A freak-accident-type of an injury happened to Shannon Morris on Thursday, but it wasn't about to threaten her motivation to compete in a big-time regatta.
Morris, a 15-year-old skipper for Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, didn't want to let a painful foot injury keep her from sailing in the U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship.
The regatta, which features 39 elite-level teams and is hosted by BCYC, begins Tuesday and ends Thursday in Newport Harbor.
Morris has held off a doctor's visit, mainly because she didn't want to be ruled out, and is ready to represent BCYC.
"I'm really excited," Morris said Saturday during the opening ceremony for the regatta. "There are a ton of amazing girls, there are amazing coaches. We're going to be learning a lot. It's a really good experience. It's a fun regatta and we're lucky enough to have it at our home club."
Morris, who attends Halstrom Academy in Huntington Beach, suffered the injury during training. She said she was coming down from a ladder about to get to the dock when she fell into the water and was left with a cut on the bottom of her left foot.
She said there was extreme swelling too. She isn't allowed to compete with a boot on her left foot, but she can and will wear a brace. She didn't seem too worried about it and remained confident to excel in the regatta.
She is teamed with crew Holly McNamee, a 17-year-old who is from Colorado, where she attends Air Academy.
She has been visiting her grandparents at BCYC during summers since her childhood and began sailing when she was 10.
"I'm excited, especially coming from a different state that isn't well known for sailing," McNamee said. "There is a lot of responsibility [to represent BCYC]. It's a lot of pressure but I think we both do well under pressure."
McNamee and Morris, just as all of the 78 sailors, are staying with host families nearby BCYC. The BCYC girls are staying with McNamee's grandmother, Barbara Eden.
The pressure the two girls feel could be described as similar to what the Corona del Mar club has felt during the days leading up the prestigious US Sailing regatta.
"We've been working on this for 18 months," said Tom Madden, the BCYC commodore. "It's a process. We knew four years ago that we would have this regatta. There were certain upgrades we needed to make."
Among the upgrades included a metal ramp being installed for launching the 39 boats (420s) in the regatta.
Some of the local yacht clubs brought in boats for the regatta. There were 14 boats brought in on rental from China.
To help make sure things ran smoothly, Madden named Mary Bacon chair of the regatta. She is a former BCYC commodore and knows many sailors in the area, Madden said, making her an ideal chair
"She is tied in with everyone [past and present]," Madden said.
Jerry Shandera, who handles registration, has been a key person in the preparation, while Madden's wife, Mary, has been critical because she handles the housing with Ginney Eaton.
The Sailors come from all over the U.S. , from Maine, R.I., and Chicago, and Michigan, and some locals too (45 from California).
Local sailors include: Madeline Bubb (Balboa Yacht Club) and Eliza Moody (Newport Harbor Yacht Club); Clare Dahl (NHYC) and Chloe Dapp (NHYC); Kerri Luttrell (BYC) and Grace Vandervort (BYC); Kate Madigan (NHYC) and Katie Calder (NHYC); Lea Russell (BYC) and Victoria Russell (BYC); Carolyn Smith (NHYC/BYC) and Bayley Davidson (BYC); Simone Staff (California Yacht Club) and Alexandria Ivory (BCYC).
Smith and Davidson, competing in their fourth straight U.S. Junior Women's Doublehanded Championship, finished as last year's runners up, just one point behind the winning team on Lake Minnetonka, Minn.
They're definitely motivated to win the coveted Ida Lewis Trophy. It won't be easy.
"I would describe them as 78 champions," Madden said of the highly competitive field. "They are the best of what youth sailing has to offer in the United States."
Madden said the majority of the sailors go on to compete for top-level college programs, while some might even someday compete in the Olympics.
Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry attended Saturday's opening ceremony at BCYC, where he delivered a proclamation for the regatta.
"Newport Beach is proud of its sailing tradition," Curry told the sailors. "You are all a part of that great sailing tradition."