Janov Brothers Take Second in Midwinter Regatta

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Janov Bros

Two Malibu brothers just took second place in the Southern California Yacht Association Midwinter Regatta. The prestigious sailing race was held in Mission Bay San Diego February 17 and 18. The brothers—17-year-old Ryan Janov, a senior at Malibu High School, and 15-year-old Grant Janov, a freshman at MHS—were among a class of 12 sailors all under 18 years of age. 

“The people that live there happen to be the best in the U.S., so we went to get really good competition,” Ryan said. Saying they are “happy” with their performance, the brothers said the regatta was difficult because the winds shifted so much. 

“Sailing inside (the bay) with all the buildings surrounding us made the breeze uneven,” Grant said. 

“[The wind] is hard to follow. The water was flat making boat speed relatively even amongst the boats,” Ryan said. “That means no one has a real edge so you need to place smart. The shifts are where you can gain a lot because you can gain a lot of leverage and end up ahead of people in one shift of the wind.” 

The Midwinter was also a physically demanding regatta of six- to seven-hour-long races.

The Janovs race a 29er—a 14 foot-long boat classified as a skiff. A skiff is characterized as very unstable and fast—the fastest boat one can sail as a youth. This was their first big regatta in a new boat just purchased in December. The two teens hauled and drove the boat alone for the first time ever. Mom Heather Janov described the rig towing the boat as “giant.”

After the feat of getting the boat to San Diego by themselves, Grant said their biggest challenge was facing two other teams that were “really important” to beat. “Arguably the best in the U.S.—teams from San Diego. We were trying to see how we’d line up with them and see how our training has come because we’ve been training for months by ourselves,” Grant said, adding, “because there’s not a lot of people that do this.” The brothers train in Santa Monica Bay. 

Being teammates as brothers has brought challenges as well. At first, the two didn’t get along, but soon it became smooth sailing. According to      Grant, “It’s very convenient sailing with a brother.” 

“Logistically it’s very good,” Ryan chimed in. “You’re very close, so logistically you can practice more. It took us a while to get along—maybe six to eight months to work together, finally. It’s really hard because we don’t have filters with each other. So we’ve learned to give each other a level of respect that’s necessary to work on a team. But, it was very rough in the beginning. We used to come off the water hating each other every day. Not any more though. Now it’s actually very good. We’re a team now. Now we come off the water happy and that’s why this regatta went well because we’re able to work together. It’s not two people sailing a boat. It’s one team.”

The team will be splitting up later this year, though. Ryan Janov has committed to George Washington University as a recruited athlete for its sailing team. 

“College sailing is all double-handed,” said mom Heather Janov, referring to two people sailing the boats.

Grant hasn’t figured out yet whom he’ll partner with, explaining, “Ryan and I have been working together. We have a very complex, but efficient relationship on the boat. 

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy to replicate that with anyone else,” he added. 

Asked about Olympic aspirations, Ryan Janov replied: “No, not right now. We do this for fun.” 

Grant Janov said he’ll think about it later. 

“It’s a pretty far distance out,” Grant said. “I think the opportunity might come to me in a couple of years where I might get that chance.” 

The Janov’s younger brother, 12-year-old Jordon Janov, has been invited to sail solo in a big regatta in Lake Garda, Italy. The entire Janov family will travel to Europe this spring to watch Jordan compete against 1,000 other skippers in the eight-foot long dinghy Optimist category.