Sailor Spotlight - Jack Brown

November 16, 2018 7:23:28 AM EST

Sailor Spotlight:  Jack Brown


Jack Brown is a rockstar.  After an incredibly impressive Opti career (2nd at the US Nationals, 6th at the Opti Europeans, Team Racing National Champion) he moved on to the Laser Radial and Club 420 where he always finished at the top of the fleet.  Now, Jack is a sophomore at the College of Charleston, one of the best sailing teams in the country.  (The College of Charleston has won the Fowle Trophy - given to the best college sailing team annually - in 3 of the past 4 years!)  This past summer, Jack moved from crewing on his dad's E-Scow to kicking everyone's butts as a skipper, an impressive feat in a challenging boat and competitive fleet.

Despite all of his success, Jack remains grounded and modest.  What comes to mind when talking to Jack is how polite and respectful he is.  He takes the time to say hello to adults, looks you in the eye, and gives you a firm handshake.  He's even-keeled when sailing, and he's appreciative of his crews, coaches, and father for helping him improve.  Jack is an impressive young sailor, someone the BBYRA can point to and say "this is someone we're proud to have representing us."

Name: Jack Brown

Age: 19 Years Old

School: College of Charleston

Yacht Club: Seaside Park Yacht Club/ Toms River Yacht Club

1) Jack, you're a sophomore at the College of Charleston.  Tell me about college sailing.  As someone who raced in college "a few years ago," it seems like the seasons have been condensed and there are some really big regattas that come up quickly.  What's the schedule like? College sailing has always been something I wanted to do ever since I got into competitive sailing when I was younger, and it has been a great experience this past year and a half. College sailing is super competitive--both in practices and regattas--and it creates an atmosphere where everyone is always improving. The college sailing schedule is very busy; we sail many weekends in a row with long drives every Friday afternoon and Sunday nights. Keeping up with schoolwork is one thing that was a key adjustment for me as I was forced to quickly adapt to the fast moving schedule. Not missing any practice, and putting in extra time on the water when you are able to is important with the newer compact schedule. Being ready to race and feeling confident after each week of practice has been something I found to be helpful thus far.


2) Charleston has been one of the best college sailing teams over the last few years.  Why do you think that is? I think that Charleston has consistently been at the top due to our coaching staff and the depth of our team. Our team is one of the biggest in the country, and that allows us to put eighteen boats on the water and run practices that are often times just as competitive as some regattas. Having a deep team allows us to have high-intensity, competitive practices each and every day. I also think that it helps underclassmen, such as myself, develop quicker and try to pick up little things that you see the older kids doing.  

3) Despite the sailing team's recent successes, there's been some changes on the C of C team this year. First, you graduated College Sailor of the Year Stefano Pescheira, coach Mitch Hall moved on, and Sailing Director Greg Fisher took a job at US Sailing. You still have Head Sailing Coach Ward Cromwell, Conner Blouin is taking over for Mitch, and in a big move, Kevin Jewett took over for Greg. That's a great hire. What have the changes been like at Charleston? Is it easy to maintain the same culture on the team with all of these changes? I honestly didn’t know what to expect coming back to school this year with all the changes. I did know that Ward was going to be the same great coach he has always been. I hadn’t even met Conner prior to him being hired as the new assistant coach, and we didn’t have Kevin until a couple months into school. Now looking back on all the changes, it has been a very seamless transition. Conner has done a great job filling Mitch’s position; he is an unbelievable coach with a ton of positive energy. He will do anything to help you continue to improve. Losing Greg was a hard one for everybody especially since even though he is a great sailor, he is an even better person. However, I had been coached by Kevin before he was hired as the new sailing director, and we already have a strong relationship. He has taught me a lot in the past, and he continues to be a great coach and mentor to me here at Charleston.
Losing Stefano also was clearly a big loss since he was a past Olympian and College Sailor of the Year. I was so lucky to have overlapped with him for a year. He took me under his wing and taught me so much every day, and I hope I can one day be the role model he was to our team. Even with all these changes, the coaches have done a great job making everything feel normal, and the culture has not changed. I know my teammates and I are all very excited with the new look of the program, and we can’t wait to see what's in store for the future.

4) This past summer you were crewing on an E-Scow for your dad, and then your dad hurt his back.  Rather than pack up the boat for the year, you took over the tillers and raced the boat yourself.  E-Scows are not easy boats to steer, and everyone was really impressed with how quickly you were racing at the top of the fleet.  What was it like steering the E-Scow?  What are some things that contributed to your success? Sailing with my dad is always a great time, and it was disappointing that he wasn’t able to finish out the summer. With that being said, I had one of the best times sailing in my life while skippering an E-Scow. The E-Scow is unlike any other boat I had ever skippered, and I enjoyed the high level of competition that the BBYRA provided every Saturday. I would not have been able to do nearly as well as I did without the support that I had around me. My dad was there every weekend helping to tune the boat and watch the races. Since I moved to the skipper position, we found sailors to rotate into the middle position on the boat. The whole team, no matter who sailed with us each weekend, was very supportive of me and did everything they could to help me learn quickly. I was always surrounded by great sailors and people, which helped the learning curve go more rapidly. I think my dad was more excited for me to sail the E-Scow then I was, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all his help this past summer despite his injury.  

5) What's one piece of advice that you would give ten year old Jack Brown? What's one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were younger and just getting started? One piece of advice that I would give is whenever you go out to practice, make it worth your time and try to learn as much as possible. I can remember back when I was younger that I dreaded training, regattas, or anything that had to do with sailing, and sometimes I would just go out and count down the minutes to go in. It's evident to me now how much my Opti and C420 sailing has helped thus far in college sailing, and I would encourage everyone to not just go through the motions, but to make it worth your time to go out and practice. There are so many great coaches from the bay that have helped me so much, and they all have something to offer. Try to learn something from each one. I can't even begin to name all of the coaches that have helped me. It's great to see the continuation of successful youth sailing growing on Barnegat Bay.

Posted in News By

Colie Sails