2009-10-29 / News

N.K. sailing team headed to national regatta

By Adrienne Downing

The North Kingstown High School sailing team is Louisiana bound in November, thanks to some impressive sailing by several islanders.

The Great Oaks Regatta is an annual national sailing regatta held in New Orleans each fall and the Skippers qualified for the event by winning the Arnold Brown Regatta in Martha’s Vineyard on Sept. 19.

The team had four chances to qualify for the Great Oaks Regatta at regional regattas that act as the qualifiers for the national event.

It sealed its invitation on the third opportunity.

Close second-place finishes at the Polar Bear Open at Bowdoin College in Maine on Sept. 6 and the Casco Bay Fall Open at the Portland Sailing Center on Sept. 12 left the team with only the Arnold Brown and the Fall Funfest in Boston on Oct. 11 remaining to secure a spot at the national race.

A mis-read by the N.K. sailing coach proved to be a positive for the team and aided in the win at Martha’s Vineyard.

“The coach didn’t realize it was a qualifying regatta, so she had entered a bunch of the less experienced sailors so they could gain some experience,” Samira Hakki said.

Those entries included firsttime high school sailors Amina Brown, Rachel Bryer, Emilio Kurz, and Islay and Ailsa Petrie from Jamestown.

“By the time the coach figured out it was a qualifier, it was too late to change the entries, so the younger kids sailed and they ended up winning,” Hakki said.

Jamestown sailors Erica Lush, Ailsa Petrie and Rachel Bryer finished with 24 points in the A division, while Brown, Kurz and Islay Petrie came away with 25 points in the B division for a 49-51 victory over the second place team from East Lyme, Conn.

The teams compete in A and B divisions, but the scores from both divisions are added to the team total and count equally towards the win.

“A lot of teams keep in the same A and B teams all day, but we were switching people all day so everyone would get a chance to sail,” Hakki said. “We would have one team do two races and then another team do two races. They just stayed out there in a boat all day and switched in and out.”

The coach was not with the team at the regatta and Hakki said the sailors did a remarkable job of pulling the win together.

“There was one team captain there and she pretty much ran every thing. There were three parents there, but the kids really pulled it together on their own,” she said.

The team has planned a fundraising effort to raise the money necessary for travel expenses to New Orleans.

The first part of the fund-raising included placing collection cans at various locations throughout Jamestown, including Mc- Quade’s Market and Conanicut Marine store, and in Newport and North Kingstown. A New Orleansstyle jambalaya dinner was also held last weekend at the Wickford Yacht Club.

The Great Oaks Regatta will take place at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans from Nov. 13 to 15.

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