Salt in his Veins

Oak Bay teen named B.C. Sailing's outstanding youth of the year

Oak Bay racer Reece Myerscough rounds a mark during the 2014 US Nationals.

Sailing coach Steve McBride insists Reece Myerscough has salt water in his veins.

The Oak Bay 18-year-old takes to the waves in myriad ways, including kiteboard, surf board and laser sailboat, where he’s seen major success this season culminating the B.C. Sailing title of Outstanding Youth of the Year.

A mechanical engineering student at Camosun College, Myerscough was surprised but pleased by the award he attributes to a summer season of success.

“I like the racing, I really enjoy racing. It’s been a good summer for racing,” Myerscough said.  “You have to really know how to read the wind well and you have to be fit. I’m getting there.”

Fitness for him was the key to success and a focus this season. The teen added a few gym workouts a week and made sure to incorporate core exercises to achieve the goal.

“It’s time and effort, mostly. For me the biggest thing was fitness,” he said. “I can do really well in light wind events, as soon as the wind picked up I wasn’t fit enough to keep up. I worked on that this year and it paid off.”

He finished 16th of 150 boats in the Youth Laser Worlds this summer in Kingston, On.; second in youth nationals, losing top spot by only a few points; won B.C.s in Squamish and topped multiple local events in Vancouver. Previously he has competed overseas as well, once racing for a month in Malaysia.

“He’s very in tune with the environment and that’s very critical in this sport,” McBride said.

All his favoured sports incorporate the surf, currents, wind and waves; he’s an avid kiteboarder and surfer which both add to his understanding of the sea.

“All those things are connected. It’s a neat combination of all those sports, he understands stuff is happening before it happens,” McBride said.

“Reece takes risks, but he doesn’t because he understands what’s going on. People think he’s lucky but he’s not – he’s calculating. … You can’t teach that stuff.”

McBride, who has coached the teen off and on since Myerscough started the program at 10, is among the many who still guide the young Oak Bay man.

Myerscough is a member of both a Victoria and a Vancouver team. He trains with national coach Eric Stibbe, Al Clarke out of Vancouver and local RVYC coaches McBride and Erik Vanderpol.

“I think that’s one of the strengths of his program really,” McBride said.

“We say the same thing but it’s just how a different coach approaches something. He learns from everybody. … It’s like the village of sailing coaches raising the athlete.”

“His support network from his family is phenomenal. Reece is very aware of it and I think he’s very grateful for the stuff his family does to support him,” McBride said, adding the younger sailor also shows appreciation for his extended family of teammates and coaches.

“Reece is one of those guys who’s amiable and friendly, a joker on the dock. That lends a whole bunch to him, people want to sail with him, people want to train with him.”

Myerscough said he’s watching keenly as kiteboarding inches into the Olympic Games.

The International Sailing Association council voted in 2012 to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing for the 2016 Games – that decision was overturned later that year.

“That might be a goal, to qualify,” he said. “I really like surfing a lot, they all contribute to each other.”

Windsurfing, Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, 470, and 49er are all slated for this summer’s Olympic Games.

“That would be a phenomenal niche for him, he grew up with that sport, he’s been there since it started,” McBride said.

“He’s probably been at the forefront of it for a lot of it.”

The next big sailing event for Myerscough, if he attends, would be a February race in Florida.

The top BC Sailing award of Outstanding Youth Athlete recognizes performance, sportmanship and leadership.