Staples Sailing team sails under the radar

Andrew Vester, Web Opinion

Many Staples students could recall how the football, soccer and baseball teams fared in their recent games. They could tell you who the coaches of these teams are and some could even name the captains. But many students wouldn’t know a thing about the sailing team.

Few students at Staples know that the team battled to a third place finish in the largest regatta in the Fairfield County sailing season last year or that the team is ranked 42 out of 111 teams in the New England Schools Sailing Association.

The Fairfield County Sailing League is composed of 10 teams, many of which are the same schools that make up the FCIAC for other sports. The sailing team finished with four wins and six losses in the 2014 season, ultimately placing third out of the 10 teams.

“I always aim for growth,” Tuck Northrup, coach of the sailing team, said. “Our sailors have improved massively since we started in the fall, and our squad has become a competitive team racing program.”

The boats used by the team are called Club 420’s and are about 14-feet long, fitted with a mainsail and jib for team races. The boats are manned by two people: the skipper and the crew. The skipper is responsible for steering the boat and controlling the mainsail, while the crew manages the jib, a sail that is vital to the steering of the boat.

The team practices three times a week at Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, with regattas generally taking place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The season runs from the middle of March to the end of May.

The rowers are confident that their hard work and dedication to the sport will pay off in the long term.

“I think our team will smack the competition this year and will overall be much better than last year’s team,” Harrison Ames ’16, a team member, said.

The team members are just as passionate as those of any other sport at Staples.

Nicole Welch ’17 added, “We only lost one senior and still have our two best skippers, so we should have a winning season.”

Most of all, rowers enjoy the team spirit connected to sailing. “I like the sailing team because it’s co-ed, and I get to play a sport with people I wouldn’t normally work together with,” Welch said. “I also love sailing, so I get to do something I love everyday.”

Co-captain Hamilton Kovtun ’15 added, ”Overall, sailing is a great sport, and I encourage anyone that’s interested to give it a try. You’ll most likely have a great time.”