Raz Sayre, 13, Named Sailor of the Week for Heroic Rescue of Fellow Windsurfer

Raz Sayre, 13, Named Sailor of the Week for Heroic Rescue of Fellow Windsurfer

Raz saves
Raz Sayre and the fellow windsurfer competitor he rescued, Nicole Level.

Rasmus Sayre (Vineyard Haven, Mass.) is making quite the impression on the windsurfing community. Last month the 13-year-old finished second at the North American Windsurfing Championship Techno 293 U15 Fleet in Cozumel, Mexico.

More importantly, Rasmus was awarded the “Hero of the Week” at the event for his display of seamanship and sportsmanship in rescuing 18-year-old Nicole Level, Cancun, Mexico, who ended up winning the RS:X Youth Women’s Division. And now he has been named Sailor of the Week by US Sailing, the governing body of the sport.

Board Lost, No Life Jacket
The incident happened far outside of the course. Nicole’s board and rig failed, as she lost both of them in the big waves. Nicole feared for her life, because she wasn’t wearing a life jacket and was swimming alone after her board in the strong offshore current.

While Rasmus was rounding the final turning mark, he noticed Nicole waiving frantically in the distance. Rasmus abandoned his first place position and sailed out to her. “When I sailed to her she was without her board or sail,” said Rasmus. “I was shocked, because this was far offshore. It’s really deep there and it’s scary,” he added.

Despite her exhaustion, Nicole struggled onto Rasmus’ board. He tried to sail them to shore, but the large waves made it impossible, and they were being swept out to sea by the current. Fortunately, a fishing vessel came alongside, and Nicole swam to the boat and was safely taken in. Her board was never recovered. Rasmus sailed to shore alone.

“I learned from this to always wear a life jacket and always stay with your board,” Rasmus commented.

Rasmus mentioned that his first windsurfing experience came when he was 18-months-old with his parents Nevin and Stina. He was on an inflatable barge with a tiny sail that his dad made out of a window decoration. They were in a small, shallow, knee-deep lagoon. “I sailed along with a smile on my face and two gung ho parents chasing after me,” he said. Rasmus started sailing dinghies when he was six in Vineyard Haven Harbor.

Rasmus Sayre Nicole LevelRasmus’ family is highly involved in the windsurfing community. Stina was a top windsurfer in Sweden and Nevin is a five-time U.S. Windsurfing National Champion. His sister Solvig is working on an Olympic RS:X campaign as a member of the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.

Rasmus is looking forward to the Techno 293 World Championships in San Francisco this July. In response to what he enjoys most about windsurfing, Rasmus explained, “The joy of winning a race, and the moment when the spray splashes up and temporarily blinds you as you plain along flying on a windsurfer."

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