Jack Johansson, 13, of Coral Gables is a competitive sailor, representing the Coral Reef Yacht Club and the US National Optimist Sailing Team, and he had a stellar summer.
In June, Jack was one of seven U.S. sailors from 220 to qualify and compete at the Asian Optimist Championship in Trincomlee, Sri Lanka. Against the top world sailors in the Optimist class, he placed fifth. He even finished ahead of the Singapore sailor who was third at the World Championship in the Dominican Republic.
While in Sri Lanka, Jack and his U.S. teammates visited the Sunshine Children’s Home, a place for orphans from the 30-year long civil war as well as the Tsunami. They brought them school supplies and money they raised. They also spent the afternoon playing cricket with the orphans. In addition, they planted trees to commemorate their visit and show their appreciation to the Sri Lankan Government.
In August, Jack won his class at the USODA New England Championship in Newport, R.I. The race was part of Sail Newport, a weeklong competition of several classes.
In what was the largest youth sailing regatta in the country, Jack bested 320 other sailors for the title. Jack’s coach, his older brother Nathaniel, kept him calm and confident throughout the event. After day one, Jack was tied for first. He took a three-point lead by the end of day two.
On the final day, Jack started terribly, putting him at the back of the fleet. He made up speed quickly without much breeze in his sail. He tacked far out to the right of the course where he was lifted by a wind shift to reach the Top 15 boats by the top mark. He passed a few boats on the reach and a few more on the downwind, placing him in the Top 5 with one more upwind to go. He played the shifts to his favor, bringing home the come-from-behind victory.
Jack is an eighth grader at Gulliver Academy in Coral Gables. Gulliver started a competitive sailing program in the 420-fleet at the high school level. It also offers training in the Optimist fleet in middle school to prepare the students for high school competitive sailing. Jack looks forward to competing for his school in the future.
• Jack’s older brother, Nathaniel, 17, recently took his Private Pilot Check Ride. Upon successful completion, he is now the youngest pilot in the United States, according to his mom.
At 14, Nathaniel decided he would be the youngest pilot in America. Despite the high school workload and busy sailing schedule, he consistently and passionately worked toward that goal. He is a junior at Ransom Everglades High School.
The Belen Jesuit high school varsity boys’ cross-country team captured its fourth Flrunners.com Invitational team title at Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville.
The Wolverines averaged 15:59, the fastest team average of a meet that included 146 high school varsity teams.
Belen senior Avery Lopez was second of 183 runners, completing 3.1 miles in a personal best 15 minutes 13 seconds. Lopez led the Wolverines which scored 87 points in the invitation-only Race of Champions.
Teammate Fabian Tomas was ninth in 15:42. Andres Fernandez (22nd in 16:10), Ryan Rodriguez (29th in 16:16) and Michael Magoulas (40th in 16:35) rounded out a strong effort.
Belen is the winningest team in the 13-year history of the event.
• Belen’s junior varsity team finished first of 37 entrants. The Wolverines top seven runners were in the Top 10.