Landon Chism

Landon Chism, scholarship recipient from LYC summer camp 2022, and he is continuing on with sailing. He sailed in the Open High School program this fall, and will continue on this Spring 2023. He is in 7th grade at New River Middle School, and enrolled in their Marine Science Magnet program. Landon loves all things in and on the water. In Landon’s free time, you can find him fishing in the canals, or boogie boarding at the beach. It is no surprise that Sailing has become a passion for him!

Gabriel Blandon

Gabriel Blandon is a 14-year-old Fort Lauderdale High School student who began sailing at LYC as a fifth grader, when he received a scholarship for participating in the LYCSF Summer camp essay contest. He is a brilliant young man who enjoys reading and playing soccer when he’s not sailing. Gabriel also finds time to volunteer with local non-profit cultural and community organizations. He has prospects of one day sailing around the world, which he’ll be able to realize, thanks to the ongoing support of the Foundation and his family, and especially his grandpa who first introduced him to sailing. This sport brings him much joy and pride, knowing he is doing something he’s good at and can one day share with others.

Amaya McDermott

Hi, my name is Amaya McDermott and I’m eleven years old. I go to Harbordale Elementary School. Our school is sort of ocean themed. Our cafeteria has fish painted on the walls, cute under the sea encouraging posters around campus and fishy decorations. I also own a boat [don’t tell anyone but when we go on it, I’m the one driving.] My parents nickname for me is mermaid although I can’t hold my breath very long . I have been in the ocean for as long as I could remember. Fun Fact: I have lost 3 of my teeth while driving my boat!!! I used to have a house in Key West. My dad and I used to swim under this lighthouse in the middle of the bay where we would find barracudas, jewelry, lemon sharks, marlins and more! Sad Fact: I cried for like an hour after I found out that we had sold the Key West house😟. Over spring break, I went to Cocoa Beach to go surf but then I realized….” I DONT HAVE A SURFBOARD!!!” So, me and another family that came with us went to THE RON JONS SURF SHOP to get me a surfboard and some board wax. Believe it or not I gave her a name, her name is Bethany Hamilton because the board makes me feel like Bethany. Once I finally caught a wave, I was riding it all the way to shore. I love love love the ocean, it has so many reefs, corals, and animals that are adorable. In my opinion I am the definition of salt life. I have a lot of experience with the ocean. If I get chosen, then you better get ready for a big ol’ brain explosion! “POW!!!” I am excited for some fun in the sun!!

Sincerely, Amaya McDermott

PS: I don’t know if you noticed but love animals and sunny days and surfing and……… well too much for me to write in a PS section.

Juan Perez

Juan came to YSF as a scholarship sailor in our 1-week summer camp in 2020. He loved sailing and enrolled in our Siebel Sailing Program in Fall 2020. YSF is one of 17 community sailing centers in the country selected to receive the Siebel Sailing Program grant awarded to those centers with diverse sailor rosters representing all segments of the community. Juan sailed free of charge in Siebel through spring 2021. In fall 2021 Juan was selected to join YSF’s elite Shelby Racing Team comprising our six most advanced Opti sailors. Shelby sailors practice 2 or 3 times a week and compete in regattas a couple of times per month during the school year. Juan has traveled all over the state of Florida to sail for YSF. This summer, Juan will participate in YSF’’s first summer racing program coached by YSF’s Roberto Ayala, the current Junior North American Star Class Champion. Juan is 12 years old and attends Gifford Middle School in Vero Beach. Juan loves going to work with his Dad when not sailing.

MAtthew Diaz

Matthew Diaz is 15 years old and is currently in 10th grade at Monsignor Edward Pace High School. He was born in Miramar, FL and lives in Pembroke Pines, FL. Matthew’s amazing sailing journey started at the age of 10 years old. Matthew has always been very athletic. When he was younger, he played many sports like baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, etc. If it was a sport and there was action, he was playing it. When sailing came into his life, something lit up inside of him, where he was more focused, enjoyed the work sailing entails, and eventually it became a passion for him. After Summer Camp, he started in the optimist Green Fleet Program, where he learned the basics with the most caring coaches.

Later, he was promoted to Bronze Fleet Program where his sailing skills went to the next level with the teachings of the best coach, who not only taught him how to improve his sailing, but important life lessons and how to be a better person. After Optis, Matthew moved up to 420’s/FJ’s and had the opportunities to sail 29er’s, Precisions, Hobie 21’s, etc. Ultimately, turning his attention to the Lasers boats. After one year in the Laser 4.7 program, he has moved up to the Laser Radial Team, enjoying the ongoing challenges of sailing at the next level and building new relationships with his teammates and coaches. This awesome trek would have never been possible without the support of the LYC Sailing Foundation.

