Newport Harbor sails to second place

Newport Harbor High School's Sailing Team placed second in the 2011 Interscholastic Sailing Assn. Baker National Team Race Championship in Norfolk, Va., on Saturday and Sunday.

Boston's Tabor Academy placed first.

Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar High School and Point Loma from San Diego represented the Pacific Coast Region. The other teams came from regions nationwide and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Harbor was the only Southern California high school team to medal. CdM placed ninth.

There were six sailors on the Harbor racing championship team who sailed in three double-handed CFJ boats over the two-day regatta, with three alternates.

The sailors in the three boats consisted of seniors Kieran Chung, skipper, and Nicole Grice, crew; juniors Ryan Davidson, skipper and Francesca Cappellini, crew; senior Cooper Scott, skipper; and junior Erin Kincaid, crew. Sophomores Daniel Segerblom, Shelley Grice and Greer Wattson were heavy crew, but because of light winds they were unable to sail.

The winds coming out of the Chesapeake Bay were not cooperative for the regatta at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club. The teams sailed close to the U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk and were hoping for stronger winds. The light winds of 5 to 9 knots died down on Saturday to almost a standstill as the regatta was postponed for three hours.

Sailing resumed late Saturday afternoon until 6 p.m. The regatta continued on Sunday, but with the light winds, they were only able to sail one round robin. Each team, therefore, competed against every other team in the national championship, but there was no final round robin of the top teams.

Harbor won nine of 11 races, losing to Tabor, who won the championship, and to Antilles, from the Virgin Islands. They tied with the Hotchkiss School, a private boarding school in Connecticut, which also had a nine-win, two-loss record, but since they beat Hotchkiss in their race against them, Harbor came out with the second-place finish, and Hotchkiss got third.

Team racing is different from fleet racing, as each team races against one other team at a time. There are three boats on a team, and the combination of the lowest score as they cross the finish line wins. Each team races against every other team in the competition in a round-robin format.

The sailors on the CdM team at the national championship were Tyler MacDonald, Michael Dahl, Michael Madigan, Brett Potter, Madison Vitarelli, Brooke Donahue, Chloe Dapp and Hannah Callas.

Both Newport Harbor and CdM ended a fabulous sailing season, showing that Newport Beach produces some of the best sailors in the nation. Most of the sailors on the teams will go on to participate in national regattas this summer, and some will also be competing in Europe.

And one senior from each team, Kieran Chung from Harbor and Michael Dahl from CdM, will be going on to sail for Stanford next year.

MARY CAPPELLINI is a Newport Harbor High School sailing team parent.

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