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Boucher Goes Back to Back

Leo Boucher ILCA standout and collegiate singlehanded national champion (St. Mary’s ) Leo Boucher grinds upwind with straight-legged determination. InterCollegiate Sailing Association

St. Mary’s standout Leo Boucher added another impressive win to his resume at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s Singlehanded Championship early in November (as did his U. S. Sailing Olympic Development Program teammate and Jacksonville powerhouse Charlotte Rose in the Women’s Singlehanded). Steve Rosenberg at Tajima Direct checked in with the newly minted champion, who as a representative for the United States at the upcoming Youth Pan Am Games, is on a roll.

How does it feel to win your second Singlehanded Nationals, back to back? 

I am super stoked to have won The ICSA Singlehanded Nationals for a second time. My coaches have told me I am one of only five people to have won the regatta more than once. What an awesome achievement. I am happy to see that the training and effort I have been putting in behind the scenes has paid off.  

Was there anything different this time from the last time you won? 

I approached this regatta the same way I approach every Laser regatta I sail. I showed up at the venue the day before the event to allow myself time to look over all my gear since this year’s nationals was a “bring your own boat” regatta. The event was a little more stressful this year than last time because my home sailing club [Severn Sailing Association] was hosting the event, so I had a lot of people that have helped me along my sailing career watching the results.  

You took last year off from college sailing; can you tell us a bit about that decision to take a gap year and how you spent it? You’ve recently been spotted in a Stars + Stripes and Ralph Lauren photoshoot… 

I did take a gap year and decided to keep sailing, training, and working…and met some great people along the way. I think it was a great decision for me because while college sailing was in a bit of a pause, I was able to travel and keep myself on the water elsewhere. I had a great opportunity to be a part of the Stars + Stripes team for a photoshoot for Ralph Lauren. An amazing experience. Then I sailed with the Stars + Stripes team for the 2021 Congressional Cup, which we won. Match racing is something new for me, however, I learned so much by sailing with the Stars + Stripes team and in this new discipline. 

What were the keys to your success at the Singlehanded Nationals? Speed, boathandling, strategy, tactics? 

Boatspeed helps win races. However, with a fleet like the one sailing at the Singlehanded Nationals, everyone is fast. I tried to have the mindset of finishing in the top-five every race. With no drops, having anything deeper than a top-five was going to add up quickly. I tried to position myself with conservative starts with a clear lane so that I could allow my speed to work for me. The fleet was smart, so it was about knowing the end goal and not focusing too much on the boats directly around me. Cultivating a pre-race game plan and trusting that I could execute that game plan was extremely important. 

You’ve been a fan of our Tajima lens technology for a while now, what are the most important benefits and advantages that our Tajima Lenses provide you?

The lenses are great—so sharp and clear. Knowing I can pop out the old ones when they get too worn and insert a fresh new pair of lenses in my frames gives me peace of mind. The range of lens options is amazing too. I have two sets of lenses from Tajima, so regardless of the weather, I know that I have lenses that will block out the glare, allow me to see the racecourse, and read the breeze for creating and executing on my game plan.

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