LYCSF has been assisting Matthew from the beginning and it is because of the foundation that he gets to do what he loves. Being grateful for the many opportunities given to him, he is always willing to give back his time and loves to volunteer as a coach to junior sailors. Eventually, he wants to get his Sailing Coaching Certifications and teach future sailors. When Matthew is not sailing, he is a 2-year starter on his Tennis Team and Cross-Country Team at his High School, so the days are filled with training, practices, matches, meets. Matthew also is a roller coaster enthusiast, loves car racing (Formula 1 and Nascar) and enjoys EDM Music.

Cole Fanchi

Cole Fanchi is 13 years old and currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He started sailing Opti’s with Lauderdale Yacht Club at age seven by means of a scholarship from LYC Sailing Foundation. He was promoted to the racing team at age nine advancing through bronze, silver, and currently gold fleet with his continued growth within the sport. He has competed in venues across the United States, Spain, Bahamas, and Mexico. Cole has been Opti Team Racing for 4 years, recently promoted to LYC Team 1 in 2020. With this team, they have won two LYC International Team Racing Regattas, 2021 Nationals Team Racing, 2021 USODA Team Racing Mid-Winters, and the 2021 Berlin Opti Cup in Germany. He is honored to have been supported by the LYC Foundation for the last 7 years in the form of coaching support, travel support, and a new sail in 2019. Sailing has provided an opportunity for personal growth and achievement for Cole. This past fall, Cole won the 2021 USODA Southeast Championships in Charleston South Carolina. He looks forward to sailing in Spring 2022 at events including USODA Team Racing Mid-Winters, Lake Garda Regatta in Italy, and Team Trails in New York.

MAtteo Coates

Hello, my name is David Mateo Coates. I am 12 years old and I have been sailing Optis for five years. I was born in NYC and have also lived in Cambridge and Washington, DC. I am currently living in Key Biscayne, Florida. The first time I represented Team USA was in the summer of 2019, at the Volvo Gill British Nationals in Portland, UK where I placed 2nd. In the fall of 2019 I joined Lauderdale Yacht Club and shortly after I qualified for the U.S. National Team and for the South American Championship in 2019. I have loved sailing ever since my first summer camp five years ago. And I have a passion for team racing. When I’m not sailing I enjoy mountain biking and hanging out with my brother Noah. I am very excited to represent Team USA at Europeans this year.

Kaitlyn Hamilton

Hi my name is Kaitlyn Hamilton! I am a 17-year-old laser radial sailor at Lauderdale Yacht Club, and I will be a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in the fall. I started sailing at the age of seven in Charleston, South Carolina. I began sailing the Optimist alongside my sister until I was 13, then I sailed 29ers . At the age of 14 I switched over into the laser and I have been sailing that ever since…I am lucky enough to be able to travel to Lake Garda Italy this summer to compete in the Youth World Championships! I am also sailing in the youth world qualifiers soon, so I am super stoked for that. I also help coach the Mercury Mentor Summer Sailing Camp at the Lauderdale Yacht Club.

Gold Star Mom Thanks LYCSF and GSS

“Thank you all so much for doing this and continuing to spread awareness of what the Gold Star Sailing does for the children of the fallen. A few sentences, oh goodness that is a hard one as I could write a book!! Take what you would like…

A major take back from this program is the confidence and pride my children have had by GSS. The three of them knew nothing of sailing ,I got the texts saying mom what are we doing here this is insane, to overcoming struggles and challenges to maneuver a boat, working with a team, and at the end of the week sailing a boat on their own. (My daughter Bella, year one, timid shy and quiet to Patrick making her a counselor year three because he saw something in her that she didn’t. Now, Bella won’t stop talking and is involved with four clubs at college! ) We can’t forgot it’s about the lifelong friends they have made as well, these kids talk several times a month if not Snapchat weekly. Going from that first year nervous as could be traveling on a plane by themselves, to see ya in a week mom with a hug and now seeking out the fastest sail boat they have and being with coaches that inspire and push them to be better. To teach these kids you can overcome in grief and it’s ok to live life is what this camp means to my family. Friends, confidence in new experiences I could not give to my girls, strength, bonds, and the pride I see when my girls talk about GSS and what they accomplished themselves is what I cherish. They build and learn more each year and take all those things I mentioned and use it everyday in life. It may be only a week of camp but the impact of all of it is a lifetime. I know that’s a lot but I honestly can’t express my gratitude enough.

Again, I appreciate this opportunity you have given me and if there is anything else you need from me please reach out!”

– Becca, Gold Star mom of 3 daughters