Hatteras sailors heading to Optimist National Championship

(Submitted/Hatteras Community Sailing)

Two sailors from the Hatteras Community Sailing race team, nine-year-old Beau Phillips and eleven-year-old Seaton Hawpe, will compete in the 2023 Simmons Boatworks Optimist US National Championship hosted by Hampton Yacht Club in Virginia from July 31 through August 3.

The Optimist Sailboat is the international standard for sailors ages 9-15 and a very competitive sailing class worldwide. Sailors from all over the United States will be sailing in the nationals, and the top sailors will be invited to represent the United States on our national sailing team. As of this article, Beau and Seaton are the only sailors representing North Carolina in the US National Championship Regatta.

Both young sailors act as Jr. Coaches during Hatteras Sailing’s summer beginner learn to sail camps at Hatteras Sailing mentoring other young sailors as they learn to sail. They’ve both shown incredible dedication and hard work improving their speed, form, and tactics in each practice as they prepare for nationals.

Beau Phillips began sailing in the Optimist Class at the age of 5 during the year that Hatteras Community Sailing first launched. Since then, Beau regularly trains with Hatteras Sailing Head Coaches Jay and Meg Phillips showing talent and discipline in his sailing practice. Beau has sailed in more than 10 regattas including the 2021 Junior Olympics and the 2022 Fishing Bay Junior’s Regatta Championship Fleet. In 2022, Beau took 2nd place in the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Regatta, 1st Place in the Manteo Regatta, and 2nd place in the 2023 Wind n Waves Regatta. When asked what he likes about sailing Beau says, “The thrill of it…without the competition, there just isn’t as much thrill.”

Seaton Hawpe started sailing Optimist during Hatteras Community Sailing’s 2022 season when he was 10 years old and immediately showed strong dedication, talent, and commitment to the sport. Seaton attended the 2022 Manteo Regatta riding along with the coaches getting a first-hand look at what it is like to sail in a regatta, and he was instantly hooked. Seaton returned to Hatteras Sailing newly inspired to train for the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Regatta in September 2022 which was Seaton’s first regatta. This spring, Seaton sailed the Wind n’ Waves 2023 placing 4th among the Optimist Fleet. Seaton is excited to be included in a National Level Sailing Competition. Seaton says, “Hiking out is exciting and sailing in regattas helps you realize how good you are and how you can sail faster. I like sailing because I like to go fast ”.

Hatteras Community Sailing Organization (HCS) is a US Sailing Community Sailing foundation and a 501(3)c US registered non-profit corporation. HCS provides sailing instruction and competition to youth and adults on Hatteras Island, NC to inspire independence, seamanship, and respect for nature.  Through lessons, practices, and camps HCS teaches sailing, water safety, boat safety, and boat maintenance using sailing as a foundation on which to grow skill, discipline, character, and self-confidence in local Hatteras Island youth and adults. Hatteras Sailing is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors. Sailing scholarships available to residents of Dare County. For more information, visit HatterasSailing.org.