Athletes of Kingston: Ali ten Hove

By Ian MacAlpine

When Kingston’s Ali ten Hove takes to the water in early August with sailing partner and crew Mariah Millen on their 49er FX sailboat at the Pan Am Games; she’s not only representing her country, she’s representing her city, the Kingston Yacht Club and everyone who supported her and her love of sailing along the way.

“I have traveled a lot with my sailing,” she said in an email exchange. “I have seen a lot of different yacht clubs and communities. I can honestly say that there is something so special and unique about Kingston and the sailing community here,  the unconditional support through highs and lows, the advice passed down from experienced members of the community, and the contagious love and passion for the sport of sailing. It is so special to be a part of such an amazing community, and I know that I would not be where I am today without their continued support.” 

ten Hove and Millen recently completed some training in San Francisco where the winds were very strong which are similar to the conditions they’ll experience in Paracas, Peru where the competition goes on from Aug 3 to Aug 10.

Although ten Hove feels healthy heading into the games Millen is nursing a sore back but ten Hove said they’re managing the injury and feeling strong leading up to the games. 

The challenge that ten Hove and Millen face at the Pan Ams is not only attempting to place high at the games but they need a result which will qualify the country for the sailing events at the 2020 Toyko Olympics. If they don’t make the grade at the Pan Ams they’ll have one last chance or at the 2019 Worlds in Auckland, New Zealand this December.

“Once the country is qualified – there will be a competition between the Canadian teams to see which team gets sent to Tokyo 2020,” she said. 

ten Hove and Millen have sailing in their blood

“Both our fathers competed in the Olympics,” she said. “They both crewed for skipper Frank McLaughlin. My father, Martin ten Hove, won a bronze medal in the 1983 Pan Am Games in Caracas, Venezuela. I hope to follow in his footsteps!” 

ten Hove, a graduate of Kingston Collegiate and has an engineering degree from Queen’s University, enjoys competing with Millen in their quick boat.

“The speed of the boat is amazing,” ten Hove said. “Reaching top speeds of 25 knots [over 45 km/h land speed]. “It is a very physical boat – and the harder you work the faster you will go,” she said.  “I always tell people that there is never a bad day when racing 49er’s. You are always going super fast and having such a great time.” 

Ali ten Hove and Robert Davis | Photo Credit: Ian MacAlpine

Shortly before leaving for the games the Kingston Yacht Club held a community send-off for her and Laser sailor Robert Davis which was attended by about 50 people and former Kingston Pan Am and Olympic sailors wish the local sailors good luck at the games.

“I take a lot of pride in representing Kingston as well as my home club KYC at each competition and in each country I visit.” ten Hove said. “I hope my Olympic pursuit doesn’t just bring me closer to the Games, but brings the community closer as well. I hope everyone can feel apart of my journey.”