Meet the Queen’s Students Racing to Bermuda

HFOR Group

HFOR members Sophie, Julian, Liam, Sam, Luca, Clea, Jane

May 23, 2024

HoldFast Ocean Racing is a group of Queen’s University (located in Kingston, ON) students who make up the youngest team competing in the Newport Bermuda Race. After Queen’s Sailing secured the Canadian Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s national title for the 2022/2023 season these eight dream of continuing to sail competitively.  

HFOR is Partnering with Oakcliff Sailing an official training partner of America’s Cup team: New York Yacht Club American Magic to oversee the training program in Oyster Bay and in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Newport to Bermuda Race begins on June 21. 

Here are the sailors:

Clea Yates, from Toronto, honed her sailing skills at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (RCYC in Optis as a child. She transitioned to 29ers, 420s, International 14s, windsurfing, and the VXone.

Luca Graham from Nova Scotia and Chester Yacht Club after a stint in the C420 class, Luca began sailing Laser Radial. For the past three years Luca has coached sailing at Chester YC.

Julian Hill, born and raised in Hong Kong, Julian primarily sailed Lasers. He then moved back to Canada in 2021 and joined the Queen’s Sailing Team, leading them to the 2022/23 CICSA Championship.

Liam Toward’s sailing journey began in Rothesay, NB in 420s. His passion for the sport deepened in Calgary, in Lasers and coaching. In keelboat – a third-place in the offshore Vineyard Race sailing OC86, competing at a grade 2 match race in Oyster Bay, NY, and gold in fleet at the intercollegiate offshore regatta in Larchmont, NY.

Jane Butler grew up sailing dingys in Kingston 420s for many years. In first year university, she joined the Queen’s sailing team and now holds a position of public relations on the executive team.

Amelia Nugent, a San Francisco native, began sailing at 12 from the St. Francis Yacht Club.  Summers find her racing J/70s on the Columbia River with her father.

Sam Barbara began sailing at the Lunenburg Yacht Club in Nova Scotia racing Optis, 420s, Lasers, and later began to learn his way around a keelboat. Sam now studies Mechanical Engineering at Queens continuing with the Queen’s Sailing Team.

Sophie Carter is a skiff sailor currently campaigning with Emily Roy in the 49erFX. Sophie has raced in the Bluenose fleet at Chester Race Week and was tactician and trim spin at the 2023 IOR regatta in the j100, where the team ended up winning.

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