This past week, the Orcas Sailing Team competed for the first time in an annual sailing tournament hosted in Norfolk, Virginia. The Baker Trophy ISSA National Championship brought 12 teams from around the United States to compete on May 26-28. Races took place Saturday and Sunday, starting slowly with light breeze increasing as the day went on. By the end of the day, the races were concluded with a thunderstorm.
On Sunday, teams were split into gold, silver, and bronze divisions. Orcas, losing five races the previous day, placed in bronze. Competing in bronze, they won two races. The event was a hurdle for the Orcas Island Yacht Club race team. Many said that the competition level was much higher than they expected. “They were very well prepared, due to how they practice and how they compete with actual teams from different states,” said team captain Matia Schwartz. The competition, however, did not take the team out of the game. “I felt like we had better boat speed than I thought we would have, and we were able to keep up with many other teams,” said Dominick Wareham, varsity skipper.
With this momentum, the team looks to brighter horizons. Junior Maggie Toombs and sophomore Wareham plan to continue sailing on the team. With a stepping stone left behind by the senior sailors, they will continue to push themselves to compete at a national level. “In high school sports, of course, the team is elevated by the teams competition in practice and the districts level of competition,” Schwartz said. “What we have in the Northwest is very different from the East Coast. I expected us to go up against the best and my expectations were met.”