Chapman Petersen ’22 enjoyed a highly successful summer of sailing, winning both the US Youth Championships and the Laser North American Championships.
Sailing in the Laser Radial division in both events, Petersen captured the Youth Championships with a narrow three-point victory over runner-up Will Foox. He said that winning the event was especially meaningful for him because of its historical significance.
“Looking back at the list of past winners, there are many Olympians and Olympic medalists,” he said. “Putting my name on that list has been one of my goals since I was a young child, and accomplishing this goal created emotion I had never felt before.”
He followed up that achievement with a second title in July, winning the Laser North American Championships. In that event, sailors raced through a grueling 11-race schedule over four days. Petersen produced eye-popping results, finishing in the top three in each of the first eight races out of a field of more than 80 sailors.
“Thinking about the term ‘North American Champion’ used with my name is unreal and very humbling,” said Petersen. “The satisfaction lasted through that night, and I will never forget waking up the next morning and thinking: ‘Did that really happen?’”
Petersen credited fellow Bearcat Oliver Hurwitz ’21, who represented the United States at this year’s Youth World Sailing Championships, with helping him achieve these results, adding that he dreams that both might race for Team USA at the next world championships in Brazil.
Besides bringing home the hardware, Petersen said racing against a community of elite sailors provided him with an unforgettable experience. “While ruthless and aggressive on the water, off the water, we converse and laugh, sharing our common interest in our love for the sport. The memories and friendships made through the sport are unlike anything else I know,” he said.
He added that he hoped that he might share some of his experiences this summer with the rest of the Hotchkiss sailing team, and that his goal was to help the team represent Hotchkiss at next spring’s high school national championships.