Wayzata Student Competes at Youth Sailing Championship
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is a perfect spot for Kate Ness. The Wayzata High School student is on the water almost as much as Minnesota’s iconic loons.
“It’s really surreal,” Ness said.
This week Ness is competing in the Inland Lake Yachting Association (ILYA) X-boat Youth Championship.
“It’s an amazing thing to experience,” Ness said. “It’s going to be great weather and there will be hundreds of boats to see.”
The event takes place on Lake Minnetonka as 230 of the top youth sailors from eight states will be racing. The ILYA X-boat regatta has six races in a span of three days.
“We get out there at like 10,” Ness said. “Come in for lunch at noon. Then we go back out. So we’ll probably be sailing for five hours each day and the races are roughly an hour each.”
Ness has been sailing for seven years. Her boat has a crew of two and will compete in the senior fleet.
“I think it’s a lot more physical than people think,” Ness said. “Especially when it’s windy.”
Ness’ role is to drive the yacht and trim the main sail.
“It’s kind of an experience that you can’t get in any other sport,” Ness said. “It’s your own lake, your in the water and you have all the elements.”
The lake scene is heaven for Ness. Sailing beneath a royal blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds is the ideal way to spend her day.
“In the moment you are focused on competing,” Ness said. “But after you kind of like look back on it, it’s just an amazing feeling – especially when you get going fast. It’s just an amazing feeling to have the wind in your face and the waves.”
Sailing away into the ILYA X-boat regatta winners circle would be the ultimate accomplishment for Ness and her crew.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen that day,” Ness said. “You never know what you’re going to experience.”
Ness’ passion for sailing actually started in landlocked Iowa. She picked up the sport when she used to visit her grandma as kid in Lake Okoboji.
The ILYA X-boat Youth Championship on Lake Minnetonka runs through Saturday.
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