Sailing through the summer

Ava Wilson spent her summer break training for a world championship


Photo provided by Ava Wilson

Abigail Slimmon, Sports Editor

With the sun glistening across the water, wind whipping across her face and the freedom of summer in her mind, Ava steps on the dock ready for another long day of practice.

Ava spent her summer traveling around the country racing M32 Catamarans with her new team, “Convergence.” The team worked on promoting growth for this new type of sailing, getting any mistakes out of the way and gaining more experience before the M32 world championship regatta in Chicago Sept. 8-10.

Ava spent the summer on the water with her team sailing as much as possible while working on getting stronger both physically and mentally.

“The physical strength is really important to sail these boats because of their size, but the mental strength is what is behind it all,” Ava said. “If you don’t have the will to do the training, then you’re not going to get anywhere, and you will be letting your team down.”

Ava first became interested in sailing these boats the summer before her sophomore year, when she watched her dad sail them in the world championship in Sweden.

“I remember sitting there watching the race and realizing how different and cool these boats were,” Ava said. “I knew that I wanted to be involved in something as amazing as this.”

One of the downsides of racing M32s is that the boats are bigger and more complicated than some of the smaller boats that high schoolers typically sail. According to Ava, racing M32s is a hard, full-body workout which results in few people her age being involved. In most races Ava and her aunt, who helped her first get involved in racing, are the only women.

“I’m really proud to be in this sport and to be able to say that women can do it too,” Ava said. “Every time we go out and win a race, it proves to the rest of the world that it’s not about gender. It’s about having the mental will and motivation to go out there and do it.”

Because her team only became official at the start of this summer, Ava wants to continue to work to bring the team closer together and strengthen their bond.

“The bond within the team is almost one of the most essential parts of these boats,” Ava said. “If you have two people that are conflicting with each other, or a disconnect across the boat, the team can’t do well.”