By Leslie McNish
Despite having to cancel two of three practices last week due to high winds, the Port Townsend dinghy sailors made a strong showing on Bellingham’s Lake Whatcom, under partly cloudy skies and a reasonable steady 6 to 10 knot breeze. It was nice for the team to compete in some better breeze than they had experienced at two of the previous regattas. Since it resembled what the team often practices in, they were more comfortable sailing in it. The regatta was sailed in 13′ Flying Juniors (FJs) and 14′ Alphas.
In the 16 boat FJ “A” division senior Cooper Parrish and Olivia Gibbons battled it out among the district’s best as that was the most competitive division and managed to get a first place in one of his six races. In the FJ “B” division, his teammates Cody Kowalski and McKenzie Ginther used three perfect port tack starts to put themselves immediately in the lead of those races. They would not look back, winning three of six races. “I could see the pin end of the line was clearly favored. I wasn’t sure I was going to do it the first time, but things fell into place. Then I pulled it off again and again,” said Kowalski, a sophomore who is team captain. PT placed 6th out of 16 in FJs.
Meanwhile in the 11 boat Alpha fleet, freshman Eliza Dawson and her crew Emily Bufford tied for first in “A” Division and Shawn Huston and Chloe Dawson sailed well to help PT finish 3rd in the Alphas. Miguel Salguero showed his work paying off by helping Huston and Kowalski finish strong, crewing a total of 4 races, including a first in his final race with Kowalski.
The team hopes to keep the momentum through the week as they travel to San Juan Island next weekend where they are likely to face about 25 other teams.