Gridley and Timms Win NWISA Singlehanded Championships

Gridley and Timms Win NWISA Singlehanded Championships

Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association Singlehanded Championships

Photo by Jim Skeel

It wasn’t the breeziest of regattas, but the high school singlehanded championships were sailed over the weekend off Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. The winners were Grant Gridley in the Radial class and Owen Timms in the full rig class. University sailors got their own Radial and full rig fleets. Congratulations to all who participated. BTW, I’m pleased to report that the Seattle Laser Fleet provided a number of boats in support of this event.

Here’s the report from the NWISA:

Saturday, September 23:

Competitors from around the Northwest were greeted by a light southerly on Saturday morning. This proved to be quite stable and peaked around 8 knots by noon. The breeze then began to fade, and by 3pm it had shut off completely. We were fortunate to complete 6 radial and 7 full rig races in that time, alternating between double lap windward/leewards and trapezoid courses. The 20 boat Laser Radial fleet especially was very competitive. This resulted in at least 8 general recalls (we lost count) and most of the later starts under I-flag.

Sunday, September 24:

The forecast for Sunday looked bleak, and after a shore postponement competitors left the dock at 11am to try racing in a fragile northerly. The breeze was just strong enough to start a Radial race, and it maintained a 3-4 knot average until most competitors had finished. After it fizzled out, competitors waited around on the water for another hour and a half before the Race Committee called racing for the day. NWISA is excited to send representatives Owen Timms and Per Black in the Full Rig and Grant Gridley and Abbie Carlson in the Laser Radial to St. Petersburg, FL later this fall. They will do a terrific job representing our conference. Big thanks to all the volunteers and race officials this weekend. The regatta was well run and made the most of our limited racing windows.

More Photos by Jim Skeel. Click to enlarge.

US Sailing just sent out their Youth Sailing newsletter. Take a look.

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.




NWISA Team Race District Championship

NWISA Team Race District Championship

Eight Varsity and 14 JV high school sailing teams descended on Sail Sand Point May 4-6 to take part in the NWISA 3 on 3 Team Race Championships, with a berth to the National Championships up for grabs. The NWISA Team Race Championship along with the NWISA Fleet Race Championship hosted on Orcas Island April 29 & 30 are the two final district high school regattas for the 2016-2017 school year and a culmination of hours and hours of practice and hard work put in by the teams. A total of 18 district regattas during the fall and spring NWISA sailing seasons were completed leading into the championship regattas, and that is a lot of racing.

Check out these photos by Jim Skeel. And there are lots more on his Facebook page. Thanks, Jim for allowing us to use them and promote high school sailing.

Sail Sand Point hosted the event, and did a fantastic job organizing the 36 FJ’s making up six fleets racing on two digital N courses. The SSP pier provided spectacular viewing of the racing, fast rotations and a big lunch BBQ for all. Light winds both mornings turned into 4-9 knot northerlies by mid-afternoon both days making for perfect team racing conditions. A total of 137 races were completed between the two courses for the weekend. That is a lot of team racing and a big shout out to Nino Johnson Varsity PRO, Scot Boye JV PRO, the judges and all the volunteers who made it all happen. The high school sailors showed all of us who were watching how much they have improved their team racing skills the last few years, with a lot of close races decided on the final beat. It was so close in fact that after 61 races on the varsity course, it all came down to the last race of the day on Sunday, Orcas versus Olympia when the two teams tied for the regatta lead with 13-3 records. Orcas was able to win the final race and the regatta and are now headed to Northfolk, VA for the ISSA Team Race National Championships, “The Baker Trophy.” Olympia placed second and Bainbridge grabbed third. Regatta report and scores can be found here:

Photos can be found at

Ed. Note: The amazing high school racing scene here is largely due to the work of Burke Thomas. 






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.