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McGranahan siblings finding their rhythm as sailing partners

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Quaker Valley's Declan McGranahan is a competitive sailor.
Quaker Valley's Declan McGranahan is a competitive sailor.
Quaker Valley's Declan McGranahan is a competitive sailor.

Declan McGranahan of Sewickley Heights had a new, but familiar, partner in the 420 French National sailing championship regatta July 7-12.

McGranahan, who will turn 17 on July 27, competed with his brother, Lachlain, 15, in a two-person dinghy.

McGranahan and Eduardo Mintzias, a teammate at the Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, where McGranahan trains in the winter, placed fifth in the U.S. Youth Sailing Championship-International 420 event in June in Corpus Christi, Texas.

But Mintzias is heading to college, forcing McGranahan, a rising senior at Quaker Valley, to find a replacement.

The siblings came in 37th but hope to do better.

“It wasn't our best regatta,” Declan said. “We had a rough last day and dropped a lot of spots. But we learned a lot that we will use to improve.”

Lachlain, who will be a sophomore at Quaker Valley, enjoyed sailing with his brother.

“It was a great learning experience,” he said. “I hope to continue sailing with him in the near and far future.”

Kevin Burnham of Miami Beach coaches the boys and expects them to blossom.

“(When) Declan started sailing with (Mintzias), he was new, (but) Declan would get it,” Burnham said. “His technique is all coming together. Same way (for Lachlain). (These) kids are very bright.”

Declan, who began sailing with his father as a 4-year-old, has been competing in larger events. He and Mintzias are entered in the 420 Open European Championship from July 22-30 in Greece.

He hopes to qualify for the International 420 Class World Championship this winter in Australia. His long-range goal is to make the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team.

Burnham, a two-time Olympic medalist in the 470 two-person dinghy men's category, said Declan has a bright future.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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