Sailor Spotlight: Sarah Burn
Sarah Burn is a high school junior who sails for the Bay Head Yacht Club. Sarah was one of the best Opti sailors to come out of the Barnegat Bay area; she won the Team Race National Champs and represented the US at many international events. She has now progressed to i420s and Club 420s. Having coached Sarah in her Opti days, what I admire most about her is her work ethic and how she takes in all information. I always said that Sarah was a "sponge" - she asked really good questions and absorbed everything that we discussed. My favorite story to sum up Sarah was during a practice one day. It was late in the day and kids were noticeably tired. We just had a big wind shift so I told the kids to take a break while I re-adjusted the course. While I was motoring towards the windward mark, I turned around to check in on the sailors and while all the other sailors were chatting and relaxing, Sarah took the opportunity to do some practice roll tacks. As a coach, I appreciate sailors taking advantage of every minute spent on the water to improve; that kind of work ethic is what it takes to be successful in life. Name: Sarah Burn
School: Milburn High School
Yacht Club: Bay Head Yacht Club
1) Sarah, you had a great Opti career and have now transitioned into the 420. What has been your best result lately? What worked so well at that event for you?
I just came off the i420 Midwinters, where my crew, Trish Gerli, and I placed 7th. We've been working on improving our communication in the boat, and things really came together when we were both more aware of what was happening on the course. We anticipated our next moves sooner.
2) What advice would you give to an 8 year old Opti sailor just getting started in sailing? What do you know now that you wish you knew then? When I was eight, I didn't know much about the sailing world. Even when I was 11 and qualified for my first Team Trials at New Englands with Bay Head YC, I had to be told what it was. I was more of a learn-as-you-go kid, but if I could do it again, I'd talk more to my coaches about what they've done. Your coaches are awesome!! You'd be amazed by the cool places, regattas, and people you'll hear about. After that, why would you ever stop?
3) You now sail mostly an i420 which is a technical boat and offers a pretty competitive fleet. Tell me about how that is going?
At the start of the fall I joined VMG Racing, a new i420 team with Kevin Burnham and Elizabeth Kratzig coaching. I've been traveling to Miami every few weekends to train. The fleet is talented, and the best players are always working hard to stay on top. Kevin and Elizabeth have helped me make major leaps in my i420 results. We put a big focus on the mental aspect of the game - keeping the boat race-ready, keeping communication up with your partner, taking good notes on practices and events (so you learn your lessons once!), and trusting that the effort you put in will show in the results.
4) I also notice that you take some time to jump into the Club 420 for some summer regattas. Why do you do that?
After Optis I transitioned into Club 420s. It's a great boat to learn the fundamentals of double-handed sailing. C420s are fun, easy to hop into whether you're coming from Optis or i420s, and you can't beat the number of events and big fleets on the summer circuit. One event in particular I love is the Ida Lewis. I always looked up to girls who had won the event, so winning it myself a couple years ago meant a lot. It's a must-do event for girls in sailing - the phrase in Annapolis last year was "Sailing Sisterhood" which really speaks to the mindset surrounding the regatta.
5) What are your sailing plans for the next few months? I know i420 Worlds are in Newport, RI, this year. How will you gear up for those?
Yes, so we just finished up the three major winter regattas on the i420 circuit, so the focus this spring is being shifted toward training for Worlds in Newport this summer. Having Worlds in the US is a big deal, and I'm planning to spend a lot of time training and racing in there this summer. Worlds will be our peak event for the year.