The Antilles School Sailing Team won the National Championship in Team Racing over the Memorial Day weekend, winning the Interscholastic Sailing Association’s Baker Trophy. This year’s event, marking the end of the High School Sailing Season, was held at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. The Baker Trophy, established in 1990, is awarded to the top team racing school among the 7 districts across the USA. School teams reach the Nationals by competing successfully in district championships.
Twelve teams descended upon ODU for the two day event and competed in CFJs provided by the university and the Virginia High School Sailing Foundation, with racing held near the mouth of the Elizabeth River off of the Old Dominion University docks. Competitors were faced with challenging conditions with winds oscillating back and forth through every compass point except due east and velocity, equally temperamental ranging seemingly randomly up and down from 0 to 10 mph with gusts to 15 mph. Despite the difficult race conditions, a preliminary round of 30 races was completed constituting complete rounds for each of the two divisions and the fleet was divided into Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Only one complete round of racing was completed in the Gold Division, with Silver and Bronze unable to finish racing before the thunderstorms rolled in Sunday, marking the end of the regatta.
The Antilles School winning team consisted of seniors and team co-captains Sam Morrell, skipper and Caroline Teare, crew; sophomore Teddy Nicolosi, skipper and senior Ryan Hunter, crew; sophomore Chris Sharpless, skipper and junior Ryan Hunter, crew. All 3 graduating seniors, will sail on the collegiate level next Fall, Sam Morrell at Boston University, Caroline Teare at Georgetown, and Ryan Hunter at United States Merchant Marine Academy.
“We went into the event feeling strong. After the first day, we were in a solid position overall. The team’s skill, maturity, and passion for the sport showed on the second day as we swept the Gold Fleet,” said Morrell. “I really think that Antilles can be a top contender for this trophy again next year.”
Antilles out-sailed Point Loma Academy of California who came in second, followed by third place Milton Academy of Massachusetts.
Edgar Diminich of Ecuador, who is about to launch an Olympic 470 sailing campaign, coached the team to victory this year. “I was only with this team for one year, but I am so grateful to these kids for the heart and the effort they put into their training,” said Edgar. “It has really paid off.”
It is the first time in eleven years that Antilles claimed top honors in this decades-old competition; 2012 saw the school rank second place. It is the 7th National Championship Title won by Antilles School hailing from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.