Started in 1976 by Dev and Steph Colie, Colie Sails has always been at the forefront of the sailing industry. With their exceptional customer service and innovative products--like the best boat covers and blade bags in the world--Dev and Steph have built one of the best sailing pro shops in the country. After 36 years in the business, they sold Colie Sails to Clay Johnson.
Clay was born in Jamestown, NY, but when he was three years old his family moved to Toms River, NJ. It is there that Clay began to sail Optimists in the Toms River Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program. Clay had a successful Optimist career; he qualified for two South American teams, won the Valentine's Day Regatta, won the Team Trials, and sailed in a World Championship. In 1998, Clay won the Optimist Team Trials at 143 pounds, but declined a second World's berth because he was getting too big.
After a short stint in the Laser Radial, Clay quickly moved to the Laser Full Rig. He and his brother, Reed Johnson, started the Toms River High School South sailing team his senior year, winning the Cressy Trophy (HS Laser Nationals) in the fall of 2002 and helping his team place 3rd at the Mallory Trophy (HS double-handed Nationals) in the spring. The following year, Clay attended Harvard College in Cambridge, MA, where he was an Honorable Mention All-American Skipper his Freshman year and a full All-American his Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. Clay remains the only person to win the Singlehanded New England Championship a record four times while in college.
After college, Clay worked as a Commodities Trader trading corn in Connecticut. But after a year of counting corn, Clay decided to start sailing Lasers in an attempt to go to the 2012 Olympics. He trained hard for three years, winning the US Nationals, the North Americans, medaling at two World Cup events, representing the US at the Pan American Games, and ranking as high as 12th in the ISAF World Rankings! Clay finished 2nd in the Olympic Trials and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Olympics.
Now, Clay is excited to start a new phase of his sailing career. Through running the shop, answering questions, and getting sailors in the right gear, Clay is committed to continuing the Colie brand that Dev and Steph have spent so long cultivating.
Check out Clay's personal sailing website, claysails.com, for information on his current sailing, and feel free to contact him at the shop for any advice!