Kingston, July 11, 2023 – The team comprised of Luke Ramsay from Vancouver (Royal Vancouver Yacht Club), Rachel Green from Burlington, ON, (Royal Hamilton Yacht Club) and Jessica Hirschbold from Victoria, B.C., (Royal Victoria Yacht Club), have qualified to be nominated for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games following the trials that were held last weekend during the Canadian Open Lightning Championships at the Kitsilano Yacht Club in British Columbia.
Ramsay, Green and Hirschbold ended the eight races that took place as part of the 12-boat competition with five wins, allowing them to finish first overall. They qualified to be nominated for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games by being the top Canadian crew at these trials and by respecting the Pan American Games regulation of a one-man and two-women crew configuration, as per Sail Canada’s Selection Process, available at www.sailing.ca/international-events.
Luke Ramsay is a double silver medalist in the Sunfish class at Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019 Pan American Games. He also took part in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he respectively took part in the Two-Person Dinghy (470) event with Michael Leigh and in the Nacra 17 races with Nikola Girke.
For Jessica Hirschbold, Santiago 2023 would be her first international multi-sport event, but not her first major sailing competition as she represented Canada at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships in Oman, where she took the 18th spot in Women’s 29er with her teammate Grace Poole.
“I’m super excited to qualify for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and to keep learning in the Lightning class”, said Hirschbold, who is 18 years of age.
Rachel Green just recently graduated from Queen’s University and sailed with that institution’s team over the past four years. With her sailing partner Galen Richardson, who for his part qualified to be nominated for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in Nacra 17, they won the 2023 Canadian Intercollegiate Sailing Association Fleet Racing National Championship.
“I am super excited to compete at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games and I’m looking forward to representing Canada,” said the 22-year-old sailor.
Third Pan American Games for Luke Ramsay
Luke Ramsay is therefore slated to take part in his third consecutive Pan American Games. A month ago, after he won silver medals in Sunfish in the past two editions of the Pan American Games, he missed qualifying for Santiago 2023 in this event, when Lee Parkhill from Oakville, ON, won the Canadian spot in a tiebreaker against him at the Canadian qualifier.
“I was pretty gutted to lose to Lee in a tiebreaker,” said Ramsay. “We had a great battle and it was a really fun event. Hats off to Lee; I’m sure he’ll do great in Chile.”
“In the week after losing the Sunfish trials, I was just curious to see who else was selected for the squad and I noticed that Canada had qualified a spot in the Lightning event, and the trials were in my hometown at the National Championships just a few weeks later,” added Ramsay. “The Lightning class was incredibly inviting to me and the host club (Kitsilano Yacht Club (KYC)) offered to lend me a boat if I joined the club. It was a great deal! Larry McDonald, a class legend, also lent us some sails to use!”
Ramsay, Green and Hirschbold met after people from the Canadian sailing community introduced them to each other.
“The team came together quite at the last minute,” said Rachel Green. “Luke heard about the qualifiers in Lightning and wanted to create a team with younger sailors and with the aim of encouraging a continuance of sailing within the fleet. Jessica is from Victoria and sails for the UBC team. Her coach recommended her to Luke and my friend also recommended me to him, and that’s how we got connected. We trained in Vancouver the week leading up to the event and we had a mix of windy conditions and days with no wind. The Lightning class is such a friendly fleet that we were lent a boat from KYC and equipment from a variety of sailors that are a part of the fleet.”
“Rachel has done some Lightning sailing but Jessica and myself were totally new to it,” pointed out Ramsay. “We were very lucky to have many experienced Lightning sailors share their knowledge and help get us up to speed with only a couple of training days. We didn’t know if we would be competitive but we were able to figure things out throughout the weekend and put together a good regatta. Given how short a time it was to get things organized, we never talked about the next steps after this event, but I think it would be a great experience to learn more about the boat, put in some training and make a solid run for the Pan American Games.”
As of today, 15 Canadian sailors have qualified to be nominated to the Canadian team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games:
-ILCA 7 (M): Fillah Karim (Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC)
-ILCA 6 (W): Sarah Douglas (Toronto, ON, ABYC)
-49er (M): Will Jones (Jerseyville, ON-RHYC) & Justin Barnes (Pickering, ON-RCYC)
-49erFX (W): Ali ten Hove (Kingston, ON, KYC) & Mariah Millen (Toronto, ON, RCYC)
-Nacra 17 (mixed): Galen Richardson (Toronto, ON-RCYC) & Madeline Gillis (Halifax, N.S.-RNSYS)
-IQFoil (W): Rebecca Heller (Dunrobin, ON-KYC)
-Kiteboarding (M): Mac Morrin (Kingston, ON-KYC)
-Kiteboarding (W): Emily Bugeja (Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC)
-Sunfish (M): Lee Parkhill (Oakville, ON, OYC)
-Lightning (mixed): Luke Ramsay (Vancouver, B.C., RVYC), Rachel Green (Burlington, ON, RHYC) Jessica Hirschbold (Victoria, B.C., RVicYC)
More information on the Canadian Sailing Team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is available at: https://www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2023-pan-american-games.
About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.
A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.