Andrew Kerr Interviews:
Payson Infelise and Jon Bell of Altitude Sickness
Payson (Middle) and Jon (Right)
This interview is the first of a series with the younger sailors in the
class who represent the future and growth of our sport.
These sailors are really really good and getting better all the time - one of
these teams is Payson Infelise and Jon Bell of "Altitude Sickness".
Along with Phillip Infelise, ( Payson's dad) the current S20 Class
secretary and a champion in a wide variety of classes - team " Altitude
Sickness " ( AS) won this years Golison/ North Sails race week and placed an
excellent 4th overall at this years Nationals in Marina Del Rey.
When you watch Payson and Jon sail you can tell they are totally natural
sailors with that ingrained small boat/ dinghy instinct for making any boat
go really fast.
They both sail lots of different boats - 505's, Lasers, 49'er's, 29'er's to
name a few and hone their skills in the great sailing waters of Long Beach -
the site of the 2004 S20 Nationals.
Jon was recently named the Long Beach Junior sailor of the year for 2001 and
both of them come from families with a long tradition of sailing excellence.
AK : Team AS has really come on strong this year, what has your team been
doing to accomplish this?
PI : Really we just made sure that the boat was properly prepared. We all have always sailed well together and with Jon up on the bow our crew work is perfect, so we weren't worried to much about boat handling. We got a new mast (the other one was dropped) and my Dad spent alot of time rigging and tuning it to our likings. Once we had the boat and rig set up properly with good sails, boatspeed was the only question. I think part of the reason we had decent speed was simply getting used to the feel of the boat over the past couple of years, and communication between the crew as to when and how much to ease in a puff or how flat we want the boat. Just simple stuff that we refined.
JB : We havenít really done anything special this year, to improve. This was our third year in the boat, the boat handling was never really a problem, more then anything Payson has finally found a groove and is comfortable in the back of the boat.
AK : You guys sail in a variety of classes. Tell us about that sailing and
how does the S20 compare? What attracts you to sailing the S20 ?
PI : You're right, both of us do sail in many different classes. We sail anything from small dinghys to fifty footers and the S20 is a keel boat that is light enough that you can sail it somewhat like a dinghy. It is a nice compromise. What really attracts me is I like the group of people in the class. When we started out and knew nothing about the boat, we started asking questions and had past National, World, and Olympic Champions willing to do what ever they could do get us up to speed. I am very thankful for that and hope we could possibly return the favor one day.
JB: Sailing the Santana 20 is totally different then everything else I sail except for the fact that is has sails. I sometimes have trouble with crossing situations, Phillip makes fun of me for this, Iíll look through the jib window and for 20 boat lengths I can say whether or not we are crossing, but with-in about 4 boat lengths I am used to boats converging at 20 knots and I canít tell at 5 knots if we are crossing. I sail the S20 because it is a fun change, sure you are not flat out on a trapeze doing 12 knots to weather but you get to watch the scenery for a change.
AK : Tell us about the match racing you have been doing. When you saw Cal Trans and Disaster Area match racing at the NaGolisonGolisone # 7 you were probably thinking about the moves i would imagine ?! !
PI : Most of the match racing that I have been doing lately is all Junior stuff. I am on the team at King Harbor Yacht Club and last Feb. we went to New Zealand for the Jr. Worlds and placed 4th. Jon and I sailed Gov. over the summer, (though for different teams) that is the U.S. Jr. Chamionships. Just recently I went with King Harbor to Cowes, (England) that event was 25 yrs and younger and we place 1st. That was a big regatta for us and we are very happy with the way we sailed. Well, my Dad or Jon will have to answer the question about race 7. I looked at those guys a little bit but I told Jon to keep a constant eye on them and make sure we were as far away as possible. I tried not to get involved.
JB : When we see others match racing we think it is fun and do talk about what we were doing but in race 7 at nationals the thing we talked about most was how are we going to stay away from those two.
AK : How does your sailing schedules look for this upcoming year, any
International or big events ? How about your preparation for the Nationals
in Huntington Lake in July of next year ?
PI : My sailing shedule looks very busy for the next year. I am starting college right now which includes practice three days a week plus regattas. As for big regattas, I just signed on with the Mission Bay team and we will be going to New York in the beginning of Oct. for the Prince of Whales finals. Over Thanksgiving week we'll fly to Aus. for the Harken Cup, then there is talk about the Hardy Cup in Dec. also in Sydney. And in Jan. hopefully Jon will join us to go to New Zealand for youth Worlds, also in Jan. my Dad is putting together a team for Key West, if it doesn't conflict I'd love to go.
JB : Next year I start school so my schedule looks a lot smaller then it did in 2002 but I would like to give Governors Cup another go, and plan to sail Schock Memorial and Golison in the S20 in preparation for Nationals.
AK : Any tips or advice you would give to younger sailors getting into the
S20 class ?
PI : Don't be afraid to ask questions and sail as much as possible.
JB : I think the best advice is sail as much as possible with as many people as possible.
AK : Any thoughts on a Olympic campaign ?
PI : Yeah, there are always dreams. I would like to sail a 49er but I'll finish college sailing first and then hopefully go from there.
JB : 2004 maybe I can get a half ass campaign going and get my feet wet in that arena, and if I like it use my full ass for 2008.
AK : Thanks guys, best of luck in your sailing.