U.S. identical twins leading the Women’s 420 class

Posted at 3:34 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 16:34:27-04

"They’re sailing to where they need to be sailing," says US coach Stephen Keen.

At the top of the leader board of the Youth Sailing World Championships, 420 women’s class, is team USA’s Carmen and Emma Cowles.

"So she drives and I’m on the trapeze in front of the boat,” says Emma Cowles. “We have alternating roles depending on what angle of sail we sail.”

If you have not guessed, they are sisters.

"Very few people sail their whole 420 time with the same partner,” says Cowles. 

Better yet, they are identical twins.

"Just being twins and also knowing each other well, it’s fun,” says Carmen.

"The sibling dynamic is pretty difficult at sometimes, but it’s pretty powerful," says Keen.  

The 17-year-olds from New York have been sailing since they were nine.

"We always had a training partner… we were always competing against each other,” says Cowles.

After competing individually, nationally and internationally, they teamed up for the 420 sailboats at age 15.

They have won several regattas, including last year’s world championships in China.

"Being able to do something together and have success in it is really nice,” says Cowles.

Their success stems from hard work.

When they are not doing school-work, they are training.

"Hours on the water,” says Cowles.

"A training session which will be both Saturday and Sunday, they arrive on the boat park at say 8:30 in the morning and we’ll be done when we’re done which could be 6 p.m. could be 7 p.m.," says Keen.  

They also participate in several competitions every year.

"Nationally we generally have like four or five a year, and internationally this year we’ll be doing three," says Cowles.

Their secret is being present in the moment, one race at a time.  

"Just enjoy it, and then, in the end, you look back and you’re like oh my gosh, we just competed again and represented the US,” says Cowles.