Special to the News
Richmond Hill High School sailors have proven to be a force on the water again this season.
Last year's season ended with a strong showing at the District Championships in Tampa, Fla., where the team was presented with a plaque for their first place finish for the season in the North Points Area (North Carolina through Georgia).
They sailed to a 6th place finish at Districts against the top 16 teams in the Southeast and the Virgin Islands.
The team has traveled to two regatta's this season and brought back two 2nd place overall team finishes - an awesome job for this young team.
After a very strong season skippering B Division as a freshman last year, Dana Rohde would have to step her game up for the very competitive A division this season.
Austin Schneider, who has spent two seasons in the front end of the boat crewing in A division and was the recipient of the Gene and Carole Brogdon Award for most valuable crew last season, would also have to step into the skippers position in B division for the first time.
Supporting these two skippers are seasoned crews Ashley Kennedy, Riley Derr and Logan Cordle and new crews Bobby Jacobs and Dylan Vauiso.
On Sept. 10, the team traveled to Charleston S.C. and competed against 12 other teams. Conditions were very light wind, at times requiring long delays on the water. The breeze did fill in late in the afternoon giving the teams four races in a consistent 8-10 knot westerly breeze.
Schnieder made his debut as a skipper and with the help of crew and senior Cordle and crew Vaiuso, who also was crewing for the first time in a regatta, walked away with a first place finish for the team.
Rohde, skippering her first regatta in A division and with the help of veteran crew Derr, finished in 4th place in A division, only one point behind 3rd place and two points behind 2nd place.
The team came home with a 2nd place finish overall, putting them well on their way to matching their accomplishments from last season.
On Sept. 17, the team traveled to Brunswick for the second regatta of the season. Repeating their finish of the previous weekend they brought home a 2nd place overall team finish. Winds were light and very shifty for the entire regatta - very challenging for all the teams. Sailors had to look up the course and plan their moves carefully - "follow the wind" was the only advice Rohde could offer her team. "It's crazy out there."
It really takes good work between skippers and crews and a lot of concentration to be successful in these conditions. The team is lucky to have a group of very seasoned crews backing up their skippers. The teams divisional finishes were as follows: A division - 2nd Place - skipper Rohde/crew Derr and B-Division - 3rd Place - skipper Schneider/ crew Kennedy.
Richmond Hill Sailing also was able to enter a one division JV team. New skipper Bobby Jacobs, a junior, took the lead role for the JV team and had several top five finishes. He was supported by crews, Lizette Arnold and Bridget Gompper. All three of these sailors had never competed in a high school regatta before.
The team does not have another regular season regatta until Oct. 29 in Charleston, however for the 4th year they have been invited to participate in the US Coast Guard Academy Fall High School Invitational taking place Oct 15-16. Seven sailors will travel to Connecticut and compete against the very talented sailors from the Northeast. This year's home regatta is Nov. 5 on the Medway River between Richmond Hill and Sunbury.
In other team news the SAISA singlehanded championship and qualifier for the national high school singlehanded championship took place Sept. 24-25 in Clearwater, Fla.
This regatta is sailed in Lasers. Rohde traveled to the event and competed against a talented field of 40 sailors representing high schools from North Carolina to Florida, including the US Virgin Islands.
Rohde finished in 4th place, meeting her goal of finishing in the top 10. She narrowly missed qualifying for nationals as the top three competitors will move on to compete in the national championship in October in Chicago. Rohde will be the alternate to the SAISA Nationals team.