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Youngstown Yacht Club

Team Zing calls upon Batavian Kegler Jr. to compete in Canada's Cup sailboat racing competition

By Mike Pettinella

Although he has “aged out” of his junior sailor role, Batavian Charlie Kegler Jr. made enough of an impression upon Team Zing owner Bob Hesse to earn a regular spot on the crew for the upcoming Canada’s Cup sailboat racing competition.

Last winter and this spring, Kegler (photo at right) handled the “floater” position for Team Zing, which represented the Youngstown Yacht Club at the IC37 Winter Series Lauderdale Cup race in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Kegler, who is entering his senior year at Batavia High School, figured that he wouldn’t be able to continue with that crew for this season’s races because he turned 17 in June – making him too old for the lone junior sailor post.

As fate would have it, however, one of the team members announced he would not be able to make the trip this year and stepped aside. Kegler threw his hat into the ring and, due to having gained experience in multiple areas on the boat, he was selected to fill the vacancy.

In his new “runner” role, Kegler will be called upon to trim the runners used on running backstays of offshore boats to adjust mast bend for different wind conditions.

The 26th Canada’s Cup will pit defending champion Royal Canadian Yacht Club, out of Toronto, against the Youngstown crew on Sept. 1-5 in Toronto.

“It feels great and I count it a privilege to be back with Team Zing after sailing last year in Canada's Cup and over the winter in Fort Lauderdale with all of them,” said Kegler, whose father, Charles, is vice commodore of the yard at YYC. “I am excited to be in my new crew position adjusting the running backstays.

“We have learned much more about the boat and proved we can win against excellent competition in the IC37 Class. We’re very confident going into this event.”

Kegler has fared well in other competition this summer, placing first in a Can-Am Regatta race on a J-111 class sailboat called Moneypenny, owned and skippered by Doug Clarke. He is part of the bow team on Moneypenny, manning the mast position.

Team Moneypenny is anticipating traveling to Cleveland later in September to race in the J-111 North American Championship and to Key West, Fla., in January for the Southernmost Regatta.

He also competed in the Junior Can-Am Regatta at YYC and in the 420 North American championship at the Buffalo Canoe Club, located at Crystal Beach, Ontario. The majority of the 420 fleet are collegiate sailors, many from climates that allow for year-round racing and practicing.

Previously: Batavia High student finds smooth sailing as junior member of Youngstown Yacht Club racing crew


Submitted photo: Charlie Kegler, in blue life vest, and his teammate maneuver their sailboat in waters off shore of the Youngstown Yacht Club.

Batavia youth's sailboat crew in contention for IC 37 Winter Series Lauderdale Cup title

By Mike Pettinella


Team Zing, representing the Youngstown Yacht Club, is in third place overall after two of three legs of the IC37 Winter Series Lauderdale Cup sailboat race in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The crew, which includes Batavia High School junior Charlie Kegler in the jack-of-all-trades “floater” position, competed earlier this month and did very well – placing first after day one and second after the second and final day.

When combined with results from the first leg last November, the team is third out of seven crews who will meet once again on March 18-20 off the coast of the southern Florida city.

Kegler’s father, Charles, said Team Zing missed out by a mere one second from taking the top spot on the second leg.

Submitted photo: Team Zing competing in the IC37 Winter Series Lauderdale Cup earlier this month.

Previously: Batavia High student finds smooth sailing as junior member of Youngstown Yacht Club racing crew

Batavia High student finds smooth sailing as junior member of Youngstown Yacht Club racing crew

By Mike Pettinella


Batavia High School 11th-grader Charlie Kegler is carving out his niche as the “floater” for the Zing sailboat racing team that will represent the Youngstown Yacht Club in the 2021-22 IC37 Winter Series Lauderdale Cup early next month in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The lone youth member of the nine-person crew, Kegler (at right in photo above) has excelled in a highly-competitive sport that demands sound judgment, quick thinking, strength and stamina.

