Friday, January 30, 2009

Inside the Storck Family's J/80 Success

Stuart Streuli of Sailing World magazine caught up with Kaity Storck at Acura Key West Race Week last week to learn more about the family's successful defense of the J/80 Midwinters aboard RUMOR, which also won Boat of the Day honors on Friday.

What's your job on the boat? We actually have a really cool thing. I sail with my dad (John, pictured with Kaity) and usually my two older brothers. We all sort of rotate through positions. This week I am the second most forward person and I'm pulling the spinnaker up, taking the spinnaker down, and helping call tactics. I'm also calling waves and puffs as we go upwind.

Give us the history of this team? My dad has sailed Key West I think probably six times in the J/80, maybe seven times. This is my fourth year in the J/80. We basically started sailing together as a family four years ago. My dad was sailing a PHRF boat, and then he realized that if he got a one-design boat, we would actually sail with him. So he did, and then we did. I also have a younger brother and we've sailed with all five of us once, and that was at Block Island Race Week two years ago and that was cool because I got to drive.

The J/80 is a tight one-design boat, but is there any one piece of equipment that is particularly valuable? Our personnel is our key tool. We have a new jib that seems to be working pretty well. We've had UK Halsey sails since we've gotten into the boat and they've always done really well. This one seems to have a little more shape at the bottom than our older jibs. This is our first time sailing with it, so we're just figuring it out.

Who would be the MVP of the team today? The one thing our team has always done really well, is that everyone focuses on doing their own job and just their job. I think that's a problem that a lot of boats have difficulty with, especially when you have a lot of really good sailors together. It's hard for everyone to focus on doing just their job. More often than not, it's not that you run into problems with people messing up their job, but people sort of overstepping boundaries. So everyone always does a really good job on our boat. But probably with the conditions being so shifty and up and down , we were seeing easily 10 knot ranges and the really big shifts, I think John, my brother, who was driving the boat, probably gets the MVP for keeping the boat moving.

What sort of advice would you give to another J/80 sailor looking to sail at Key West Race Week for the first time? Try to put together a team that has sailed together before so you can be really focus on going fast for the regatta, and everybody knows what they're doing. I will not hesitate to say our strongest point is our speed. If you have a good mix of all-stars and people who have sailed the boat before that's definitely better than all all-stars that maybe have never sailed before because things can get done a lot better. Like I said before, the most important thing on a boat is everybody doing their job. They've got to be good at their job, so they've got to be an all-star at that. But, yeah, speed is really important down here.

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