Four Bermudian teen sailors went head to head at the New England High School Fleet Racing Championships for the O'Day Trophy in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
Former Bermuda Optimist sailors Conner Astwood (Hotchkiss School - Lakeville, Connecticut), Mackenzie Cooper (Tabor Academy - Marion, Massachusetts), Kelsey Durham and Ryan Powell (Brewster Academy - Wolfeboro, New Hampshire) represented three of the fifteen high school teams which had qualified for the event at regional contests the day before.
Shifty conditions with winds ranging from 3 - 15 knots gave the sailors a complete selection of conditions. Sailing out of the Hyannis Yacht Club, organizers were able to complete two heats of 8 races with each school fielding an "A" boat and a "B" boat in each of the heats. This is one of the few events outside of inter-scholastic team racing which is the norm in High School sailing. Skippers and crews are completely interchangeable between races. The top four teams automatically qualified for the National Championships to be held in Seattle next month.
When all the scores were tallied, Astwood's team from Hotchkiss ended up on top with Astwood steering all races for his school's "A" boat. Astwood won the "A" Fleet helping Hotchkiss capture the O'Day trophy for the second consecutive year.
Hotchkiss sailing coach Roger Rawlings summed up his team's day by saying, "We sailed cleanly with very few mistakes. We were not in any protest hearings and completed a couple of penalty turns on the race course. It also pays to be a bit lucky! As with every sport - sometimes things happen out of our control - today those things were all in our favor but we put ourselves into position to benefit and that feels great."
Hotchkiss is currently 10 wins - 3 losses for the regular season and will be competing at the Connecticut State Championships this coming weekend.
Cooper sailed Tabor's "B" boat well in races 3 - 8 but Tabor was only able to finish in fourth place after a sluggish start and a DSQ for their "A" boat in Race 7. Tabor's Varsity sailing team is currently 13 - 2 halfway through their regular season with their only losses so far coming from St. George's School.
Durham sailed the Brewster Academy "A" boat in all the races while countryman Powell skippered the "B" boat. Durham finished 10th in the "A" fleet while Powell finished 8th in the "B" fleet for a combined 8th place overall. Durham and Powell are leaders of the sailing team at the New Hampshire school.
The sailors hope to all qualify and meet again at the Baker Trophy regatta which is the High School Team Racing New England Championships. The regatta takes place on the Charles River on May 19th.