September 23, 2007
Daniel Hearn shares these photos taken by Andrius Repsys.
February 10, 2007
DAY THREE REPORT: Today was the last day of racing. The wind was so-so; it
wasn't very good for the ice we were on. When we started I was in a good
spot right at the end so I could steer down to try to get some speed. Let me
tell what it looked like.......... no one was in their boat. You had to push
and push much of the race. After we got the boat down we went to the award
ceremonies and the 2 of the top 3 Ice Optis were girls, which I think is
awesome! Overall there were 10 Ice Opti girls including me! That's a pretty
good amount! We had to say goodbye to much of the group after the awards.
What many of them told me was once you come you don't really stop. They said
they wanted me to bring 5x the people we had there now from the US. So step
up guys, I am not going to hunt you down!! I promise, if you want some hard
core boating come to Poland next year and it will be worth every hour on
that plane ride!!! So start planning now!! Lets go to Poland Team USA!!!!
DANIEL'S RACING DAY THREE REPORT: It was the
most incredible week of ice sailing I had ever experienced, and I never
set foot in a boat. Just a week ago, I will sheepishly admit, I didn’t
really know exactly where Lithuania was. Probably one of those countries
where the men shout very guttural “yaahs” all the time and drink lots of
vodka. And they probably have a few gymnasts and skaters, too, who train
in old, cold facilities, but somehow manage to overcome their lack of
funding to capture medals in the Olympics.
It is true that the standard of living we
are used to in the United States is quite different from what we
experienced here. But when it comes to ice sailing, the Europeans are
truly the “wealthy” society. Yes, we can lay claim to having some of the
best in the world among the American ranks. The big difference, though,
is that our champions are all guys who rode Schwinn Banana Peeler bikes
and played vinyl records as kids. And these are the “young guys” among
In Europe, they truly celebrate all the
youth of ice sailing and it is far from a “boys club.” The results are
the best evidence-- two of the top three Ice Opti sailors in the world are
girls. Traveling here with my daughter, I was particularly inspired to
see that the Europeans put extra effort into recognizing and encouraging
their girls’ participation, with special awards given in both the Ice Opti
and DN classes.
Where is ice sailing going in Europe? Their
vision is for Junior Championships in the near future to need qualifying
races to determine Gold and Silver Fleets. And again, they are talking
about the DNs and Optis. How cool would that be?! When you take a look at
the starting line pictures, you can see that dream is not far off.
As I sit here in this dark room typing on my
laptop in the middle of the night, the 41st ranked Junior Ice
Opti Sailor in the World now lays fast asleep. Truth be told, Sheridan
never finished a single race. What she did though, I hope, is show the
rest of us what ice sailing in the United States could look like if we
have the commitment and drive to make it happen.
Step up! It's time for all of us to be
teachers--- on the ice, in the shop and at the chalkboard. If you
could experience the pride and joy I am feeling right now, I can assure
you, the rewards will make the small sacrifice of your time seem like no
sacrifice at all.
So who’s ready to go to Poland next year?
Final DN Juniors race of
Same race; view from pits.
The Ice Opti sailor now ranked 41st in the World!
Young Polish sailor moves his rig for overnight storage.
Team USA prepares to leave Lake Rekyva.
Polish sailors pack up.
Team Latvia "mobile" sharpening machine.
Team Sweden vehicle.
Polish sailors pack up.
Team Poland vehicles.
Event Chair with TV crew at Final Ceremonies.
Special award for youngest sailor (10).
Team Germany (?) vehicle.
