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U.S. sailor in top ranks pays visit to Belize for vacation and training

by Forrest Jones 6 May 2017 21:27 BST 16 April 2017
Hanna Weaver © Belize Sailing Center

Hanne Weaver, a 21 year-old rising star in U.S.A. Womens' Olympic Class Laser Radial sailing, returned to Belize in mid-April for the 2nd year in a row. Ranked number 3 among U.S.A. women last year, she entered - and of course won - the Belize Sailing Center's annual Easter Sunday regatta, for the 2nd year in a row. Every Sunday, Laser, Optimist, and Hobie catamaran races take place in the waters behind the reef off the beach at Caribbean Villas Hotel in San Pedro. The Sailing Center keeps its fleets there and organizes training, as well as the races, which are open to all. There is a move afoot to call the Easter races the Hanne Weaver Friendly Open Invitational Regatta.

Hanne has returned to her home in the Seattle Washington area, but told us when parting that our waters behind the reef are ideal for her training purposes, so she is adding San Pedro to her list of regular training sites and planning to come more than once a year. In her thank you note, the ever-gracious sailor says "It was great sailing in Belize again! I can't wait to come back!"

As Hanne pursues her dream of sailing in the 2020 Olympics, her schedule of challenges is relentless. The start of 2017 found Hanne training in Miami with the U.S.A. Sailing Team. That tuned Hanne up for the January 24 - 28 Sailing World Cup Miami, the only North American regatta to be included in 2016-17 Sailing World Cup series. 51 women, among them some of the world's best in Laser Radials, used it as an early test of their prospects for the 2020 Olympic Games. Hanne finished 46th out of 51 and 8th among the 11 other U.S. entries. She treats it as an introduction, a compass showing the way forward to her goal. Hanne's next challenge was Clearwater Florida's February 22 - 26 Mid Winter East Regatta, in which she raced to 10th in the 51-boat Gold Fleet.

When not away racing or attending training clinics, Hanne lives at home in the Seattle area with her parents, Terry and Annette, and her brother Ted, and is an Assistant Manager at a Seattle branch of the renowned West Marine boating and fishing supply stores. Her employer enthusiastically supports Hanne's pursuit of international sailings' top honours; in fact, West Marine is now her sponsor.

A tireless Hanne proves worthy of West Marine's backing by hitting the gym for an hour or more 6 mornings a week under the world-class guidance of Anne Tunnicliffe, 2008's Olympic Laser Gold Medalist who now consistently finishes in the top 25 in the Crossfit Games. After work and on days off, Hanne sails for 3 - 4 hours out of Shilshole Bay 3 days a week. A member of the Seattle Yacht Club, she varies her sailing coaches so she can learn different perspectives.

Hanna's next 2017 challenges are the North American Championships in June at the Royal Victoria (BC) Yacht Club which is also one of her home venues, the USA National Championships in July on Lake Tahoe, California, and the World Championships in August in the Netherlands. Hanna is a charismatic ambassador of her sport and has won many fans here on Ambergris Caye, particularly among the Caye's young sailors and their families.

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