Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sea Kings Win High School Nationals

J/70s sailing high school nationals- ISSA (St Petersburg, FL)- The inaugural ISSA (Interscholastic Sailing Association) National Keelboat Invitational Championship was held November 19 - 20 at St. Petersburg Yacht Club in St Petersburg, FL with sailing taking place on Tampa Bay. Ten high school teams from across the country competed in a new fleet of matched J/70 one-designs for the Mendelblatt Trophy. Conditions ranged from 10–18 knots over the weekend and the fleet was able to enjoy a full rotation for ten races in total.  In the end, the two teams from Newport Beach, CA dominated the regatta.  Winning was the Corona Del Mar High School “Sea Kings” with the team of Robert Garrett, Max Mayol, David Wood and Cameron Wood; second was taken by their cross-town rivals, the Newport Harbor “Sailors”.

The regatta started out fast for the Sea Kings, winning the first race and closing out their first four races with two more bullets for a clear lead in the overall standings.  Behind them, it was a pretty radical games of “chutes & ladders” for the top five, with the “Sailors” posting a 3-4-5-4, the Falmouth Maine High School “Yachtsmen” a 5-BFD-3-5, the Archbishop Spalding High School “Cavaliers” a 4-1-4-8, the Annapolis High School “Panthers” an 8-3-8-3 and the Severn High School “Admirals” a 2-9-2-6.  In short, after the first four races, these five teams were virtually tied on points.

ISSA J/70 High School Nationals winners- Sea KingsHowever, the “tale of the tape” changed quite dramatically for the balance of the six races.  The Sea Kings continued to dominate, despite a fifth race 7th place to close the regatta with mostly top three finishes to win the overall title with just 28 pts- a 2.8 average for ten races- that is quite an accomplishment!  Behind them, chaos ruled for most teams.  The exception was the “Sailors” from Newport Harbor, the only team to post all top four finishes to secure second place overall, but not without some anxious moments.  Here’s the reason why- the “lobstermen” from Maine went on a tear starting in race 5, rising like a phoenix from the ashes.  They posted a 1-1-1-2 over the next four races to scream up to the top of the leaderboard and were hoping to maintain that pace.  In fact, had the Yachtsmen been able to post that average going into the last two races, they might have won!  However, the “song of the sirens” befell them, dramatically crashing onto the proverbial shoals, and closing with a profoundly earth—shattering tally of 8-9 to end up just three points back from second.  Despite those anxious final moments, the Falmouth Maine HS Yachtsmen team, consisting of Daniel Denison, Hanna Brydon, Kurban Ali, Cameron Delgado, were proud of their ability to bounce back and take the bronze.

Rounding out the top five were the Annapolis HS Panthers in fourth with 45 pts and the Severn HS Admirals in fifth with 46 pts.  What was interesting was that many teams had their chance at basking in the limelight, with schools placing all the way down to eighth place in the field of ten to have at least one or more top three finishes; that was a great indicator of each team’s potential!  In fact, the 8th place St Ignatius College “Wolfpack” had to be ecstatic with their closing races, posting a 3-1 in their last two races- a great way to close the regatta!   For more ISSA High School Keelboat Nationals sailing information