Local sailor Cameron Gise, 12 yrs. old, has joined the US Optimist National Team (USNT) for 2011/12. Cameron began sailing an opti at age 6 out of Hobcaw Yacht Club. As Charleston Harbor can be a bit threatening and challenging for a young novice, he spent his first couple of sailing years testing the conditions and his skills under the watchful eye and guidance of his parents. It wasn’t until he was 9 years old when he had finally gained the confidence to begin competing but then a whole new beast was born. Cameron quickly joined a passion and joy for racing, competing in nearly every regional event of the sailing season. With less than two years of performing well at regattas regionally, Cameron gained a desire to compete at a national level and more intense training and coaching was needed to be competitive. He traveled to events from the Chesapeake to the Gulf coast and throughout Fla. and at age 11 qualified to compete for a place on the US National Opti Team in Houston, TX where he failed to qualify for the National Team. Cameron then spent an average of 2 weekends each of the 12 months (sun or snow) either competing or training under the guidance of a coach and with a new founded team (Optimist Prime Team) of youth sailors.
At age 12 Cameron again qualified to compete for a spot on the US National Team which was held in San Francisco in May 2011 and also earned a spot on the US International Team as 1 of 20 kids under 16 years old to represent the US at an event in Italy this past April. After returning from Italy he went to San Francisco, sailed in very challenging conditions (well prepared from sailing in Charleston and Italy) against the best 175 opti sailors in the nation and finished 44th–earning a spot on the US National Team (top 60 chosen) as well as another opportunity to represent the US internationally in Singapore. Congrats Cameron!