Huge Turnout as High School Teams Fought for Nationals Spot at MIT. Charles Wright Sailors Prevail

If you haven’t been following the high school sailing scene in the Northwest, you are definitely missing out. It’s exciting, active and very competitive. Teams are fighting every inch of the way around the course, and having a great time doing it. If you’ve got a high-schooler, or soon to be high-schooler, you should really be aware of this. For the rest of us, keep a watch on these kids ‘cause they’re really good already and just getting better. Don’t let that first sentence slip by you: 40 teams and 200 sailors. Following is a report from Alyosha Strum-Palerm, part of the winning Charles Wright team.

Three 10% regattas had already been completed and only the District Championship remained, counting for 80% of total points (you throw out your worst 10% regatta score). Winning two of the three 10% regattas, Orcas Island High School had to be favorites coming into the regatta, especially considering they were sailing on their home turf on West Sound. Bainbridge High School, Anacortes High School, Charles Wright Academy, Oak Harbor High School and Olympia High School were all also in the running. The first A division set was sailed in a strange 3-6 knot easterly, and Nicholas Lee ’20 and I (’17) took both races. After four races in A division and 4 races in B division, Charles Wright held a slender 6-point lead over Bainbridge.

A light 3-6 knot easterly greeted some 40 teams and 200+ sailors from around Washington and Oregon last Saturday for the NWISA (North West Interscholastic Sailing Association) Fleet Race Championships. Of these 40 teams, 17 were vying for one berth to fleet race nationals hosted at MIT on May 13th and 14th.

All Photos by Burke Thomas. (If anyone wants to chime in with photo IDs I’ll be happy to update the post!)

Day two brought seemingly much different conditions, a steady 8-12 knot westerly was blowing and it looked like we would have a wonderful day of quick rotations and maybe 6 or 7 races in each division. The Charles Wright A pair went on to win the first two of the day’s races, but the Orcas B pair of Dominick Wareham ’19 and Matia Schwartz ’17 matched with two bullets of their own. With Bainbridge also having a solid set from both their A and B pairs, Charles Wright and Bainbridge were tied with 57 points apiece going into the final set of 4 races. In A division, the Charles Wright A pair went 1,2 in their final two races and put crucial points in between them and Bainbridge going into the final two B races.

In race 7B, Jack Corddry ’19 and Hayden Flaskerude from Charles Wright pulled a crucial 2nd place, meaning that mathematically all they had to do is not get last in the final race to win the regatta. They went on to take 4th in race 8B, putting Charles Wright 17 points ahead of the second place team Orcas and 26 points ahead of the third place team Bainbridge.

I know that all the sailors involved in this wonderful event would like to thank Burke Thomas and Hannah Tuscon Turner for hosting the regatta at Orcas Island Yacht Club, as well as all the volunteers who made food for over 200 sailors over the course of three days. We also want to thank Bob Brunius for doing an excellent job with scoring, Dick Rose and Jared Hickman for being on the water judges, Brendan Fahey the PRO and all the other volunteers who spent their weekend in whalers trying to square the course to each infinite variation of wind direction and speed. Charles Wright Academy is the first South Sound team to take the district championship and is the 7th team to have won. Over the last 5 years we have had 5 different winners, which is a testament to the growing diversity and strength of NWISA as a conference. Wish us luck at Nationals!

–Alyosha Strum-Palerm

We’ll pester Losha for a report after Nationals.


Kurt grew up racing and cruising in the Midwest, and has raced Lasers since the late 1970s. He has been Assistant Editor at Sailing Magazine and a short stint as Editor of Northwest Yachting. Through Meadow Point Publishing he handles various marketing duties for smaller local companies. He currently is partners on a C&C 36 which he cruises throughout the Northwest. He's married to the amazing Abby and is father to Ian and Gabe.

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