Sailor Spotlight: Michael Pinto
Michael Pinto was another rock-star Opti sailor from the New Jersey area. After Optis, Michael chose to jump in to the Laser Radial and joined the Surf City YC's Radial team. For those who don't know, Surf City YC has one of the best Radial teams in the country. These talented sailors come together to push each other hard in practice, and they travel nationally and internationally to compete against the best. Michael's friendly nature and inclusive personality make him a "fan-favorite" among his peers.Name: Michael Pinto
School: St. Augustine Prep
Yacht Club: Surf City Yacht Club
1) Michael, you just got back from the Laser Midwinters East. Tell me about the regatta. Laser Midwinters was a great regatta, I placed 13th in gold fleet. The conditions were consistent with about 10 knots each day and 80 degree weather. I enjoyed racing in the Gulf of Mexico among some of the best Radial sailors, some of which are campaigning for the Olympics. Laser Midwinters East is such a fun regatta, and it's nice to sail in Florida in the winter to keep my skills sharp.
2) After a successful Opti career, you started to sail the Laser Radial. Why did you choose the Laser Radial over other boats? What do you like about the Laser? Coming out of Optis I realized that I really enjoyed the independence and responsibility that came along with single-handed boats. I chose the Laser because I was getting taller and was eager to get into a faster boat. I liked the simplicity of the Laser and the competitiveness of the Laser fleet.
3) Tell me about the Surf City Yacht Club Laser Radial team. You guys are considered to be one of the best Radial teams in the area. What's on your calendar for this upcoming summer? Last summer was my first year with the Surf City Yacht Club Team, and it was an amazing experience. Under the coaching of Mariano Pellegrino I was able to improve my technique, and I learned new racing tactics. The best thing I remember from the summer was each day Mariano would remind the team of an upcoming championship so that we would go out on the water with the end goal fresh in our minds. For this upcoming summer I am planning on attending the U.S. Youth Champs in Wrightsville Beach, North Americans in Long Beach, California, U.S. Champs in Houston, CORK, and possibly the Radial Worlds which is being held in Kiel, Germany.
4) You are also the captain of the St. Augustine Prep School's HS sailing team. What is the process like to build and support your team? I was just put into the position of captain in my junior year and have helped recruit and instruct new sailors. Our team is very diverse from experienced sailors to newcomers of the sport. My goal as captain is to improve our racing skills, but most importantly to promote sailing as a lifelong sport. Just this past fall our team qualified and won the silver fleet champs for the first time in our school’s history. We are looking forward to a great spring season.
5) You've sailed all over the country and even internationally. I'm sure you've seen some amazing places. What has been the coolest venue you've sailed in? One of the coolest regattas I’ve ever been to was this past summer at CORK. This was my first time in Canada and also my first time sailing in a fresh water lake. The sailing venue was awesome and at the end of the regatta I got to see Niagara Falls.