The Harbor Report: Hoping to see her at the Olympics

Friday is Madeline Bubb's 14th birthday, and over this past week she has been competing in the U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship out of the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club.

Madeline only started sailing two years ago, and last year she made the Newport Harbor High School sailing team. Now to say that this girl impressed me is an understatement; she amazed me. Her passion for our sport gave me new enthusiasm, left a huge smile on my face and left a small tear of gratification in my heart.

This week, Madeline is sailing with one of her high school teammates, Eliza Moody. The two girls are taking advantage of the on-the-water training and clinics offered by US Sailing at this event.

When I asked her what her goals for this event were, she let out a type of positive laughter that I have never heard before. "Not to finish last," she explained to me, with a smile from ear to ear. "I am going to learn how to get better starts, how to stay positive, steer though the chop and see how it goes."

I asked what type of future goals she has in sailing. She told me she plans on making the varsity sailing team by her senior year at NHHS, become part of the first all-girl team to qualify for the Governor's Cup, sail in college and work her way toward an Olympic campaign someday.

Like I said before, this young lady has it going on, and if I were a betting man I would not bet against her. I inquired more on this event and what it has done for her. "I have met some fantastic people this week," she said. "I met Victoria Oldham from San Francisco last night, and today she helped me rig my boat to make it go faster. I also met Elizabeth Pemberton from Massachusetts last night. It was her birthday, and we all sat at the same table and sang 'Happy Birthday' to her."

I had Rebecca McElvain and Mercedes McPhee from San Diego staying with us at our home, and when I explained to them that I had interviewed Madeline, they both praised her passion for the sport of sailing.

As we finished the second day of racing, Madeline and Eliza had already reached one of their goals by winning the start of the second race and giving it their best effort. From my vantage point of watching the races from the leeward end of the starting line, this team will not be finishing last by any means, no matter what the results say.

This event was a shot in the arm for me and has given me a renewed appreciation for our sport of sailing, pride in my yacht club and has increased my efforts in improving my sailing skills and helping other sailors improve theirs.

I also have to give a big shout-out to Mary Bacon for doing an outstanding job chairing this event and to all the BCYC members who stepped up and volunteered to make this one of the best sailing events in our harbor this year. If you have never volunteered for a junior event before, I strongly recommend it. The feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming, and it leaves you with a sense of pride in your efforts.

If you have not been on the harbor this week, it's been busy with all of our harbor's junior programs in full swing. While in the Back Bay, I noticed the Newport Aquatic Center kids paddle by in one of the larger canoes. All the first-time sailing parents at BCYC struggle with not helping their eight-year-olds rig their sabots. I truly enjoy summers in Newport Beach and on our harbor.

I am off this weekend to sail the J/109 Linstar at the Long Beach Race Week event — wish us luck.

Sea ya.

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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