High school sailors compete against world’s best in Miami

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Miami, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Brothers Stephen and Matt Long are just high school students but that didn’t stop them from showcasing their skills against the world’s top Olympic class competitors during the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, held at Biscayne Bay from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2.

The event draws elite sailors, including Olympic medalists and hopefuls from around the world. The regatta is a mainstay on the winter circuit for sailors who are campaigning for the Olympic Sailing Competitions in Rio 2016.

Despite their young age, the Longs received warm welcome from fellow Laser sailing competitors during the first day of the event, with a coach from the U.S. Sailing Team Laser even offering to mentor them for the entire event.

The two attended the debriefing with the U.S. Sailing Team, discussing areas they could improve before the race starts.

The 70 competitors were split into two fleets, with the top group of sailors placed in Gold Fleet and the others would sail in Silver Fleet, where Matt and Stephen Long were categorized.

Over the next couple of days, the two competed well in Silver fleet, and Stephen was able to post some of his better scores for the regatta.

Ultimately, Stephen and Matt finished ninth and 13th, respectively, in Silver fleet. Not bad for students from Dos Pueblos High School where Stephen is a senior and Matt is a junior.

In their last visit to Miami, the Longs were required to spend Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve flying to and from Miami so they could compete in the Orange Bowl Youth International Regatta.

The Orange Bowl regatta is the largest youth regatta in North America. Every year it draws more than 600 competitors from more than 20 countries.

This year, Matt placed seventh and Stephen placed ninth in the highly competitive 29-boat Laser fleet.

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