U.S. J/24 KELLY HOLMES-MOON YOUTH GRANT PROGRAM
What is the U.S. J/24 Kelly Holmes-Moon Youth Grant Program (“Grant Program”)?
The Grant Program is supported and promoted by the U.S. J/24 Class and is designed to assist and mentor young sailing teams wanting to take their program to a higher level of competition. Program recipients are selected by a panel of experienced J/24 sailors based on the proposals that each team submits and through an interview process. The Grant Program is tailored to each Grant recipient based on their various needs, and you will be partnered with a J/24 Class Mentor. Grant recipients should have access to or own a class-legal J/24 and have a team that can meet the maximum crew weight of 882 lbs. The Grant Program year will begin on February 1st and end December 31st of the Program year.
How did the Grant Program get started?
As with any program, there needs to be a vision by a leader to make things happen. In the case of the Grant Program, there are two leaders who made this possible, Kelly Holmes-Moon, the namesake of the program, and Dave Eggleton, who donated the first boat, USA 423, to the Program. Along with the gracious monetary donations to the Class on behalf of the Grant Program, once the boat donation was completed, we were able to get the Program up and running for the first recipient in 2017.
In 1981, Kelly saw one of the first J/24s that had landed in Texas, and from that point on he professed that someday he would own a J/24. Kelly began competing in the Texas J/24 Circuit as a crew member in 1998, and in 2001, Kelly became the owner/skipper of USA 267, which he named Bad Moon. Kelly spent the next 15 years serving the Class in several capacities such as Captain of Fleet 163, Governor of District 14, EC Governor-at-Large, and U.S. Class President (2011 to 2012). In 2013, Kelly was designated the Copyright Holder’s Representative by Rod Johnstone. Kelly’s long-term commitment to the J/24 Class extended to coaching the University of North Texas Sailing Team, and providing his J/24, Navy Blue Faded Lady (USA 94) for them to compete. He has always been a proponent of teaching and providing sailing opportunities for youth and college sailors, and of course, a big champion of the J/24. In 2016, at the age of 53, Kelly lost his 16-month battle fighting cancer, but true to form he continued racing competing two weeks prior in the Texas Circuit.
Dave Eggleton from Parkton, MD graciously donated J/24 USA 423 to the Class in 2016. Dave, a 20-year J/24 sailor, purchased USA 423 from long-time J/24 racer John Wilsey from Cape May, NJ and went on to compete in venues such as Annapolis, Florida Midwinters, Lake George, and Charleston Race Week, to name a few. USA 423 had a great racing history and even though it was an earlier built boat, Dave kept the boat meticulously maintained and upgraded. Dave’s donation was his way of paying it forward so that youth sailors could get involved in sailboat racing. He recognized that if we don’t get the youth exposed to sailing, there won’t be future sailors. USA 423 was part of the Grant Program’s platform from 2017 to 2021 when the boat was provided to the Grant recipient to use during their Grant Program period. In late 2021, however, the Grant Program Committee revamped the Grant Program and sold USA 423 to help fund and support more Grant recipients each year. USA 423 was subsequently sold to youth sailor James Thurlow, who was one of the two Grant recipients in 2022. The Class thanks Dave immensely for his generous donation as it allowed us to initiate AND improve the Grant Program for years to come.
Another big contributor to the Grant Program is Will Welles of North Sails. Will has been part of the Grant Program Committee since its inception, and has been integral in making sure that the Grant recipients were as competitive as possible. Through the generous donations by North Sails, Will facilitated a set of brand new and practice sails for each recipient during the 2017-2021 program. Will and North Sails will continue to provide support to the Grant Program by offering discounted or donated lightly used sails to the Grant recipients, as needed.
Kelly, Dave and Will personify the ultimate commitment to the Class. Their contributions have allowed the U.S. J/24 Class the opportunity to support youth sailors in their quest to gain the experience needed to escalate their level of competitiveness and to inspire them to accomplish great things in the sailing world, which is integral to keeping our great sport of one-design racing alive.
U.S. J/24 Youth Grant Program Recipients
2017-2018 Brendan Feeney, Jacksonville, FL
2018-2019 Kira Munger, Oswego, NY
2019-2020 Matt Miranda, Ronkonkoma, NY
2020-2021 Erica Trejo, Chicago, IL
2022 (1) James Thurlow, Columbia, SC
2022 (2) Joseph Murphy, Patchogue, NY
2023 (1) Drew Blackburn
2023 (2) Connor Raham
2023 (3) Telmo Basterra
Who should apply?
You should apply if you are between the ages of 18 and 30 and you have access to or own a J/24. Your team should consist of 4-5 people of the same ages, with an allowance for one “mentor” crew member that can be over the age of 30. When competing, all crew should have a combined weight no more than 882 lbs. You and your team should be motivated to take on the challenge of traveling and competing in one of the most competitive one-design classes in the United States.
What do I get out of the Grant Program?
By competing in one-design J/24 regattas, you will have the opportunity to learn how to make your boat faster, improve sail trim and rig tuning, learn how to shift gears with better fleet management, compete in longer courses, and hone your tactical and strategic decision-making on the racecourse. The J/24 Class boasts an impressive pedigree of top one-design sailors whom you will not only race against, but will also certainly learn from.
