14 Questions to … Justin Callahan

Justin Callahan, at the beginning of January, with his twin brother Mitchell, won the Junior Worlds in Miami after an impressive series of races. His hometown is Miami, but he now studies at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he sails for the Harvard Crimson Sailing Team.

14 Questions to … Justin Callahan Image

Justin Callahan, at the beginning of January, with his twin brother Mitchell, won the Junior Worlds in Miami after an impressive series of races. His hometown is Miami, but he now studies at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he sails for the Harvard Crimson Sailing Team.

1) Your first time on a sailing boat?

My first time sailing on a boat was on the Sonar with my dad when he was training for the Paralympics when I was about four or five. I first started sailing by myself when I was around seven. Since then, I have loved every minute of being on the water.

2) Your first time on a Snipe?

My first time on a Snipe was the 2021 under 30 sniper got it in Miami. I have to thank Augie Diaz, Enrique Quintero, Kathleen Tocke, Charlie Bess, Ernesto Rodriguez and Arthur Blodgett for getting me into a class that not only has great competition but also great people. Anytime someone asks me what boat they should try Sailing next I always tell them the Snipe! Although I can only sail the boat 1-2 times a year, I always enjoy the serious sailing, serious fun mentality.

3) The most bizarre thing that happened in a regatta?

I have unfortunately dislocated my shoulder twice while sailing in regattas. One time was during the 2021 high school fleet race nationals, and the other time was during the 2021 US Sailing youth championships. While definitely the most bizarre, it was definitely the most painful!

4) What is the thing that most angers you in a race/regatta?

What angers me the most during regattas is when I cannot control factors that inhibit my performance. We compete in a beautiful sport where we control so much, but also control so little. We are at the hands of mother nature, and we are also at the hands of other boats. However, that is why I take every precaution into perfecting the things I can control, such as my diet, sailing mentality, boat set up, and equipment.

5) Which is the race/regatta that you remember with the most pleasure?

Any regatta I get to say with my twin brother gives me the most pleasure. Winning the 2024 Snipe Junior Worlds with your best friend by your side is indescribable. We were fortunate enough to have a successful 420 career together, and I hope to continue sailing with him in future regattas for the rest of our lives.

6) And the race/regatta you would like to forget?

I do not think there is a regatta that I would want to forget. I think there are learning opportunities in every regatta, especially the ones that you would like to forget. In fact, I know I think about my losses more than my wins so I think it is important to reflect And learn from all these mistakes that we would otherwise like to forget.

7) Your “dream in the peak”? (Your sailing dream?)

I have aspirations to continue my career in sailing. It is my goal to be on an America’s cup team as a driver, as well as work with Sail GP. Sailing is not just a hobby for me. It is something that I love and would do every day if I could. I have had the great fortune of having many mentors to be able to help guide me throughout my career, and I am forever grateful for them.

8) Sailing goals for 2024, and beyond?

Right now, I am focusing on my college Sailing career on the Harvard Sailing team. We have had great success so far, and I hope to continue to help the team over the next 2 1/2 years. When I am not with the Harvard team, you will find me sailing as many boats as I can get my hands on whether it is the Snipe, Etchells, J70, 69F, or hopefully one day, an America’s Cup Boat.

9) The most important people for you in sailing and in the Snipe?

The number one person who has had the most influence in my sailing career is my longtime coach Lior Lavie. He has shown my twin brother, Mitchell, and me how to not only how succeed in sailing, but also earn the respect of your competitors at the same time. We have been working as a team for over 10 years and I could not be more grateful for all the advice. He has given me to be a true sailor. another person that I am forever grateful for their mentorship is Augie Diaz. He is the person who got me into the Snipe and continues to always give back to youth sailors such as myself. He is truly an inspiration for many, and I cannot thank him enough for all that he has done for me. A final person that has had a lot of influence on my sailing career is my father, Paul Callahan. He was paralyzed when he was 21 years old, but that did not stop him from learning how to sail and compete in the Paralympics. He has shown my brother and me that there is no such word as can’t, and if there is a goal, and if you work hard enough, you will always achieve it.

10) Why the Snipe?

The Snipe is a boat that all people can sail. It is a great boat for post-collegiate and collegiate sailors. I don’t think you can get tighter completion than the Snipe class. Like I said, before, I owe all of my Snipe sailing to Augie Diaz, Arthur Blodgett, Enrique Quintero, Charlie Bess, Kathleen Tocke, and Ernesto Rodriguez. They have allowed me to keep sailing this boat, even though I can only sail it a few times a year given my college sailing schedule. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to compete in any Snipe Regattas!

11) Your perfect sailing venue and your perfect sailing conditions?

My perfect venue and conditions are a 15 knot easterly on Biscayne Bay! However, I am grateful for all the places that I have been fortunate enough to race and love experiencing racing venues.

12) Besides sailing which other sport do you practice?

Given my academic and sailing schedule, I unfortunately do not practice many other sports. However, in my free time I have started to get back into tennis.

13) Are you superstitious?

I was very superstitious in optis but have since learned that everything happens for a reason, and that there are so many things that we cannot control so it’s important to take everything with a grain of salt.

14) Your perfect holiday?

The perfect holiday for me is racing with my friends in a place that we have not been to before.



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