Luke Ramsay, and Rachel Green, Jessica Hirschbold have qualified to be nominated for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games following the trials during the Canadian Open Lightning Championships at the Kitsilano Yacht Club in British Columbia.
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).
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.
“I was pretty gutted to lose to Lee in a tiebreaker, 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 lightning to go and the trials were in my hometown at the Nationals in just a few weeks. The lightning class was incredibly inviting to me and the host club (KYC) offered to lend me a boat if I joined the club, it was a great deal! The boat was in good shape, desire being 40 years old (after a little TLC)! Larry McDonald, a class legend also lent us some sails to use!
It was pretty lucky that I got linked up with Rachel Green and Jessica Hirschbold, and they both agreed to travel to Vancouver to sail with me. Rachel has done some lightning sailing but Jessica and myself were totally new to it. We were very lucky to have many experienced lightning sailors share their knowledge and help get us up to speed with only a couple 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 it was to get things organized we never talked about 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 Ams.” – Luke Ramsay