The Grant Program is tailored to help its Grant recipients attend regional and national events and encourages teams to strive for participation in upcoming Worlds events. While there is no specific list of what the Grant Program gives to Grant recipients, at a minimum the Grant Program will:
- Coordinate with event organizers for J/24 national and regional regattas to reduce or waive of regatta entry fees
- Coordinate with local hosts for lodging at J/24 national and regional regattas
- Assist with obtaining reduced price or donated lightly used practice or racing sails
- Assign a J/24 Class Mentor to help get you along the way, connect you with coaches and vendors to upgrade your boat and coordinate measurement of your boat
- Assign a Regatta ambassador(s) to help you with regatta logistics
- Upon approval, provide financial assistance to offset certain regatta expenses
The J/24 Class is known for its worldwide competition, and its Class members share the desire to teach newcomers and fellow competitors how to get the most out of their boat. From one-on-one discussions to group chalk talks, the J/24 Class members strive to keep everyone up-to-date on all things J/24 so that competition continues to improve, and the Class continues to grow.
Many of the top one-design sailors in the U.S. have J/24 experience and include multiple World, National AND Olympic winners, such as Paul Foerster, John Kolius, Mike Marshall, Keith Whittemore, Carter White, Will Welles, Mike Ingham, John Mollicone, Terry Hutchinson, and Tony Parker. These are just a few of those top sailors, and many still race today.
What are the Grant Program Expectations?
As a Grant recipient, you will be required to:
- Become a full member of the U.S. J/24 Class
- Your team will become associate members of the U.S. J/24 Class
- Report to your assigned J/24 Class Mentor and Grant Program Committee member MONTHLY during non-regatta months and BI-MONTHLY during regatta months
- Write the following articles throughout your time in the Grant Program:
- Intro about being chosen as a recipient of the Grant Program
- Event wrap up after each participating event
- What you and your team have experienced racing the J/24
- Post videos and updates on the Grant Program Facebook page
- Always exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and responsibility
- Any fundraising programs (such as GoFundMe) should be presented to the Grant Program Committee for pre-approval
How do I apply?
Applications are accepted BETWEEN NOVEMBER 1st AND DECEMBER 1st. Applicant and team members must be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old during the Grant Program year.
- Complete the J/24 Youth Grant Application Form. It is recommended that you type up the requested information below in a separate document and copy/paste them into the Grant Application Form.
- Submit a Cover Letter that outlines the following:
- Why you want to participate in the J/24 Class
- Why you would be an ideal Grant Program recipient
- What receiving the Grant would mean to you
- Your sailing resume, including fleet size and finishes and a summary of your teammates and their sailing resumes
- Your designated J/24 Fleet number and location
- Your proposed J/24 regatta schedule
- Your anticipated budget and sail inventory status
- Three (3) sailing references with contact information. Letters of recommendation may also be emailed to the J/24 Office at email@example.com
Your completed Grant Application must be submitted by 11:59 EST on December 1st, 2023. You may send additional supporting documents via email to the J/24 Office at firstname.lastname@example.org and include “Youth Grant Application” in the subject line. Late applications will not be considered.
Grant Program Application Timeline:
November 1st – Application for following year’s Grant Program opens
December 1st – Applications for following year’s Grant Program due by 11:59 EST
December 15th – Grant Program Finalists and Class Members are notified
December 27th – Finalist Interviews conclude with Grant Program Committee
Jaunuary 1st – Announcement of current year’s Grant Recipient(s)
How does the application process work?
The Grant Program Committee consisting of four (4) or more J/24 sailors will review all valid Grant Applications and any additional information that has been submitted timely. The Grant Program Committee members are subject to change, but includes:
Molly White (ME) – Email
Tonja Sanchez (Holmes-Moon) (TX) – Email
Will Welles (RI) – Email
Marcus Rogers (IN) – Email
Dan Busch (NJ) – Email
Tony Parker (MD) – Email
Finn Hadlock (ME) – Email
Matt Miranda (NY) – Email
The importance (weight) of each of the categories outlined in the Grant Application is graded on a point system as outlined below.
10 points: Cover letter
25 points: Strength of resume for applicant
15 points: Three (3) recommendations. No recommendations from relatives will be considered
10 points: Information about your teammates and their sailing resumes
15 points: Projected Regatta Schedule
10 points: Projected budget
5 Points: Proximity to an existing J/24 Fleet
10 points: Comments from Class and Grant Program Committee members
10 points: Finalist Interview
Once the Grant Applications have been scored, the names of the top finalists will be announced to the U.S. Class members and subsequently interviewed by one or more Grant Program Committee members.
The Grant Program will begin on February 1st and end on December 31st of the Program year. The Grant recipient(s) will be notified by February 1st.
The number of Grant recipients may vary from year-to-year based on the pool of applicants and the budgets set forth by both the recipients and Grant Program for that year. Applicants can apply more than once, but can only receive up to two (2) Grants.