Sailing team undefeated at Baker Pre-Q

Regatta win brought out the best in sailors’ tactics

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On April 13, the New Trier Sailing Team placed first with a finishing score of 12-0 at the Central Baker Pre-Qualifier at the Chicago Yacht Club.
This specific regatta was a team racing regatta rather than a fleet race. In team racing, each team has 3 boats. A fleet race would have only one boat for each team for each race.
Because of the collaborative aspects of team racing, communication and teamwork was essential during the regatta.
Senior captain Izzy Cox explained how “constant communication among teammates is very important: We’re talking about where other boats are, where our boats are, the wind, and communicating with other members of the team.”
Cox raced with senior captain Nathan Whisner during all twelve of the races. Other varsity pairs included senior Noah Barton and junior Alex Adams, junior Dylan Hardt and sophomore Sarah Trunsky, and junior Anna McBride and senior Quinn Keenan.
Despite the team’s delayed season start date due to the long-lasting Chicago winter, they pulled through undefeated at the regatta.
“It’s frustrating not to be able to get on the water because of the ice. Fortunately we had the training trip in March so we were able to get on the water a week or two before we could get on the water in Chicago. We were able to have the full regatta in Virginia for four days,” said Cox.
Luckily, weather conditions were perfect for the Baker regatta.
“Yesterday was an ideal day for us. The weather was beautiful, with lots of wind and a nice temperature,” explained Trunsky.
The team placed first in all twelve of their races over the weekend, gaining the essential first and second spots in every race. Key aspects such as the “wrecking ball” helped the sailors place at the top every time.
“Usually, the strategy is to have two boats on one team vying for first and second place, while the other boat’s purpose is to be the “wrecking ball” and mess with the other team so that those first two boats can cross as first and second,” explained Cox.
This method emphasizes how much of a team sport sailing is.
The wrecking ball tactic proved its success in many key races. During one race, “Nathan and Izzy sacrificed their place to let Quinn and I sail ahead to win the race as a team instead of boat by boat. Nobody planned that. They just did it for us because we weren’t winning in the beginning,” said Hardt.
Besides that wrecking ball moment, Cox explained another highlight of the day was, “beating our biggest rivals (Latin School of Chicago).” According to Cox, Latin “put up a big fight,” and finished second overall in the regatta.
“With a round robin-style regatta like this weekend’s, the biggest moments always come in the races against our rivals. This weekend represented all of the top teams in Illinois who we’re very familiar with at this point. The Latin School of Chicago has been our toughest competitor in-district over the past couple years, so beating them in the middle of the round-robin was a real turning point. It was all downhill after that,” added Whisner.
The double round-robin format has each team racing against each other team twice. With seven teams, that’s a total of twelve races per team.
“The regatta could not have gone better for New Trier. We performed just as we had hoped and practiced, sailing smart and clean. We adopted a really simple strategy for the weekend that emphasized speed and simplicity above all else,” said Whisner.
“We sailed faster and we sailed smarter,” added Hardt.
This success comes from practice in and out of the water. “This season has been very good, although different from past seasons. We’ve been in the classroom a lot learning on paper, taking notes and listening to our coaches before applying our knowledge on the water,” explained Trunsky.
Another reason for the big win was the support the varsity sailors had while sailing.
“Our JV kids show up to support us. It’s a really cool team dynamic. It’s a sport that doesn’t have sidelines. To commit to coming to a regatta is to commit to being on the water all day,” said Cox.
Going forward, the team has a lot of success pushing them into Baker National Qualifiers and Nationals themselves.
“I’m so proud of the team’s performance and how far we’ve come over the course of my four years, and I’m excited to see what lies ahead,” concluded Whisner.