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Brothers from Heath are Butterfly Nat’l Sailing champs

From left, Geoffrey and Zachary Nelson celebrate winning the Butterfly Jr. National Championship in the Gaslight Village area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Photo submitted by Dawn Nelson.

(Heath) Fifteen-year-old Geoffrey Nelson, with his younger brother, Zachary, 12, as crew, won the 50th Annual Butterfly Jr. National Sailing Championship, held July 20-22 at Grand Rapids Yacht Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Nelson won the regatta with 1, 2, 2 finishes in a fleet of 48 boats.
 
To be eligible for the junior national championship, skippers and crew must both be under 18 years old. Nelson also placed 5th overall, Top Junior, in the adult Butterfly National Sailing Championship, with Geoffrey choosing to keep Zachary on the boat as crew due to heavy, shifty winds of up 20 miles per hour.
 
The Butterfly is a 14 foot one-design class scow sailboat that is traditionally sailed double-handed by juniors and single-handed by adults. Both the Junior national championship and adult (open) National championship are conducted concurrently, with the junior championship races held in the morning, and the open division championship held late into the afternoon.
 
This was Geoffrey’s first time to skipper the Butterfly in competition, but his second national championship in the Butterfly, as he served as crew for his elder brother, Stephen, when they won the Junior National Championship together in 2008.
 
Written and submitted by sailing mom Dawn Nelson of Heath.
 
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