By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News
Nearly 100 young sailors were part of the 2014 Roadrunner Regatta at Lake Travis hosted by the Austin Yacht Club.
The two-day sailing competition is one of the largest youth regattas in the state. This year’s event on April 5 and 6 had a record-number of local racers, with 23 Austin Yacht Club sailors, many of which are from the Four Points area.
“This is probably the most competitors we’ve had from Austin Yacht Club,” said AYC sailing coach Kate Noble.
The event is part of the Texas Sailing Youth Association’s youth regatta series that take place throughout the state all year.
“This is our home event,” Noble said. “It’s usually one of the most attended ones. We get people in from Louisiana and the surrounding states. It’s a really big event and it’s really fun to see all the kids out there.”
By the event’s end, each sailor, ranging in age from 7 to 18, had raced between eight and 13 races in their designated fleet.
For Fleet Captain and Regatta Chair Stefan Froelich and his wife, Stephanie, sailing is a family sport. Five of their seven children competed in the weekend competition.
“The coolest thing we like about it is just the camaraderie between the families,” Stephanie said.
Vandegrift High School sophomore Jules Bettler competed in the Laser 4.7 fleet. He said he’s been sailing since childhood.
“My dad has always been in the sport, so he got me in as young as possible,” Bettler said. “So I’ve been here a good part of my life. I just love how you’re free; it’s almost like driving a car. You can go wherever you want. It’s a competitive sport. It’s a community. All my friends are here.”
AYC member and event volunteer Jorge Martin-de-Nicolas said he first brought his niece, Nicole, to watch a regatta two years ago and she immediately became hooked, even though she did not know how to sail. Just by seeing the boats on the water he knew she would love it, and she has been sailing regularly with the junior program at the club ever since.
“She has even taken me sailing a couple of times and I pretend I don’t know how to sail and she does everything on the boat. It teaches kids independence and self-reliance and it helps build a lot of self-confidence in kids knowing that they can sail their little sailboat and go anywhere they want on the lake,” Martin-de-Nicolas said.