M.V. sailors beat St. George’s for first time

The Vineyard boats finished 1-2 in the decisive fifth race.

The Vineyard sailing entourage returned home on the ferry Saturday evening following the big win over St. George's. — Photo courtesy of Andrew Burr

The Vineyard sailors achieved an historic victory Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island, by defeating the host St. George’s School for the first time ever.

Vineyard coach Andrew Burr has high expectations for his team this season, with a goal of competing for the Mark Trophy as one of New England’s top eight teams. After a rough start against Cape Cod Academy in the season opener, the Vineyarders have reeled off five consecutive victories, punctuated with the 3-2 win in Newport.

The Vineyarders took the best of five series with some superb seamanship in the decisive fifth race. With a St. George’s boat out front, skipper Eli Hanschka and crew Zana van Rooyen out-jibed the leaders, taking out the St. George’s boat and allowing teammates Raz Sayre and Adam Bilodeau to move into first place. The Vineyarders claimed the top two spots.

“The final race was competitive down to the wire,” Coach Burr said. “Eli Hanschka and Zana van Rooyen were the standouts. They sailed their butts off.”

Skipper Charlie Morano and crew Ellie Reagan were the third Island combo to race in Newport. Team veterans Anna Flaherty and Russell Shapiro also made the trip.

Coach Andrew Burr was justifiably proud of his team after the big win. “It wasn’t just the win, it was what they accomplished — to beat this team for the first time.”

The Vineyarders also defeated Dartmouth, 3-0, on April 3.

On Wednesday afternoon, The Purple continued their winning streak by triumphing 3-0  over Pope John Paul II of Hyannis.

The sailors travel to Greenwich, Connecticut, Saturday for an 8X (eight schools) race.