WATER WAYS - SeaFest helps make better sailors - 11/09/02
SeaFest helps make better sailors

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 11/09/02)
By Ray Pendleton

In a Water Ways column about four years ago, I wrote about a high school sailor from Assets School named Andrew Lewis. He had just won the 1998 Interscholastic Sailing Association National Single-handed Sailing Championship in Galveston Bay, Texas.

It was something of a milestone for Lewis and the junior sailors of Hawaii as it marked the first time anyone from this state had ever captured the ISA's coveted Cressy Trophy.

The win also marked the beginning of Lewis' remarkable ascent into national and international sailing competition, as a brief recap of his 2002 Laser Class race schedule shows.

As a member of the U.S. Sailing Team, he competed in and won the Alamitos Bay (Calif.) Olympic Classes Regatta and the Pacific Coast National Championship in San Francisco.

Lewis also competed against 52 of our country's top sailors in the US Laser Nationals and came in second. He was 31st (and one of just three Americans) against 60 of the world's best in the Pre-Olympics in Athens, Greece, and 20th -- and the top American -- against 145 competitors in the Laser World Championships held near Boston.

That's quite a showing considering Lewis has always been hindered by what Waikiki Yacht Club sailing coach Guy Fleming calls the Hawaii sailors' "Catch 22."

"We have year-round, world-class conditions here, but competing requires expensive and time-consuming trips to the mainland," he points out. "Andrew had only been to a handful of events at that time, despite the fact he was a high school sophomore."

And, unlike other sports with seasons, sailors here have a year-round schedule and expenses for everything from instructors and travel, to new sails and new boats, cut into their budget every month.

Now, as an adult, Lewis finds support from special foundations set up by the Waikiki and Kaneohe yacht clubs, but as a junior sailor, it came from the nonprofit Hawaii Sailing Foundation.

This foundation receives grants from various sources and it has a fund-raiser called SeaFest that is held at one of Oahu's yacht clubs every fall.

This year's SeaFest will be held at the Hawaii Yacht Club on Nov. 16, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it is open to the public. Tickets are just $10 and children 8 years old and under may enter for free.

Activities will include a dunking booth, a bake sale, adult and keiki games, food booths, dinghy races and both live and silent auctions.

As in past years, SeaFest organizers are looking for donated goods and services for the auction and promise all gifts received by Nov. 11 will be listed in the official auction catalog, along with the donor's name, if desired.

If you would like to make a donation that will help Hawaii's junior sailors become better competitors, give the HYC a call at 949-4622 for more information.

And, of course, if you would like to become a part of Andrew Lewis' team that is now focusing on getting to the Olympic Trials in Houston next year, and then, hopefully, the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece , he would love to hear from you.

Lewis' address is 1487 Hiikala Place #32, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816.

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