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Leo Boucher Mounts an Impressive Challenge to ILCA 7 Winner Ford McCann at Olympic Trials.

Updated: Feb 27

Photo by Lexi Pline | US Sailing

We caught up with AYC Foundation sailor Leo Boucher as he was driving his truck back from Miami with a Laser and a borrowed coach boat in tow. After a stressful, high stakes regatta he's tired but doing fine. It was a different experience because the US ILCA7 fleet doesn't yet have a berth at the Olympic Games. The winner will only become an Olympian if the US secures a berth at the Last Chance Regatta April 20-27 in Hyres, France where there are three open slots.

One of the challenges for Leo at the Trials was that it was difficult to put boats between him and the winner. Leo beat Ford in 8 out of 14 races but the top 5-7 boats were often spread out and ahead of the rest of the fleet. Leo had the lowest total score but the two drops put Ford ahead by six points. Congratulations to both young men in sailing very consistently.

Leo, 24 years old, is a recent graduate of St. Mary's College of Maryland where he earned All-American recognition and the Robert H. Hobbs Sportsmanship Award. He was pleasantly surprised when the President of St. Mary's College, Dr. Tuajuanda C. Jordan showed up in Miami to support him and wish him good luck.

Leo has been sailing since he was 8 years old and started racing Optis when he was 10. He began to think about sailing in the Olympics when he raced in his first world championship in Melbourne, Australia in 2020. But like most Americans it was school first, sailing second. So, he really only began his Olympic Campaign in the last year and a half.

Most Olympians are sailing full time. It's hard to have a job or go to school and compete at the level necessary to win a gold medal. Other countries give full time funding...sailing is a full time job. It's a different system than we have here and that, according to Leo, is the root of the problem with a lack of sailing medals.

Leo is appreciative of the "Tons of help the AYC Foundation has given. The fundraiser was cool and all the grants have made everything I've done possible. All good things come from the AYC Foundation."

Leo might end up going to the Last Chance Regatta to support his training partners Ford & Marshall McCann. We think the US would have a better chance of qualifying with Leo there to help. He isn't sure how US Sailing will select the three sailors to go and if there will be funding. Leo said, "I train with these guys and we kind of said whoever wins we would all go to try to qualify the country."

Other plans include possibly heading back to Yale to continue coaching this spring.

In retrospect it was probably not the right time to ask Leo about the LA 2028 games. There was a pretty long silence. But then he said, "There would probably be some big events here. That could be fun."

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