Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mercy/McQuaid Sailing Team win 2011 White Trophy

Story from Rochester Yacht Club.

It took a total team effort for the Mercy McQuaid High School Sailing Team to win the 2011 Lawrence A White Trophy at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London CT October 15,16.

The White Trophy is by far the biggest High School Regatta in the Fall Season, attracting 21 teams from as far away as Sarasota Fl, Georgia, Chicago IL and Minnetonka MN, including the 2010 National Champion Antilles HS, US Virgin Islands.
High School Sailing combines the scores of two Fleets (A and B Divisions). Each School has one boat in each Division they sail two race sets then switch boats and Divisions. Scores are added representing the number in which they finished and the lowest score wins.

Very shifty and strong 20-30+ knot winds greeted the six sailors from the Mercy McQuaid team that made the trip. Lead by Team Captains, Senior Brendan Cook and Sophomore Maryn Cannon starting in A division and Sophomore Nick Sertl and Junior Danny Lawless in B Division.
These were new combinations forced together due to the strong winds, showing how versatile they can be; Lawless is primarily a Skipper and Cannon usually sails with Sertl. Normally sailors become very attached to who is in the boat with them, but the formula practiced at Mercy/McQuaid where each sailor perfects the same movements in the boat makes it easy to interchange each crew depending on wind condition.

Sertl and Lawless dominated B Division right from the start winning 3 of the 4 races sailed Cook and Cannon sailed very consistently in a very tough A Division with an average finish of 8. By mid-day the winds increase to 30+ and races were postponed after 10 of the 21 boats in B Division capsized. When the winds subsided around 2pm Cannon moved over to crew for Sertl and Junior Anna Palmer jumped in with Cook. The team finished day 1 in 3rd place. By Sunday morning the winds had subsided slightly to 10-15 knots but still gusting over 20 and very shifty. Freshman Josh Kusmierz switched in with Cook and the team posted the best scores of the regatta up until that point, but elected to giveLawless and Palmer a chance to sub in as the A Division team. It was a great call as the two posted finishes of 4 and 1, and all of a sudden the team found themselves in first place overall.

In a true nail-biter the regatta came down to the final race, Mercy/McQuaid was tied with Minnetonka HS. Sertl lead all the way around until an unlucky windshift allowed Tom's River HS to pass but he held off Minnetonka to finish 2nd, sealing the overall win. Sertl finished B division with a regatta low 29 points dominating the competition by winning 5 of the 10 races and posting one 6th as his worst race, an amazing achievement considering the challenging conditions.

This is the first time any team has one this regatta from the Rochester area and the third win for Coach Jon Faudree, winning it twice with former team Duxbury HS. Top 5 teams: 1) Mercy/McQuaid, 2) Minnetonka HS, Minnetonka, MN, 3) Toms River South, Toms River, NJ, 4) Duxbury HS, Duxbury, MA, 5) Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL.


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