Sailor Spotlight - Kyle Rogachenko

December 6, 2018 6:20:10 PM EST

Sailor Spotlight:  Kyle Rogachenko

Kyle Rogachenko will never publicly admit this, but his favorite song is Lady Gaga's "Alejandro."  One summer while driving through Europe sailing Lasers, he played that song on repeat for a week straight.

Kyle always has a smile on his face when sailing.  Look at the picture of him sailing a Waszp and you'll see just how much joy he gets out of sailing.  Kyle is an incredibly accomplished sailor too; he's an Opti World team member, he won the Laser Radial Youth Worlds, he did Olympic campaigns, and he's always at the top of the fleet in the E-Scow.  Kyle's an engineer, and he's always tweaking, adjusting, and reinventing - trying to eek out any extra speed that he can.   But most importantly, Kyle is a genuinely kind person.  I've known Kyle my whole life, and I don't think I've ever seen him yell or lash out, even in the heat of competition.  He loves sailing.  He loves the social aspect of our sport.  And he's going to be a lifelong competitor on Barnegat Bay.

Name: Kyle Rogachenko
Age: 30
School: Old Dominion University
Yacht Club: Toms River Yacht Club

1)  Kyle, you just returned from the US Waszp Nationals.  Tell me about the event.  The Waszp Nationals was held at the James Island Yacht Club in Charleston, SC. Considering this was only the second year for the Waszp, it was impressive to see boats make the trip from both east and west coasts as well as Canada and Argentina. New to the boat and only having sailed it a dozen times, the nationals was a great opportunity to learn from the best and make big improvements. There was a strong feeling of camaraderie throughout the event as we all shared tricks for making the boat faster and easier. Packing up after racing the final day it was raining and dark, yet everyone still had smiles on their faces.

US Waszp Nationals Results

2)  Why did you decide to get involved in the Waszp fleet?  What about the boat draws you in as a sailor?  I first saw the Waszp sailing on Toms River in 2017. Instantly, I knew I had to have one. The best way I can describe the Waszp is to imagine the most exciting asymmetrical spinnaker run and maintain that feeling on all legs of the race course. It is a great platform for one design racing. All boats perform similar with equal equipment showing the skill of each skipper. The Waszp has a huge height and weight range making it possible to compete with sailors of all different sizes.

3)  In addition to the Waszp, you're also an avid E-Scow sailor.  Tell me about your program, your new boat for next year, and what about the E-Scow fleet draws you in.  After two Olympic campaigns in the Laser, I finished my degree at ODU and began work as an engineer. Through the Sailing Foundation of Barnegat Bay (at the time Island Heights Sailing Foundation) I was able to borrow a boat at no cost to campaign for the summer. Crewing on the boat was my wife Alissa, fellow Laser sailor Ian Sutherland, and experienced E-Scow sailor Ben Condon. The E-Scow fleet is full of talent and quickly became my favorite boat for many reasons. The fleet has found a good blend of intense racing, plenty of social time, and all around good morale. It also takes a lot of coordination between the entire crew to make the boat go fast. This summer I look forward to spending a third season with crew Brendan Hogan and AJ Bailey. Both of these guys are terrific on and off the water making each day exciting no matter where we finish. Last season we had our best regatta yet finishing 2nd at Nationals! 

4) You grew up sailing Optis and Lasers, then you sailed in college at ODU.  Now you race E-Scows and Waszps.   What time period and/or boat in your life has been the best for your development as a sailor?  You have to pick one and not give me some politically correct "they've all been good for my development" answer...  I will start this response with one of my favorite phrases, "You don't know what you don't know." The best period in my life for development as a sailor has to be Optis from age 6-15. Being a good sailor requires knowledge of the sport, mental and physical toughness, preparation, and effort. I was lucky enough during this time to have parents and coaches to teach me how to learn and push me to be better. I try my best to carry these skills with me and show younger sailors how to do the same.

5) What's been your biggest achievement as a sailor?  What one event are you most proud of?  My biggest achievement would probably be winning the Radial World Championship as a Youth. 

While not one event, I am most proud of the 2015 BBYRA E-Scow series. We won both the AM and PM series that year, however most meaningful was also being awarded the O.G. Dale Memorial Trophy for outstanding sportsmanship.


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Colie Sails