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Sailing Secures First Place in State

Sailing Secures First Place in State

Sailing Secures First Place in State

Dasha Post '23/The Hotchkiss Record

The Sailing team practices on Lake Wononskopomuc.

After beating out a crowded field of fleets from other schools, the Varsity Sailing team is advancing to the national tournament in San Diego.

May 21, 2022

Chloe El Hadj '25

After three seasons without a regular competing schedule, the sailing team began the season with a commanding start. The goals and focus of the group remain largely unchanged — sail fast, sail smart and sail together. But because only a few Seniors have experienced an entire season, learning to make quick decisions with few missteps has proven to be a learning curve for many.


The team spent a week in Florida during March break for pre-season training. While in the southern state, away from the frigid Connecticut waters, the group spent up to eight hours a day on the water. Sophie Da- vis ’22, four-year Senior and co-captain, described the trip as “a fun mix of both team bonding as well as basic boat handling.” The rigorous training schedule propelled the team to a new level of skill and agility.


“The pre-season clinic is always a great way to make sure everyone is comfortable and confident on the boat so that when we return, everyone is ready and knows how to deal with the basics,” Davis said.


On April 23 and 24, the Varsity Sailing team competed at the Connecticut State Championships for the third time and took home another dominant win. Three groups of sailors competed with two boats in a fleet race and finished the day with just 33 points across seven races — nearly half that of their closest competitors. Chapman Petersen ’22 and Phoebe Hackett ’24 won the A division with 17 points, and Samara Walshe ’25 with Lucy Jervis ’23 and Jeb Bechtel ’22 with Davis tied for first place in the B division with 16 points.


This type of regatta consisted of fleet racing. In fleet races, there is an A-fleet and a B-fleet. These races tend to be more competitive with sailors racing against multiple boats from different schools. The main challenge the team faced in preparing for this race was transitioning from team racing to fleet racing. In team racing there are only two schools competing against each other with three boats each.


Davis said the main goal for this season is to win Nationals and foster a strong connection within the team. The sailors try to go  out on the water whenever possible, even when conditions are not ideal. The sailors have had favorable weather thus far, a rarity in Northwestern Connecticut during this time of year. However, when the wind is too strong or too light for sailing, the team continues to work to improve and hone their skills off the water by watching videos from past races or going to the gym to lift.


With this determination, the team was able to finish in second place in the New England fleet racing championship during the weekend of May 7-8. Despite their narrow defeat by Brunswick in the final rotation, the team earned nine first-place finishes, including eight out of the 11 races in the A division from Petersen and Oscar Emus ’23. The team was able to produce high results throughout each race regardless of the difficult wind conditions.


Last weekend, the team lost to Brunswick by 3 points at MIT on the Charles River in Boston. There were 16 teams total and the team came in second.


Both A and B teams will compete in Fleet Race Nationals in San Diego on June 4-5.

A version of this article appears in the May 19 issue with the headline "Sailing Secures First Place in State."

October 20, 2022

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.