With a constant influx of sailors from yacht club youth programs, Newport Harbor has a significant advantage over other high school teams. Corona del Mar, which has a six-person team, is in a similar situation.
But yacht club membership--or proximity to the coast--isn't a prerequisite for prep sailing. Foothill High, in landlocked Santa Ana, has had a team for the last three years. Mater Dei, which started a team this school year, finished the season with a 10-person team.
"Newport Harbor has a great advantage," said Nancy Levy, advisor to Foothill's four-man team, which includes her son, junior David Levy. "But that just makes us try harder."
Mater Dei and Foothill train at the U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach and are coached by Geoff Becker, who was a two-time All-American at UC Irvine. For a $250-per-semester fee, any high school-age sailor--even beginners--can train at the center two days a week.
Becker also works with sailors from Los Alamitos, Marina, Servite/Connelly, Long Beach Poly and Long Beach Wilson--schools that currently don't have the four sailors necessary for a full team.
This fall the Orange Coast College sailbase in Newport Harbor plans to offer a similar program for high-school age sailors. For information, call Eric Knopf at (949) 824-1602.
For information on the program in Long Beach, call (562) 433-7939.
For more information about high school sailing, the Interscholastic Sailing Assn.'s Web site is at http://www.highschoolsailingusa.org