RACING DAY TWO
February 9, 2007
SHERIDAN'S RACING DAY TWO REPORT: Hey
everyone! This is Sheridan giving you (a late) day 5 report. Today we had
the best winds this week. On the way out there I hiked a little bit which
was very fun. At the first race I was going awesome. I was in a group of
about 20 boats that were close to the leader I saw that my side stay was
dangling by my boat I grabbed it and tucked it in my boat thinking that my
Dad could fix it after the race. About a minuet later my whole mast came
down and I had to stop because its pretty hard to sail without a sail. So
a Polish man came out and saw what was wrong and saw that my pin was
missing. So he sailed back in looking for one. But then my Dad came put
out on Hanna's boat (a Swede) and luckily had another pin he stuck it in
the hole and I was off. I finished the lap but I was way past the time
limit so I went in and got ready for the next race! The2nd race was
alright I again didn't finish but the wind felt like it was shifting. Stan
had told us that after 2 races we would go in for soup but when we were
already in we realized that the Optis were racing, so we missed the third
by being misinformed. That was the only races we did today. We looked at
the results and I wasn't last, in fact I was 34th out of 45 in the
cool! Next year I heard that the championships are going to be in Poland!
Try to keep ya all posted.
DANIEL'S RACING DAY TWO REPORT:
Silly American! You'd think he'd never seen anything like this before. But
little did they know, he hadn't.
In the United States, we take many things for granted. The same is true
here, they just happen to be different things. Take Poland for example.
When a single team can bring nearly 50 junior ice sailors to the World
Championships, you can be sure that the sport is more than just an odd
pastime for a few northerners who simply don't know enough to come in from
To these kids, ice sailing is just one of those things they've always
done. They are families of ice sailors-- boys, girls, moms, dads and even
grandparents. The littlest ones are viewed as the most vital of every
club. The big kids look after them; the little ones look up to them like
I was amazed at how self-reliant these kids were. They carried their own
sails. They put their own boats together. They pushed themselves out to
the race course and up to the line. They sailed fast and they were great
sportsman. In an entire week I never saw a single tantrum. The parents
were very active participants, but not in that "win at all costs" way that
seems to be plaguing youth sports of all types in America.
I feel incredibly fortunate to reside in the greatest country in the
world. But clearly we don't know it all. When it comes to ice sailing, the
Europeans are the ones living in the "land of opportunity."
Sheridan and friends warming up.
Antonina Marciniak (Poland), who would become World Ice Opti Champion
10 year old Pawel Roszkowski
of Poland, the youngest competitor.
Sails stored fully rigged in the "gymnasium."
Hardware for the eventual champion.
Proud new owner of 4LIYC gear.
Two 12 year-olds from
different parts of the world-- Sheridan and Antonina Marciniak. (Antonia
became the eventual champion).
Proud new owner of 4LIYC gear.
The blogger and Henry who
speaks three languages, but little English. Das good, yaah!
RACING DAY ONE
February 8, 2007
DANIELS RACING DAY ONE REPORT
I remember the feeling as if it were yesterday, but everything was
different. A different continent, a different sport, even a different
daughter. At a time when my driver's license registered one less
She was in control now, loose from the literal and figurative leash
that apparently provided more comfort for me than her. She was snow
skiing by herself, her face beaming to her mother who stood below.
Kiley is nineteen now, a freshman in college away from home and Dad's
protective watch for the very first time. And Kiley....... is
Sheridan's oldest sister.
It never occurred to me at the time, but this might have something to
do with the reason I'm here in Lithuania to begin with. What kind of
wing nut, who's never been out of the US himself, jumps on a plane and
flies half way around the world to accompany his 12 year old daughter
to race in the World Junior Ice Sailing Championships. It would be a
trip requiring a departure in just five days? No passports, no travel
arrangements, no idea how to transport equipment... Oh yeah, and
Sheridan has no sailboat racing experience to speak of-- on soft water
or hard water!
Sheridan didn't even finish a race on this first official day, but the
thrill we both experienced will be forever etched in our mental trophy
cases. I don't know, perhaps one day I'll conclude that this whole
thing had something to do with parental separation anxiety. As I'm
guiding both Kiley and Sheridan out of the nest into different stages
and new life experiences, I find myself both thrilled and a bit
anxious. The way I felt today when on frozen Lake Rekyva when they
shouted (translated), "the flag is down!"
