The 2016 Schools National Sailing Championships was in conjunction with 3 clubs, Goolwa Aquatics Club (GAC), Goolwa Yacht Club and Victor Harbour Yacht Club from the 12th-16th July 2016. The venue for racing was Goolwa, a town an hour south of Adelaide city. The regatta is held for the top 24 schools in the country, with entry decided through each State’s championships, held throughout the term 1 holidays. We managed to qualify the school despite feeling as though we had not performed as well as we could have against WA’s best. As such we were very happy to receive an invite to the Nationals to prove ourselves on the big stage.
After training weekly throughout Term 2 we felt ready to take on the best in the country as the team of 7 sailors headed over east. The team consisted of co-captains Maddi Taylor (Year 12) & Ethan Prieto-Low (Year 11), as well as Olivia Stowell (Year 11), Sofia Fleming-Wilson (Year 10), Mackenzie Taylor (Year 10), Aaron De Longville (Year) and Emily De Longville (Year 7). The only change in the team from the State Championships was Florian Mitteregger (Year 11) who could not make it to the Nationals due to other commitments.
As we arrived in Goolwa, the State was being hit with a big cold front that threatened to hinder the regatta. However, after the cancellation of the practice sail day, the rest of the regatta was run with minimal weather hindrances.
The racing consists of 3 boats per team, each with 2 sailors per boat facing off against another team, the aim of each race is to place your teams’ boats ahead of the other teams. This involves a large amount of tactics, as well as the basics of sailing which involves being as fast as possible!
The team had a shaky start, losing the first race of Day 1, and completing the day with 4 wins and 5 losses. Whilst we were happy with some elements of our racing, we were determined to push harder throughout the regatta, with the aim of beating our 2015 result of 7th overall.
Despite a lot of discussions after the first night, we had a slow start to Day 2, losing 4 of the first 5 races, leaving the team in 20th overall. We then aimed to take it each race at a time, and closed the day with 4 wins in a row.
Day 3 saw this winning run continue, winning the next 4 in a row, before losing to cross-town rivals Christ Church Grammar School. This winning run continued, as the team really hit their straps towards the end of the qualifying stage of the regatta. We finished off winning 14 of the last 16 races of the regatta. This pushed the team into a staggering 6th place overall, qualifying the team for a top 8 finals series.
The finals consisted of quarter finals with a ‘best of 3’ scenario. The team was placed up against Friends W the team who had knocked us out of the finals last year. Unfortunately, we lost the first 2 races and got eliminated, however we competed hard in both races and weren’t disheartened with being knocked out.
The team is very happy with the final result, beating our previous years 7th place by 1 spot. We would also like to congratulate our friends and training partners Shenton College for finishing 17th (check??) and Christ Church Grammar School for finishing 3rd overall.
We have numerous thankyous to give out for the financial aid and support given to us from Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, John XXIII College, The JTC Parents & Friends Association, Bonaventure Travel Planners, our manager Lisa Taylor, who made the trip over with us, coach Tom Blaauw and of course our parents for supporting us.
With the team seeing success over the past 2 years we are now looking to push harder and campaign in future years. With co-captain Maddi Taylor leaving us this year, we are looking for students throughout the college to put their hand up for the team. As can be seen, sailors of all ages are included! Next year the Nationals will be held in Western Australia, with the home waters advantage the team should hopefully have a very successful and enjoyable year!
Ethan Prieto-Low and Maddi Taylor