Sailors stay strong in bad weather, prepare for districts

Drivers along the route between Bainbridge Island and Portland, Ore., were witness to an unusual sight last weekend, as the BHS Sailing Team took two trailers and all eight FJ sailboats to Willamette Sailing Club’s second annual high school regatta.

The trip involved much teamwork in beaching, derigging, and loading the boats, then reassembling them in Portland, and going through the whole process all over again to get the boats home and rerigged for Monday’s practice.

Willamette Sailing Club’s high school sailing program, encompassing students from three Portland area schools, hosted the event which was sailed half in their eight 420 class sailboats and half in BHS’s FJ sailboats.

Students from schools all over the district also participated, including North Kitsap, Kingston, Central Kitsap, Port Townsend, and Seattle area schools.

Competition in the 420 fleet was fierce with all the major teams lining up their stronger sailors in the double-handed A and B fleet racing format. Sailing in the same format, the FJ fleet provided a proving ground for younger sailors looking to break into the upper echelons.

Bainbridge coaches divided team talent to field two teams in the unfamiliar 420 boats and one team in the FJ fleet. Despite their best efforts, BHS sailors in the 420 fleet struggled with river current and maneuvers in the different boats and finished fourth and fifth in the eight boat, ten race series.

Next weekend at the district championship regatta in Friday Harbor, the team will sail as one strongest possible unit, with great hopes for a title and a trip to the Mallory Fleet Racing National Championship at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Having more success in a boat in which they have practiced were the BHS underclassmen FJ sailors, who won their eight boat, ten race series convincingly.

Sailing for BHS in the FJs were skippers Abby Hartmann and Sean Willerford, with crews including Kendall Sanson, Chris Walker, and Jake Fetterman.

Sailors from nine area high schools also participated in the Islands Cup Regatta at Westsound, Orcas Island on March 29.

Winds ranged from light to moderate in southerly directions with many shifts making the racing interesting and awareness especially important.

Eight team members representing the Bainbridge Sailing Club made the trip up and back through blizzard conditions to sail in cold temperatures but fortunately little precipitation at the race venue.

The team may have earned a new motto: “The few. The proud. The FROZEN!”

There were twenty Vanguard 15 sailboats provided for the event by host SailOrcas and Friday Harbor, and kids were swapped out in the boats so that as many kids could be on the water as possible.

Bainbridge sailors used two boats for all the races, and shared half the time in a third boat with North Kitsap as well.

The official scoring, which was recorded by boat number, does not allow for recording the individual potential on the Bainbridge team, but does show overall strength of the team as a unit.

Perpetual forces on the circuit, North Kitsap and Orcas high schools were at the top of the list in official results with North Kitsap in the first two spots and Orcas in the following three.

Bainbridge is listed in sixth and ninth, and the combined Bainbridge North Kitsap boat in fourteenth.

A scoring system adjusted for the rotations of sailors through the Bainbridge boats by averaging the finishes earned, for instance, would show the first NK boat with an average score of 2.7 and Max Fleischfresser with crew Amanda D’Amore averaging 3.4 in second place.

The FROZEN include Captain Max Fleischfresser, Haley Lane, Amanda D’Amore, Ethan Stahl, Chris Walker, Aidan Sievertson, Chase Webber, and Jake Fetterman.

– From information supplied by BHS sailing coach Susan Kaesler

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