Posted February 9, 2007
TRAINING DAY 3
February 7, 2007
DANIEL'S THIRD REPORT (No report from Sheridan today; too tired.)
Imagine it. You're a 12 year-old girl half way around the world, outside of
the United States for the very first time. Your iceboat racing resume has
one entry; a hundred yard scrub race with your little brother and another
two-lap "veteran." You're invited to race, in a language you don't even
understand, with the very best Juniors in the entire world. And as a sign of
their great delight that an American has finally made the trip across the
Atlantic to participate in a World Juniors, they put you in the Number One
(Translated:) "The flag is up.....the flag is down!!!!!"
Such an experience might have humbled even Muhammad Ali. Kind of like being
put in the pole position for the Indy 500 having just received your training
permit. But what an experience it was. Add to this recipe a bit of snow and
rough surface, for undesirable friction, and light wind lacking the desired
"punch" to propel even experienced sailors continuously around the course.
Sheridan and I had much discussion the week prior to our trip that the only
things that really mattered were that she try and have a great attitude
while doing so. That we would find the fun in every aspect of our shared
experience. That she may finish last in every race, or not even finish at
all, but that would be perfectly OK. That there is never shame in failure
when you have the courage to at least try. That the true shame is when
someone doesn't try at all. ("Let your place not be with the cold and timid
souls who know neither victory or defeat." Theodore Roosevelt)
I learned that a child's own self expectations can easily trump loads of
parental guidance in the form of mental preparation and positive,
enthusiastic encouragement. That innate competitive spirit is at the same
time both the backbone of accomplishment and the short-lived cause of
frustration. And that "I remember my first race" stories from her new
international friends are the best band-aid of all. Tomorrow is another day.
She's ready. I'm ready. What fun it will be!
Kids learn to work on
their own boats.
Some if Team Latvia.
Competitor's Meeting. Many not in picture still setting up. ALL
Starboard starters first Opti race.
Starboard starters first DN training race.
Little American girl welcomed by being placed in Block One.
From Right: Vadimus Grigonis (Lithuanian Secretary), Dorata Michalczyk
(PRO), not identified, Sheridan.
Tear down on last training day
The American rookie and reigning Junior DN World Champion from Poland.
TRAINING DAY 2
February 6, 2007
SHERIDAN'S SECOND REPORT:
Hello everyone this is Sheridan
giving you day 2 report. Last night Stan saw all the prizes my Dad brought
from WI. He was very interested and we also told him about a rain gutter
regatta, so we might be able to have one of those here. Today when we got to
the ice it was -5C. The ice looked better than yesterday and better than we
had expected, but when you walked on it your foot sank a little and water
filled the hole!! I am hoping that we will get some sailing in before we
race because I might be a little rusty and I would like to see the other
racers sail around a bit to know what I am in for. Also it will be my first
race with more than 2 racers. (no offense to Frank and June)
So this ought to be interesting. We didn't have a chalk talk today because
we had a press conference which in my words was actually kinda boring there
was more of translating into Lithuanian than English and I was recognized so
we couldn't avoid not going to it. Tonight there is a little dance party in
the bar at the hotel and I haven't checked it out yet
hope the weather tomorrow is true ice boating weather!!!
DANIEL'S SECOND REPORT:
Arrived at the lake this morning to
find conditions much better than expected. With the temp just above freezing
and the ice very wet to begin with, all of the snow turned into a thick coat
of slush frozen about an inch thick on top, but collapsing under your feet
when you walked on it. Not yet ready for sailing, but temperatures were
below freezing all day and expected to dip to about -10 Celsius overnight.
Event organizers expect the ice to harden up enough to complete the first
and now last training day tomorrow. If that is successful, racing will begin
as planned on Thursday.
For the training day tomorrow two complete courses will be set, one for DN's
and the other for the Optis. Practice racing will go on throughout the day
if conditions warrant. A World/European Junior Event does not normally move,
given the even more complicated logistics with junior sailors. Sailors
arriving today, however, report black ice in Riga, Latvia, which is
approximately 60 kilometers away, so that may be the fallback.
