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Sail Canada On Deck: Sam Bonin & Arie Moffat

by Sail Canada 5 May 19:23 BST

Sam Bonin and Arie Moffat have teamed up in 49er. "On Deck" conversation with the sailors from Ontario.

Arie, how long have you known each other and how did this team come about?

My first memory of Sam was at a youth training camp in Miami in March of 2017. Sam was sailing with his brother in the 29er and I was training in the i420 with my old sailing partner Pat Wilson. Later that year, we got to know each other better when we both qualified for the 2017 Youth World Championships in Sanya, China. In 2018, all of us moved into the 49er, so between 2018 and 2021, I trained and competed against the Bonins. Over that period, I sailed with a variety of partners, at first as a crew and then as a helmsman.

From my perspective, the first time there was a prospect of a partnership between Sam and I was in August of last year when Sam reached out and started a discussion about doing a campaign for 2024. I could not have asked for a better phone call because I had been struggling to find a committed sailing partner, not to mention someone I respected as much as Sam.

Sam, you had been competing with your brother Will since 2016. What is your brother up to now and why did the partnership end?

Will and I had a successful youth and junior 49er career. Together, we competed for Canada on the international stage sharing wonderful experiences over the years. In late 2021, we had to make a really difficult decision regarding the next steps of our campaign. I had just finished my undergraduate degree at Queen's University and was ready for a full-time commitment to sailing. For his part, Will had just finished his second year of engineering and was intent on continuing his studies for the next two years. With one individual being part-time and the other full-time, we realized this was not a recipe for success and made the decision to amicably part ways.

Will has now taken a step back from Olympic campaigning and has decided to coach youth sailors in the 29er program at ABYC this summer. I know those sailors are in great hands with Will as their coach.

Arie, since teaming up with Sam at the start of 2022, you've taken the second spot (and were the top Canadians) at the US Open, took the 17th spot at the Mallorca Sailing Center Regatta and finished 49th at the World Cup, again in Mallorca. Are you guys happy with your early success and how your new partnership has turned out so far?

From the beginning, the purpose of this partnership has been to become the best 49er team in the world. We have cultivated the belief that we can do this through our work on the water, in mental performance training, in the gym, in debriefs and by innovating in the way we train. It is inspiring that our initial results show we are on a good track, but there is a lot of ground between us and the goal. We are very lucky to have a training group of three strong Canadian 49er teams and an experienced coach, who all make each other better. I think that together, this group will go very far.

In the meantime, there are some exciting milestones to strive for. It has been 10 years since a Canadian 49er team has qualified for gold fleet at a 49er World Championships, and no Canadian 49er team has ever qualified for a medal race at the World Championships or the Olympics.

Sam, what skill has Arie brought to this new partnership that complements you within the team?

Arie is like no other individual I've worked with in the past. Partnerships in the 49er are interesting because you really get a sense of what motivates people and makes them tick. With regards to Arie, I have never seen someone as motivated and determined as he is. His ability to think outside the box and view situations via a different lens allows him to formulate an original solid plan, while his motivation and determination allows him to execute that plan with precision. I know that every day we show up at the boat park, Arie is bringing his 'A' game no matter what.

Arie, what skill has Sam brought that complements you within the team?

From my experience, what is unique about Sam is that he is simultaneously a great analytical thinker and a tough, steady competitor. This makes for an outstanding sailing athlete. In our team, Sam is in charge of equipment— tuning, rigging and boat logistics. It takes a huge weight off me knowing that Sam is going to do a great job in those areas, and I can focus on my own responsibilities.

Sam, do you think it will be possible for you both to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games?

Absolutely! Despite the Games being two years away and having a little more than eight months together as a team, it is completely possible for us to not only qualify for the Games, but also perform there. Having both already competed for 2-3 years in the 49er, it has taken us very little time to get together and start performing. We have a solid plan and training group which has already allowed us to make progress towards our goal. I strongly believe that by this time next year, we will be consistent top international performers.

Arie, how can the sailing community and supporters follow along and stay connected with your campaign?

We have decided to name our team SAMARI Sailing, which incorporates our names and is also a subtle nod to the historical warrior. We have just launched our social media pages and a WindAthletes donation page, where we will bring the community along for what is going to be a really exciting journey! Look for @samari_sailing on Instagram and Facebook.

Sam, what is the plan going forward? Do you have any big regattas coming up for which the supporters should be on the lookout?

The plan for this year is to sail as much as our bodies will allow. With the recent update to the 49er equipment (new mast and sails material, supplier and design), there is lots of testing work to be done on top of regular training. On the competition side, we have a big circuit coming up this spring and summer. This includes Kieler Woche in Germany in June, 49er Europeans in Denmark in July and culminates with the 49er World Championships in St. Margaret's Bay, NS, in late August. We are extremely excited to be competing on home turf! Stay in touch with our socials to keep up to date on our progress, results and moments.

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