Owen Timms No Stranger to National Sailing Competitions


By Tom Rohrer

duncan sponsorThere’s something about being on the water that brings out the best in Owen Timms.

The 13-year-old, soon to be eighth grader at Nova Middle School, has gone from sailing enthusiast to amateur racing expert in less than half a decade.

olympia youth sailing
Owen Timms sails at Cascade Rocks in Oregon.

“I love being out on the water.  Sailing is one of the only sports to allow me to be out on water,” said Timms.  “It’s a challenge just being out there and I love that challenge.”

Timms is a junior camp instructor at the Olympia Yacht Club as well as a member of the OYC High School sailing team and the Seattle Yacht Club Junior Race Team.  He has traveled around the country to compete against the best young navigators in the country.

Timms enrolled in a sailing camp through the OYC at age eight and after receiving encouragement from former coach Jan Visser, he joined the Northwest Youth Racing Circuit.

“She wanted me to give it a shot,” said Timms of the instruction he received from the late coach Visser.  “Without her, I wouldn’t have had that chance.”

Along with the NYRC, Timms has traveled to Florida, California, Maine and most recently Sanford, CT., for the USA Team Trials regatta.  Later this week, Timms will head to down to Marina Del Rey, Calif., for the Club Flying Junior National Championships held Thursday, July 24 through Saturday, July 26.

Timms’s extensive national competition experience has not only made him a stronger sailor, but has brought him a boat-load (pun intended) of new friends.

“The bigger the regatta, the more experience you gain.  The competition is tough and you feel good just being there.  You gain more confidence,” Timms said of his national experience.

olympia youth sailing
Owen Timms took his first sailing class at age eight. Now 13, Timms is a junior instructor at the Olympia Yacht Club summer sailing program.

“I love meeting new people in new places,” Timms continued. “I have friends in Florida, Bermuda, all over.  It’s pretty weird to think that I wouldn’t have met them without sailing.”

While making friends is an objective for Timms at regattas, the main goal is to perform as well as possible.  Barley a teenager, Timms still finds the competition is a driving force for his passion.

“I love the competition.  The challenge really pushes you to stay focused (at regattas) the whole time,” he said.

In terms of national competitions, one of Timms best performances came in March down in Florida.  On the first day of the event, Timms boat finished 17th out of 260 vessels.

“That really boosted my confidence a lot,” said Timms. “It was a huge regatta.”

Though he has proven himself on a national stage, Timms has room for improvement.  No one recognizes this fact more than Timms himself.

“There are still a ton of things to work on.  My technique is not perfect, and really there’s always something to do,” he said. “There’s never been (a sailor) who has known everything.”

Timms has benefitted from coaching and instruction since his infancy.  He estimates he first went on his father’s sailboat at age two.  Six years later, he was enrolled at the OYC and has been absorbing tips and tactics along the way.

“I’ve had great coaching my whole life,” Timms said. “Seattle, Olympia and people I’ve met (at competitions), it’s all helped me get to this point.”

One such coach was Visser, the Olympia Yacht Club Sailing Director, who passed away in late April at the age of 73.

olympia youth sailing
Timms sails at Shilshole Bay in Seattle. He competes across the country in a variety of sailing events.

“She was the one that wanted me to try and go for it. I did, and now I’m hooked on it,” he said.  “I owe her a lot.”

Timms is also grateful for the sacrifices his family has made to allow him to compete at such a high level.

“Without my parents, I wouldn’t be able to go to Seattle almost every weekend or to the big regattas.  I think they enjoy it as well, but it’s a challenge for the entire family,” Timms said. “I really appreciate how hard they work to (allow) me to sail.  I have a little brother who is six, and he has to miss things too.  They all make sacrifices.”

Timms continues to make the most of his family’s sacrifices and appears headed on the right track towards a successful sailing career.   Even at a young age, Timms has set goals for himself and plans on accomplishing them in due time.

“I’d love to get into a great college that has a varsity sailing team. That would be perfect,” he said.

Until then, Timms will continue spending time in his natural element.

“I can’t get away from the water.  The wind, the views, the smells, I love it all.”

For more information on the youth sailing camps and lessons in Olympia, visit http://www.olympiasailing.com.


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