2016 US Olympic Team - Nacra 17 Helm - 8th overall Rio 2016
2016 US Sailing Team (Nacra 17)
2013 Moth World Champion
2009 Moth World Champion
2009 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year
Both of Bora’s parents were sailors and they introduced him to windsurfing at age four, giving him a golf umbrella to use when a suitable-size rig was not available. After growing up in Ann Arbor and Detroit, it was not until he attended the University of Michigan (where he graduated from in 2001 with a degree in Aerospace Engineering) that he actually set foot in a dinghy.
From his late start in dinghies during college, Bora went directly into crewing on a 49er to take aim at the 2004 Olympics. After his 2004 Olympic bid, he raced Melges 24s and considered going back to windsurfing with an Olympic campaign in the RS:X. Then he read an article by Rohan Veal about the foiling Moth which led to his watching YouTube videos and reading blogs and articles on this new technology. The Moth was the next logical step for a speed-obsessed sailor like Bora, so despite having never sailed the very challenging boat, he put a deposit on a Moth.
Not long after, in 2009 he became Moth World Champion and was selected as the 2009 Rolex US Yachtsman of the Year. Impressively, he then repeated the world title in 2013.
Bora was also set to sail in the 35th America’s Cup in 2017, aboard the Italian boat, Luna Rossa, before they withdrew from the competition. Enticed by the idea of an Olympic dinghy campaign, the Nacra 17 was the obvious choice for him, with its speed, technical aspect, and level of competition. He and crew Louisa Chafee finished 8th at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
For the 2017 season he was helmsman on the Quantum Racing TP52.
2016 US Olympic Team - 49erFX Crew - 10th overall Rio 2016
2015 Pan American Games Bronze Medalist
2013, 2014 ICSA Academic All-American Sailing Team
2013 Stanford Athletics Outstanding Female Junior
2013, 2015, 2016 US Sailing Team (49erFX)
2010, 2012, 2014 US Sailing Development Team (29er, 49erFX)
Thanks to her father and summer sailing camps at Sail Sand Point and Seattle Yacht Club, sailing has always been a part of her life growing up in Seattle. However, she got a late start on competitive racing because of a soccer-obsessed childhood. Sailing her first regatta when she was fifteen, her 29er racing career took off quickly and soon she was selected for the 2010 US Sailing Development Team.
Helena graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 2014 with a B.S. in Biomechanical Engineering. She competed for the varsity sailing team all four years, including leading as co-captain for two years and competing in 10 National Championships for Stanford.
Prior to 2012, in the Olympics there was no skiff sailboat for women. When the 49erFX was selected for the 2016 Olympics as the Women’s High Performance Skiff during her sophomore year, she finally had a path to fulfill her dream of competing in the Olympics. Excited and determined, she began training in the 49erFX in addition to balancing varsity sailing and engineering coursework.
Helena teamed up with Paris Henken in March 2013. In December 2014 they put their educations on hold to train full-time, and it paid off. Paris and Helena won a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and finished 10th overall at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where they delivered a career-best performance.
After the Olympics she returned to Stanford to do her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering (concentration in Mechatronics) and graduated in June 2017. She is passionate about empowering girls and women in STEM and sports.