Killian’s win impressive

When Christophe Killian competed in the 2013 Lido 14 National Class Championships last week, he went up against his father, Chris, and 13-year-old brother, Porter, in the gold fleet.

Killian said it was a bit of a different experience to compete against family. Away from the regatta, they remain family. But on the water, it’s a different story.

“There’s no face to who you’re sailing against,” Killian said. “It’s just another boat.”

Killian, 16, a skipper who will be a senior at Corona del Mar High, treated everyone the same at the regatta and aimed for the top spot. Killian, along with Greg Dair, came out on top after wining the Lido 14s Aug. 15.

Killian admitted he had come a long way since competing in his first Lido nationals five years ago.

“It was a pretty happy moment,” said Killian, who ranked the victory among his top accomplishments. “I had been sailing the boat for five years. When I first started I did my first nationals and I thought I was never going to win it. And then I win it as the youngest person ever and it was, ‘Did that just happen?’ To be honest, it was a little bit of a surprise.”

It was also impressive. He went to his home club, Balboa Yacht Club, on Wednesday and received several congratulations from friends and other members. It was praise well-deserved.

Killian raced against elite competition. Killian and Dair in Big Red 1 won two of the five races in the gold fleet of 13 boats. Their lowest finish was seventh and they took a second and a third to score 14 points.

Stephen Klotz was second at 16 points, and Stuart Robertson was third at 17 points.

Killian’s father and brother finished 12th.

Robertson is a six-time champion of the Lido Nationals. Klotz has won three International Flying Junior World Championships, Killian said.

Having Dair as crew certainly helped, Killian said, even though it was their first time competing together. Killian had sailed with the Dair family and has competed with Dair’s younger brother, Frankie.

Even though Killian had Dair with him, the victory proved challenging.

“Some of those guys, they didn’t make it easy,” Killian said. “It turned out to be a one-on-one fight to try to beat the other person.”

Killian has been sailing since he was 6. He put this accomplishment next to the feat he completed earlier this year.

He won the Pacific Coast Championships in a club flying junior with Clare Dahl for CdM at Cabrillo Beach.

“As far as kids under 18, it’s the most competitive regatta in all of California for the junior level,” Killian said.

Killian sees even greater accomplishments on the horizon.

Last year, CdM finished eighth out of 20 sailing teams in the High School Dinghy National Championships.

But Killian believes the Sea Kings are capable of becoming national champions. Last year’s team had several juniors, and the teams that finished ahead of the Sea Kings had several seniors who have graduated, Killian said.

In addition to high school sailing, Killian also has a strong focus on match racing.

He nearly qualified for this year’s Governor’s Cup, the international junior team match racing regatta hosted by BYC.

Killian nearly won the Rose Cup that would have clinched a spot in the Gov Cup. But after he lost in the semifinals as the top seed, he sailed against Ryan Davidson of BYC in the petit final. The winner would qualify for the Gov Cup.

Killian had one win in the best-of-three and saw Davidson go on to finish third at the Gov Cup, recording BYC’s best finish in 32 years.

“Realistically we still qualified to go [to the Gov Cup] but we were not in it because we couldn’t have two teams from the same yacht club in it,” Killian said. “I had beaten the other teams that were in the Gov Cup in previous races.”

Davidson gave some of the credit to Killian for the third-place finish of the Gov Cup. Killian helped Davidson and his team prepare for the Gov Cup, competing in races during practices.

Davidson also said the future is bright for BYC with young skippers like Killian coming up.

Killian agreed with that prediction.

“Definitely, me and my team, we are very big into match racing,” Killian said. “Our goal is to win [the Gov Cup next year]. We have a lot of match racing coming up. We’re going to Australia and Chicago. We’re trying to do everything we can to win it this time around.”

When he competes again, he’ll look at the other boats and there won’t be a face to the sailors. Just another boat.