Papenthien grew up racing in Flying Scots, Lasers, and 420s at the Ephraim Yacht Club on Lake Michigan, where he also worked as a sailing instructor. He sailed as a Colgate skipper in 2014 and aboard the TP52 Corsair during the 2015 spring/summer season. He served as helm in the US Offshore Championships, McMillan Cup, and Kennedy Cup in the fall of 2015. In the spring of 2016, he helmed in the LA Harbor Cup and NYYC Annual Regatta aboard the Ker 50 Wahoo. Majoring in naval architecture and marine engineering.