Lessons Learned for Charles Wright at High School Nationals

Lessons Learned for Charles Wright at High School Nationals
FJs on the Charles River (not from this regatta, however)

Remember when we reported that our friends on the Charles Wright High School Sailing Team were headed back east for the high school nationals? Well, they went, they saw, but they didn’t quite conquer, finishing 20th/20.  That said, spirits were high as it was yet another building block adding onto the high school sailing scene here. And there were many positives worth noting. Again, we have Charles Wrights’ Alyosha Strum-Palerm with some “embedded” reporting:

“We had low expectations going into the event. NWISA (Northwest District Interscholastic Sailing Association)  has been a historically weaker district on national regattas due to its relative young age, lower funding, and generally smaller size. Saturday was a tough day vs the larger teams with subs etc..  Sunday(races 15-20) was much better for me, averaging an 11 score over those 6 races.

“The “A” division was so incredibly deep. Everyone had high level boat handling and boat speed so if you made one mistake four boats would pass you. If you got on the wrong end of a shift then half the fleet would pass you. With the frequency and drama of shifts on the Charles, that was the key factor of the weekend. Teams who got consistent good starts had a much easier time of picking their lanes and sailing where they wanted. Everyone else had to pick through chopped up air and second choice lanes and shifts.

Alyosha contributed this photo from the weekend. Looks a bit Northwest-like.

“It was incredible to compete against the best in the country and being in the mix on Sunday was an awesome experience. Hopefully in the next 5-10 years we will have built the culture here in the Northwest to the point where we can compete with the Southern California and east coast teams. Lots of new, young, and motivated coaches are really helping to push the district into a more prominent position in ISSA.”

Support Our Kids!

I’ll just add that we as a sailing community here need to do more to support high school sailing in the area. The scene is active and exciting and the kids are having a blast. That’s all good. But if we want them to do well on the national scene, and graduate kids into high-power university programs, they need more support. While support can mean simply writing checks, there are other ways to help as well like volunteering, donations etc. On a personal note, if you catch wind of a high school regatta near you, go see it. Once you do, it’ll be hard not to offer some kind of support. As Alyosha says, “more involvement from the racing culture is what drives youth programs.”

Earlier today I published a post on the UW Sailing Team, which is headed to South Carolina for the college Nationals women’s and coed doubles at the end of this month. Good luck to them!

A general report and the results from the Mallory Cup, won by Point Loma, can be found here. There was actually live video coverage of the events, and those video links are available on this page.




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

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.


Youth Open House on Saturday!!

Youth Open House on Saturday!!

Isn’t it great when sailing groups work together? The various sailing programs around the Salish Sea are generally pretty busy these days, but that’s no time to stop promoting.

From 11-3 on Saturday at Sail Sand Point several organizations will be putting their programs out there for the world, and lots of kids, to see. The Sailing Foundation has a big hand in coordinating it with funds made available by the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

Hobie Waves at Sail Sand Point

Visitors can go for a sail, enjoy a free barbecue and find out about our great sport. There’s a great bonus, high schoolers are having a team race regatta, and if you haven’t seen the high school sailing scene, or if you haven’t seen team racing, it’s all very inspiring and fun to watch.

Here’s the thing, LET OTHERS KNOW! If you’re reading this, you may already have your kid dialed in. We need to spread the word further, please let your non-sailing friends know about this. You know – the ones who’ve seen your eyes light up while you talk about sailing.

Here are some of the details courtesy of Andrew Nelson of The Sailing Foundation:

Think of this as Opening Day for the small boaters. Our goal is to get people out on the water, including those who might have never tried sailing before. Big thanks to the NMTA for again providing a grant for this event.

There will be one central check-in/information area where we’ll let area sailing programs display brochures and other materials. We will be offering lots of fun activities and a free BBQ once again. This event also coincides with the HS team race championships, so there will be lots happening on the water and plenty of good spectating.

Provided activities include…


Boat Rides (Boats provided by SSP)

Jr. Sailing Info Table

High School Sailing Spectating

Giant jenga

Corn Hole

Ladder Golf

Block and Tackle Tug of War

Arts and Crafts 

Junior Sailing Info Sessions

Last year we had about 200 members of the community come down for the event.