Vineyard sailors impress at USCGA


The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School sailing team reached its first O’Day fleet racing finals in six years and placed sixth of 18 schools on Sunday at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The Vineyarders placed highest among public schools, finishing just 11 points shy of the top four which would have meant a trip to San Diego for the national championships.

“I’m very happy,” Vineyard coach Andrew Burr said. “We were right there. We could have qualified [for the nationals]. Every single point and every single race is important.”

Charlie Morano skippered for the Vineyard in A Division, with Ellie Reagan as crew, while Raz Sayre sailed with Anna Flaherty in B Division. Shane Medders and Adam Bilodeau also saw action.

The Vineyarders saw a lot of current on the Thames River, with a consistent, shifty northerly breeze.

After 10 races in each division, the Purple finished ahead of both Cape Cod Academy and Manchester-Essex, two schools who had defeated M.V. in team racing earlier this season. The Vineyarders (14-3) are currently ranked second in New England among public schools and sixth overall in the initial New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA) coaches team racing poll, released Tuesday. The top eight schools in New England will compete for the prestigious Mark Trophy May 17 at Wianno Yacht Club in Osterville.

The Vineyarders qualified for the O’Day finals by finishing third of 11 schools Saturday at Tabor Academy in Marion. The Vineyard pairings were flipped from Sunday. Raz Sayre and Anna Flaherty raced in A Division, with Charlie Morano and Ellie Reagan sailing in B Division.

The rainy conditions with shifty five-knot winds were brutal. “The sailing was as hard as it gets — mentally draining,” Coach Burr said.

The Purple are back in Vineyard waters May 4 to host North Kingstown, Rhode Island and Notre Dame of Hingham.