Keeping it in the family key for Tabor
Tabor Academy sailing team captains Chase Cooper and Lu Lu Russell share a lot in common.
They are both passionate about their sport, harbour lofty ambitions and just happen to be the siblings of former Tabor captains MacKenzie Cooper and Logan Russell.
“It feels good that I’m following my brother so I kind of know what to expect and also following the sailing tradition that Tabor has,” Cooper said.
The Bermudian sailor is looking forward to his new leadership role in his senior year at the Massachusetts-based high school, who are the reigning regional fleet racing champions in the double-handed 420 dinghy.
“This is a good jump for me and I’m really looking forward to the experience,” Cooper said. “It’s a new team as we lost two of our starting skippers so I have my work ahead of me helping to mould and create a winning team.”
American women’s captain Russell is also looking forward to the upcoming season, which starts next month, and following in her brother Logan’s footsteps.
Russell and Cooper are among a group of Tabor sailors that are taking part in a spring training camp in Bermuda. They leave the island tomorrow.
“This is my first time here and I think the sailing conditions here are great,” Russell said.
Rob Hurd, the Tabor sailing head coach, said the purpose of the four-day camp was to get the sailors’ “feet wet” in preparation for the upcoming season.
“We worked on some boat-handling stuff and also worked on some individual stuff that will work out more towards team stuff,” Hurd, who competed in the 1987 Marion Bermuda Race, said.
The highlight of the whirlwind visit was been the chance to observe the America’s Cup Class foiling catamarans training in the Great Sound, venue for this year’s America’s Cup.
“We got to go out and see Oracle and SoftBank Team Japan and hopefully we get to go over and visit the America’s Cup race village and team bases,” Russell said.
Hurd added: “I’m not sure what they were doing out there. But they move fast and being that close to them was really cool and exciting for the kids to see that sort of stuff. It’s been a highlight for me, at least, for the trip.”
Former Tabor sailing captain Mackenzie Cooper is skipper of the Team BDA Red Bull Youth America’s Cup squad.
Yesterday he set aside time to pass on advice to Tabor’s varsity sailors.
“I wanted to talk to them about some team racing stuff and experience that I’ve had now that hopefully can help them out along their journey,” he said.
Cooper was following a long tradition of giving back to the school.
“We have had a long tradition of Tabor sailing alums going off doing other things and then coming back and sharing that experience,” Hurd said. “It really helps our kids visualise what pathways are available to them afterwards.
“Having the Kirklands [siblings Jesse and Zander Kirkland] go to the Olympics and kids going to Tabor and seeing that’s a possibility and now with Mackenzie doing the America’s Cup stuff really gives them options of what they can do afterwards, if they so choose.
“I’m not sure what skills I have imparted on Mackenzie that allows him to sail on the catamarans as fast as he does. But everybody has to start somewhere and it’s developing that passion and that love for the sport that’s important.”