2 local high school sailing teams qualify for Nationals

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SAN DIEGO – With all the sailboats floating around the bays of San Diego, it should come as no surprise that the top high school sailing teams in the country come from America’s Finest City.

The sailors who compete for Cathedral Catholic and Point Loma High Schools are real good at it.

“I think a lot of people think sailing is a relaxing sport and it’s pretty easy and leisurely,” said Grace McCarthy, a CCHS junior and crew member. “It’s actually pretty difficult and tiring. You spend a lot of time on the water and it takes a lot of practice to get good at it.”

sailingThe Dons finished second at the National Championship fleet regatta last year, right behind the Pointers who won The Mallory Cup.

Both teams qualified for nationals again this year, with Point Loma winning the Pacific Coast Championship and Cathedral finishing second.

“There’ve been so many past great sailors who graduated from Point Loma that you want to keep the legend going,” said Rebecca Mcelvain, a PLHS sophomore crew member.

Point Loma and Cathedral practice in the same place, the San Diego Yacht Club, use the same boats and know each other very well which has created a lot of respect and quite a rivalry.

“We’ve been competing against the same people for a long time now and it’s kind of all leading down to this. It’s definitely going to be pretty competitive,” senior skipper Patrick Snow said. “It’s a pretty big deal. Definitely in our last year, we want to win.”

At the fleet national championships in Chicago starting May 10, the sailors will race in boats called 4-20s, so named because they measure 420 centimeters or just under 14 feet.

The skipper steers the boat with the tiller and trims the bigger sail. The crew member helps to keep the boat level and controls the smaller sail.

Usually a boy races with a girl and the best teams move together with great agility in perfect harmony taking full advantage of the wind and maximizing speed.

The Dons and Pointers agree that if they can’t win, they’d like the other to bring home the trophy.

Either way, they expect the Mallory Cup to return to America’s Finest Sailing City for the 11th time in the past 18 years.

Point Loma will also race in the team championships later this month in Tampa – and yes, they are the defending champs there as well.

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UPDATE:  PLHS finished fourth at the Nationals, which CCHS claimed tenth place.

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