympic situation this past summer and the theory that no feeder talent is being developed within US youth sailing. The US olympic team was littered with the best optimist sailors of the past decade. The US optimist class and it's national team developed as youth sailors the entire 49r team, the entire women's 470 team, the Finn sailor, the men's Laser sailor, the woman's Radial sailor, the Star skipper. These are some of the best sailors in the world. I know them, I have coached them. They are amazing athletes and people. I guess the optimist class is not doing a thing. The US Olympic coach squad was also littered with past optimist coaches, also some of the best of the past decade. I hope they did not forget that.
It's easy to blame the feeder. Its the easy way out. Not this time boys, your just not that special. The US Optimist Class gave you talent. Your barking up the wrong tree my friends. Other olympic coaches figured out Weymouth ......... A lot of them were past optimist coaches from around the world as well ........ get real. I'm just saying......
Second I would like to address the kind comments made by Mr. Morgan of New Zealand in regards to his theories of US youth sailing. Sir, I am not sure I have ever met you. I am sure we shall at some point. Please don't judge what you simply do not understand. 2012 was the most impressive showing of US Optimist sailing in history:
US sailors were 1,2,3,5,10,11 at the IODA South American Championships. 1, 2 in team racing. Sorry NZL did not show up.
US sailors were 4, 29, at the Lake Garda Meeting. Sorry NZL did not show up.
US sailors were 1st at the Rizzotti Trophy Team Racing event defeating two Singaporean teams. Sorry NZL did not show up.
US sailors came to your part of the world for the IODA Asian Championships. US sailors were 3, 5, 13, 15. NZL sailors were 12, 14, 19, 22.
US sailors attended the IODA World Championships. US sailors were 7, 9, 13, 22, 23. The team placed 2nd in the team racing portion of the worlds. NZL sailors were 26, 34, 52, 72, 90. The NZL team racing team was eliminated in the third round.
The US coaches that represented each of these teams represented the United States with pride no matter what country they were born. They are US tax paying employees of USODA. They work with private teams, yacht club teams and the US National Team. They do a fantastic job.
Mr. Morgan, a wise man once gave me a great bit of advice. He said, "Son, if you ever find yourself surrounded by people talking deeply about a topic you know very little about, speak less than those around you".
The geography and diversity of the United States and the US Optimist Class make it unlike any other in the world. We have hundreds of sailors attending our class events. Any given weekend you can find dozens of local events nation wide, coast to coast. The class takes pride in developing recreational sailors as well as high level competitors. As I write, the class is approaching sail # 20,000!
It's easy to blame the feeder ........ Not today my friends, simply not today ...
Eric P. Bardes
St. Petersburg FL
There’s plenty of lamenting over the historic beatdown received by the US Sailing Team in Weymouth, but few insiders have been willing to put their names to the real reasons for our woeful performance. Today, NZ coach John Morgan revved his keyboard up to offer his unfettered opinion. Is he right or wrong?
I am one of the coaches for the NZ men's 49er and the women's 470 teams and have for the past 15 years also been working in the US sailing system with the top juniors.
Having brought 9 of the 12 NZ team members thru from Optis to the Olympic team and having won 17 world titles and over 60 NZ titles. (Plus numerous US national titles) I feel I can accurately give a comparison of the two systems. Here are my thoughts:
US sailors are over coached and seem to spend the entire summer at regattas rather than training. The ratio is 5 training days to 1 competition day.
There is an obvious lack of a tunable boat in the system, too many lasers and look at the US laser results, awful.
The US coaches are lazy and technically very poor, results don't seem to count.
The system is covered in South American coaches who, to fill there own bank accounts have pushed the 24/7 coaching mentality (We started with some Argentino coaches in NZ but quickly got rid of them after seeing the decline in that countries results).
Zero talent identification from US sailing. My sailors have won a whole lot of US titles but not once been approached by US sailing to acknowledge this talent.
Sailing is way too expensive in the US, thus excluding a lot of the hungry, driven athletes, again everyone has their hand out. Regattas have turned into moneymaking exercises by the clubs involved, with a prime example in the Buzzards Bay Regatta, which is hugely expensive to enter and has the worst race management I have ever seen. Why is there a constant fight amongst the clubs involved in this regatta to hold the event? Profit.
The US collegiate system is the best racing in the world but produces debt-ridden sailors who are great sprint racers but need to be retrained for Olympic work as the tuning knowledge just isn’t there.
Most of the US-born coaches are ex-collegiate coaches. Can no one else see the problem here?
Money and covering the athletes with coaches won't help the situation; the problem is in the youth and junior structures.
Obviously the present management and coaches need to go, and those who appointed them need to have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.
I have a great fondness for the US sailing scene and have had many great experiences over the years, but since I have been in this system, the numbers of sailors have dropped, the coach numbers have increased and the results have declined. Sad.
Morgan Yacht Design