Dear Friends, The 2019 Christchurch Sailing Team brought home the National Championship. We are so proud of them. They put in the long hours on the water and on the road, practicing endlessly for this moment. This particular group of seniors qualified for both team and fleet racing national championships for four years in a row. Every year, they improved against the best teams in the country. This year, they set the goal as high as it could go and attained it. It’s not magic—it’s skill, it’s hard work, it’s responding in the moment. When this team returned to campus, they were joyful but tired. We had to walk them to the Bell to ring the victory around the campus. They had already put their medals in their backpacks. They were humble about this achievement, but we wanted let them know how proud we are. This team stood on the shoulders of many skilled CCS sailors and sailing coaches who started this program a generation ago, in 1998, and worked their way up through the state, regional, and national rankings. This Championship recognizes all of those who came before, and built CCS sailing. It recognizes this team as having set a standard of achievement that future sailors will strive to attain.
Coach O’Connell, in his understated yet determined fashion, steered this team to heights we have not before experienced. When it was all over, he thanked the school for having the vision of a program that could succeed at the highest level. But it was Kieran who took a successful team and built it into a championship team by devoting unsung hours to making each sailor better. Kieran has poured himself into this program and these student/athletes. He has traveled thousands of miles and many nights away from home to give his sailors the experiences they needed to gain the winning edge. It is clear that this is work that Kieran truly loves. Yet, champion sailors are little recognized—it’s not a spectator sport after all; it’s a participant’s sport. Kieran understands this intuitively and nurtures the passion for the sport in each of his sailors. He has coached their maturity, confidence, and tactics to form champions.
Congratulations, Seahorses! John E. Byers "JEB" Head of School May 2019
A RECAP OF THE EVENTS IN PORTLAND
Saturday, May 25
The Baker Trophy started off with a wind delay and SailMaine’s Turbo 420’s did not leave the dock until 1100. However, everyone enjoyed Chris Robinson’s homemade breakfast sandwiches which made the wind delay a little less painful. The wind started to fill in as 6-8 knot southerly breeze under mostly sunny skies. PRO Ron Hopkins and his crew did a great job to constantly adjust the course as the breeze shifted to the left and increased to 8-12 knots.
The day ended with two full round robin’s of 66 races completed and racing ending near 1900. The fleet of 12 teams was then broken into championship groupings of Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Gold:Antilles, Christchurch, Ransom Everglades, Point Loma
Silver:Severn School, Newport Harbor High School, Tabor Academy, The Hotchkiss School
Bronze:Clear Falls High School, Minnetonka, Grosse Point South High School, Olympia High School
Sunday, May 26
Competitors arrived Sunday morning and met with cloudy skies. The breeze built from the south again but very unstable 4-5 knots after a 1 hour delay. The race committee constantly adjusted the course to keep it square. Competitors saw races with the wind coming from the south, southeast, east, north and then back to southeast. Gold Fleet raced a double Championship round and a single round for Silver and Bronze ending the day with 36 races in challenging conditions.
After starting the event with 2-3, Christchurch got hot and went 11-1 only losing the final race of the event after having sealed the championship.
sailing, National Championship Sailing Team, ISSA,MASSA, VISA, Baker Trophy
49 Seahorse Lane, Christchurch, Virginia 23031 804.758.2306