Versatility is the key to becoming a successful floater, a position recognized as the glue that keeps the crew’s moving parts together. Going into his second year on the major regatta circuit, Kegler has proven himself worthy in competition as his numerous trophies would attest.

Kegler was introduced to the sport four years ago by his father, Charles, who serves as vice commodore of the yard at YCC.

In an interview with The Batavian (where he was joined by his father and grandfather, Bill), the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Charlie said that his participation in sailboat racing has enabled him to value teamwork and to speed up (no pun intended) his development.

“For me, sailing makes me feel like I’m in a different world,” he said. “It’s a sport that I enjoy, can be competitive in different ways and on different boats and with different people.”


Charlie’s dad got involved in the sport six years ago at the invitation of a friend, Shane Vanstrom, currently the junior sailing director at YCC.

“I sailed once and became instantly hooked,” Charles said, adding that in time he brought his only son along to experience the thrill of sailboating.

Charlie started in the junior sailing program where the goal, according to his father, is to emphasize the safety aspects of the sport while learning racing tactics and strategy. He quickly showed that he was up to the task, participating and winning in the 420 class (normally featuring two people).

This past summer, Charlie’s Zing crew competed in the Canada Cup Challenge and, although it didn’t win, plans to challenge the champion Defiant team, that includes four past Olympians, again this summer.

The Canada’s Cup, the second-oldest match race trophy in the world, started in 1896.


In the immediate future, Charlie and his team are ready to compete from Feb. 4-6 in the Fort Lauderdale regatta’s IC37 division. IC37 is the type of boat (at 37 feet) that the Zing crew and six other entrants will be racing. The other teams are from Fort Lauderdale, Newport, R.I.; New York City, Tampa, Cohasset, Mass., and Norfolk, Va.

February’s competition is the second of three legs of the Winter Series Lauderdale Cup – the first was in November, when Zing placed fourth, and the final leg is in March. The Zing crew is looking to improve its standing -- banking on the experience it gained from the first leg.

“We’re confident,” Charlie said. “We plan to go as hard as we can – max power.”

The team’s other members are in their 40s, with the strategist, Chris Doyle, in his early 60s.

Charles said that it’s rare to see someone as young as his son become part of an international crew, especially representing YCC, “which has a storied reputation from the 1970s of producing world class sailors.”


According to Zing Skipper Adam Burns, who started in the sport as a child, the Zing crew is fortunate to have Charlie as part of the team.

“He’s phenomenal,” said Burns, who recently was elected as commodore at YCC. “He’s a team player with a great attitude in a role that is very unique. Not many people can do that and it’s nice to have an agile junior sailor on board.”

Burns said sailboat racing has embraced a more diverse population in recent years, encouraging women and teens to be a part of what is considered an amateur sport.

“Two of our crew are women, plus we have Charlie, and I think that is admirable the way the sports has become more diverse,” said Burns, a wealth management consultant in Buffalo. “I didn’t have this opportunity growing up.”


To prepare for Florida trip, which could consist of up to 12 races in those three days, Charlie said he has been working out regularly at CrossFit Tsunami in Oakfield.

“It’s important to have arm strength to pull in the spinnaker (lightweight flying sail) and the retrieval line,” he said. “In my role, I have to move from position to position, help on the deck and with the mast team; whatever is needed.”

A B-plus student enrolled in the Diesel Technician course through Genesee Valley BOCES, Charlie is exploring his college options. While scholarships aren’t plentiful, there are opportunities for assistance at colleges with sailing programs.

Furthermore, someone knowledgeable in diesel engines would have a place working at boat yards as almost all of the sailboats are diesel-powered, said Charlies’ dad, who will be accompanying him on the Florida trip – cheering him on while keeping a trained eye on the team’s performance.


Charles and Charlie Kegler at the Youngstown Yacht Club.


Charlie going solo in small sailboat.


Overhead view of the Zing crew.


Charlie with some of the trophies he has earned as a top-notch sailor.

Submitted photos courtesy of Charles Kegler.

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