Sailor Spotlight: Paris Henken
Paris Henken has already become a part of the storied legacy of the College of Charleston – she is the first female Olympian (in any sport) in school history.
Henken achieved that status before she even competed for the powerful College of Charleston sailing team. After attending the school for the fall semester as a freshman in 2014, the California native took a year and a half off to focus on her Olympic campaign in the 49erFX.
Henken and teammate Helena Scutt achieved their dreams by earning the lone United States berth in that skiff class to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Henken, a San Diego resident, was only 20 years old at the time – far younger than the average American Olympic sailor.
“The (U.S. Olympic) Trials were definitely a stressful moment, but once it was over and we had won it was the greatest feeling,” Henken said. “We were super excited and so proud of ourselves for what we had accomplished. It was a long process, but in the end it really paid off.”
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Champagne Conditions on Day One
J/24 skipper Tony Parker called it “champagne conditions” and it would be hard to argue with that assessment.
Mother Nature delivered in a big way on the first day of Sperry Charleston Race Week with action getting underway in strong winds, sunny skies and warm temperatures.
Ten of the 11 classes competing on the four inshore circles were able to complete four races in winds that ranged from 12 to 16 knots and swung from south to slightly southwest. The lone exception was the highly competitive J/70 class, which did three races at the request of the sailors.
Because there are 66 boats in J/70, the class is so large that it is split for reseeding after each day of racing. Class organizers felt three races would make for better round-robin competition.
Winds were lighter for the five classes racing on Circle 5 and Course 6 outside the jetties on the Atlantic. ORC A and B along with the J/105 one-design fleet all finished two races.
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