Here’s a couple of kids with Olympic sized dreams…
Team Saunders is made up of brothers Graeme and Jacob Chaplin-Saunders from Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada. The two started sailing together in 2009 with a long-term goal of qualifying to represent Canada at the 2016 Olympics. For this season, their goals were to purchase a 470, finish top 3 at Canadian 470 Nationals and compete in the 2011 Miami Olympic Class Regatta. So far, Team Saunders was able to fund raise around $35 000 through private donations and corporate sponsorship, and bought a boat from Mackay Boats in New Zealand. They also finished 3rd at the Canadian National 470 Champs. With two out of 3 goals completed, the team is looking forward to their winter training and competition at Miami OCR.
As they’ve quickly learned, an Olympic Campaign is not cheap – the 2011 rough budget works out to around $40 000, and an ideal 2012 season will cost almost $150 000! However, the team has been fairly successful in their fundraising efforts to date, and feels that although it’s a lot of cash to raise, it’s not impossible. Graeme and Jacob will continue to compete in the 470 class until at least the end of this quadrennial, and are eagerly awaiting ISAF’s final Olympic decisions for 2016. If the 470 does indeed become a ‘two person mixed dinghy with spinnaker’ for 2016, the brothers would most likely consider making the switch to a 49er. For more information on Team Saunders, check out their website.