By Scott Alan Salomon | Feb. 04, 2015, 10:04 a.m. (ET)
Caleb Paine competes in the Finn at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami on Jan. 27, 2015 in Miami, Fla.

MIAMI – Caleb Paine, a U.S. sailor who participates in the Finn event, had more to overcome this week at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami than most sailors in his category. He had to fight the treacherous winds that the sailors found in South Florida, but he also had to fight his boat. He had technical difficulties that caused him to withdraw from the second race on the first day. He could not make that ground up and finished ninth in the event.

Paine suffered a broken boom on his boat and was unable to recover and finish the first race. The boom is attached to the mast and gives the sail its shape and assists in allowing the wind to pass through the sails. Without the boom, he was unable to generate any wind and the boat would not be able to be navigated through the waters. 

Paine equated the broken boom to a baseball batter cracking his bat at the plate.

“You cannot hit a baseball with a broken bat, and you cannot go sailing with a broken boom,” Paine said. “It just does not work, even under the best of circumstances.”

He had to have his coach tow him in. He was able to borrow a boom from a friend to get him through the remainder of the week.

“It didn’t go as well as I would have liked due to the equipment difficulties,” he said. “I fought the entire time out there and did the best that I could, but when the boom breaks, it’s all over for the day. There is nothing that you can do.

“Considering the mishaps and the broken boom and the erratic weather, I would say it was a good week overall.”

Paine, who owns the boats that he uses in the races, said that the boats that he will use for training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are brand new and are in perfect shape. But this boat, he said, will have to be sold, and he will need a new one. A new boat, he said, will cost $28,000, which would include a new mast and boom. That is money that he does not have. He will sell his existing boat for about $11,000, but he does not know where the difference will be made up.

“It’s been instilled in me that you never give up,” he said. “You always look to continue the grind and continue to love up the ladder and that is what we are going to do. As long as I continue to keep training and I continue to perform as I have been, I will be going to the Olympics in 2016.”

Paine is ranked second in the world in the Finn, which is the men’s heavyweight class. He ranks only behind Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, a sailor from Croatia.

“I am still pretty pumped after this performance,” said Paine, who hails from San Diego. “The last five years of my life are finally coming together and they will culminate in 2016 when I represent my country in the Olympics.”

Paine will go to Australia to train with Jake Lilly, who competes for Australia, and he will then participate in various races around the world until the U.S. time trials take place in 2016. Paine said that he will be ready to face the challenge.

“I will be working very hard to get on that podium. I will not forget what I am there to accomplish, and I remember how I poured everything that I have into what I do,” Paine said. “I was expecting to finish in the top three in this event, this week, but given the circumstances, and everything that happened, I still feel like there is a silver lining in the cloud.”

Scott Alan Salomon is a writer from the Miami area. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.