Among the highlights of the day was the official press conference with all
the fanfare you'd see prior to a major sporting event in the US. Flags of
all the countries represented were displayed on the table in front of all
the European Officers. Comments were delivered to the press in the native
Lithuanian tongue, or translated by an interpreter from English. The Polish
Officer (may be called a Secretary, but I'm not sure) was very pleased to
report that it was the largest Junior Ice Sailing Event in history and now
could truly be called a "World Championship" with the participation of
Sheridan Hearn, "the young Opti sailor from the United States of America."
(Perhaps one day she will understand how proud her Dad was at that moment,
prior to the completion of even a single race).
The sailors were arriving again today in droves. Seeing a Junior program
like this would make any US ice boater absolutely green with envy. The
infrastructure exists here for a long and healthy ice sailing future for
many years to come. (Editorial comment: If we are truly serious about our
sport's longevity in the US, we need to follow the European's lead. They are
forward thinking. In fact, it has come up several times that they'd like to
see the World Junior Championships held in the US before 2010. It can
happen, but it would require commitment and dedication by many. Are you
ready to do your part?)
Event organizers were quite delighted to receive the gifts we brought from
the states for all the sailors provided through the generosity of a number
of sponsors. They are: Harken (Steve Orlebeke; Quantum Sails (Jim Gluek);
MadSails (Ryan Malmgren); Trek Bicycle (Wes Wilcox); West Marine (Steve Yost
and Tyler Sternberg), Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club (Debbie Whitehorse and Greg
Whitehorse). Many thanks to these companies and individuals for their
So much for now.
Ice surface today.
European Smart Car....don't think it could pull a Skeeter trailer!
Ben and Tim (UK), Sheridan (USA), Hannah (Sweden).
Back side of sailing club. Ice in pits very rough from foot traffic.
Typical Polish trailer; many like this here.
Just a few boats of the impressive Polish contingent.
Pierre and Jeremy (Switzerland); Sheridan's boat w/yellow plank.
More of the arriving Pols.
Yes, and more Pols.
The "Press" at the press conference. Young man (orange jacket), Petra
from Poland, reigning Junior World Champion.
Press conference; US flag represented
for first time.
February 5, 2007
TRAINING DAY 1
SHERIDAN'S FIRST REPORT:
Hello everyone this is Sheridan. I hope you guys are keeping warm with such
cold weather in WI. Here in Lithuania is quite an experience and I am loving
every second of it. The weather here is very snowy and pretty cold and not
good iceboating weather!! My boat here in Lithuania is very different from
my own in WI. The runner are soooo small and the tiller is much longer and
the colors are red ,white, black and yellow so close to the US colors but
not quite. I haven't sailed in it quite yet but I hope I will tomorrow. The
food here is much different there was pink soup really PINK soup I didn't
try it. My
dinner was very good though. But I still like American food better.
The Swedish kids make fun of me because I don't know the countries of Europe
even though they know the states of the US. I know some of the countries,
but I wouldn't be able to point them out on a map. They also prefer the ice
in Sweden than here in Lithuania. I know 2 boys from England who placed 4th
and 10th last year in this competition. The
Polish people are nice but very competitive by the stories I have heard from
the Swedes. I guess even if they hit you they keep going and don't stop to
ask if you are all right!!! Wow!!! Now that is intense. I hope when I come
back I can sail on my own lake!!! I am meeting so many new people and
learning some Swedish!!! I can't wait until I get home and I will try to
keep you all posted.
Tim from the UK installing runners on Macur built Ice Opti
Official event poster
TRAINING DAY ONE REPORT:
Woke up this morning to wet snow. Out at the lake, 2-3 inches of slush
covered the ice; no wind to speak of. Didn't seem to matter to anyone. Much
fun was had building snowmen, fighting with snowballs and visiting with
fellow sailors from all over the world. The ice sailing culture here is
truly impressive. It has the "grassroots" component that is largely missing
presently in our country. Vehicle after vehicle would pull up loaded with
kids and gear, some towing trailers with as many as 9 boats (DN's and Ice
Optis) strapped to every available space. It's feels like a volleyball or
hockey tournament in the US....just add ice boaters.
