USODA Horizon training clinic set

Published 11:49 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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Hatteras Community Sailing is holding a USODA Horizon clinic for local and regional sailors September 21-22, 2023. The USODA is the United States Optimist Development Association and the governing body of youth sailing for sailors from 8-15 years old sailing in the Optimist sailboat, which is the international standard training boat for this age sailor. Young sailors compete each year in national, regional and worldwide competition regattas in this boat.

The Horizon training program offers eager young sailors the opportunity to train with nationally ranked coaches and sailors from the US Optimist National Sailing Team. According to event organizers, the Horizon Clinic brings the highest level coaches and sailors to the local sailing organization on Hatteras Island. “Training with the nation’s best sailors and coaches will help our sailors grow and improve on another level. This is an unequaled opportunity for Junior Sailors on the Outer Banks, and I am so proud that we could put the opportunity together” said Hatteras Sailing’s program director Meg Phillips. The horizon clinic will take place at the Cape Hatteras KOA in Rodanthe a few days prior to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Regatta. The clinic will be coached by Juan Carlos Romero and MacKenzie McGuckin.

Romero is the North Sails Optimist head coach in North America. He is one of the most accomplished and experienced coaches in the Optimist class with nearly 25 years coaching experience. He has coached at many top programs such as the Annapolis Yacht Club, St. Petersburg Yacht Club, Lauderdale Yacht Club, Coral Reef Yacht Club and is currently the sailing director at the Key Biscayne Yacht Club in Florida. Romero has United States national teams in international events such as South Americans, North Americans and Worlds. “Juan’s experience and excellent demeanor combine to create a unique ability to explain the nuances of sail trim to young sailors, making him a one-of-a-kind weapon for us.” says Zeke Horowitz, North Sails class leader for the Optimist.

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McGuckin is the leader of Horizon Training Program and the director of the US Development Team. She has more than 10 years coaching sailing and working in various capacities for US Sailing including an instructor trainer. She is known to have a great way with the kids and a record of success encouraging young sailors to move to the next level, showing consistent success with sailors growing more confident and motivated after sailing with her.

The clinic will take place from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sep 21-22, 2023. Sailors can register for the Cape Hatteras USODA Horizon Clinic at Those interested in learning more about how they or a local junior sailor can get involved in Hatteras Community Sailing can go to to learn more. Meg Phillips can be reached at and 252-297-6665.