On March 3rd, the Port Townsend High School Sailing team competed in a season “kick off” regatta hosted by the Seattle Yacht Club. Sixteen races were sailed in shifty and gusty winds ranging from 5-18 knots. Port Townsend finished towards the back of the fleet in the first few races. Rather than allowing this to foretell their position in the regatta, team members chose to learn quickly and apply the lessons to the next race. Maintaining this philosophy of foreword thinking and constant learning, the team quickly positioned themselves towards the front of the fleet where consistency and calm nerves then paid off.
Only during the car ride home did sailors learn the combined score and results.
Cody Kowalski and Serena Vilage took home the gold winning 1st overall in the “A” fleet. Eliza Dawson and McKenzie Ginther took home silver with a 2nd overall in the same fleet. Darby Flanagan and Chloe Dawson took home silver winning 2nd overall in the “B” fleet. Team members Shawn Huston, Miguel Salguero, Jack Pokorny, and Olivia Gibbons, eager to race against the toughest competition, opted to trade off racing in the varsity rather than junior varsity fleet. All sailed well, finishing every race in conditions where many boats capsized. Olivia Gibbons, skippering her first away regatta, impressed many with several top five finishes.
In High School fleet racing, scores from the “A” and “B” fleet boats determine the winning school. Combined “A” and “B” fleet finishes when added together, placed Port Townsend High a comfortable 14 points ahead of the nearest competition, out of a fleet of 17, winning the regatta with one team and take 6th place with the other.
Coach Barnett said, “It was a very well sailed regatta. We all face challenging moments when it would have been easy to doubt ourselves and stop trying, fortunately everyone trusted in their abilities and focused on sailing. It paid off. This win belongs to everyone on the PTHS team; including the few sailors who couldn’t join us this weekend.”
Practice for the team started mid February, and despite cold temperatures, high winds and downpours of rain, the team can be seen sailing three afternoons a week off the Boat Haven Marina. Support for the team comes from the Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend High School, Port Townsend Sailing Association and the much-appreciated volunteer coaches.