Back at the hotel, Sheridan and I participated in a "chalk talk" led by the
head of the Swedish Team. It was very encouraging to see how the older DN
sailors were encouraged to help their younger DN counterparts who so look up
to then. Sheridan has forged wonderful friendships already with juniors from
Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the UK. We have been made feel very welcome
by all. Many of the Poles were just arriving today, so our time with the
representatives of the most broadly represented nation so far has been
Spirits remain high in spite of the weather. Of course they would like to
avoid postponing the event to the March reserve date, if at all possible,
but truth be told, I think there is significant doubt lingering in most
The Optis here are set up with very thin, short runners. As with any US
regatta, the usual runner shimming, alignment, equipment discussions
occupied some of the waiting around time in the pits.
More tomorrow. Hope it warms up for all of you.
Email #2: Made it to Lithuania and just had a wonderful dinner with kids and
parents from Denmark, Finland, England and Poland. Still have some
technology issues to overcome. No phone in our room; no internet either.
Wireless only on first floor of hotel. Only way I have access now is using
the computer behind the hotel lobby desk. Have been awake now almost
continuously for 24 hrs. so Sheridan and I are pretty beat. Breakfast at 8:00
then out with the other sailors for the first day of training. Hope to be
able to send pictures tomorrow.
Hi to all in the US. We've gotten a tremendous welcome over here. Sheridan
gelled with the other kids like she's know them her whole life.
So much for now.
Email #1: Woke up to wet snow
this morning. Not sure how much is expected. Will know impact on iceboating
soon. Temp. looks to be close to freezing, so maybe it will melt. Having
breakfast with our international friends. More later.
February 4, 2007
Sheridan Hearn Arrives in Lithuania for
Dad, Daniel, writes, "I'm pleased to report that I was
able to establish a wireless connection from the hotel's conference
facilities...Way past our bedtime here."
January 31, 2007
Hearn To Represent U.S.A. at
Junior World Championships
Sheridan Hearn in her Ice Opti.
4LIYC Ice Opti Skipper, Sheridan
Hearn, age 12, will be representing the United States and the 4LIYC in the
DN/Opti World Junior Championships to be held next week on Lake Rekyvos in
Lithuania. This is truly a historic event for US iceboating, as Sheridan will
be the first US Junior to ever participate in the Junior-only World
Championships. (And her Dad thinks it's pretty cool that this first
participant is, in fact, a girl). The event already has 110
pre-registrants from countries all over Europe. Sheridan and her Dad will
be flying into Vilnius, the capitol city of Lithuania to meet up with
Lithuanian ice sailors who will shuttle them to the host hotel. There they
will meet up with Swiss sailors who will join them for the trip to the
lake the next day. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are training days for all
the competitors where they will learn both on and off the ice. Competition
takes place Thursday, Friday and Saturday with Sunday as a back up day.
Daniel indicated that the European iceboating organization has been
tremendously helpful in offering their assistance to make this possible.
Mr. Stan Macur of Poland has generously offered to provide Sheridan with a
full complement of equipment. Sheridan will be bringing her own sail,
however, proudly sporting her US Number.
The 4LIYC, as well as corporate sponsors-- Quantum Sails, Harken and
MadSails-- will be sending merchandise with the Hearns who report that
they will be thrilled to present these gifts as ambassadors of the US
Daniel will be taking a laptop and digital camera and will do his best to
send back daily reports to share with everyone back in the states. The
Hearns pass on their thanks to Pete Johns and Jane Pegel in the US for
their support; of course, Mr. Stan Macur of Poland; and Mr. Chris Williams
of Great Britain.
For more information about the Junior Championship, click here:
Ice Optimist + DN Junior Bulletin Board