The Brother Rice-Mother McAuley sailing team competed October 6 and 7 in the Great Oaks Qualifying regatta held this year at Lake Forest. The venue changed dramatically from previous years with 24 teams from Minnesota to Michigan competing for 6 spots for a trip to New Orleans for the national high school fall event. Previous events had more competitions but much smaller fleets in qualifying venues. MISSA (the governing body for Midwest High School Sailing) voted this year to up the competition by increasing the number of teams at the Midwest Qualifier to make the venue more competitive.
Having this change brought all of the best Midwest teams to Lake Forest for a tough competition. It required our sailors to be stronger at vying for good spots on the starting line and in battling a larger fleet than they have ever competed against in past regattas. Four sailors stepped up to represent the BR-MM sailing team in the event. This was the first team event for the team this season. Freshman Blake Weglarz competed in his first ever regatta. Sophomore Cole Hansen, Junior Diana Sanchez and Senior Russ Mullane rounded out the team.
Fall has come and brought with it the coldest weather of the season, and with the winds blowing strong, the competition had to be moved closer to shore. When this happens, there are frequent wind shifts off the shore, making for tough sailing conditions. Day 1 saw 3 capsizes for the team leading to 3 DNF’s (did not finish) races. Day 2 showed much more solid performances by all the sailors. Starts were markedly improved overall. The team sailed in the middle of the lead pack of boats in all races but was unable to match the more experienced teams in the competition for positioning around the marks and gates. There were no wet, cold sailors, however, and finish placings in each of the races saw the BR-MM team move up in the fleet. Blake and Russ had a best performance for the team of a 16th place, and Diana and Cole had an 18th.