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Bishop’s sailors are on the rise

By John C. Fretwell, Bishop’s coach and head of the junior sailing program at San Diego Yacht Club

The Bishop’s Sailing Team traveled to San Francisco in late February to compete in Stanford University’s annual Cardinal Regatta and had an excellent showing.

In their strongest performance so far this season, the squad racked up several first-place finishes, enough for a divisional victory, and a fifth-place overall score against a competitive field of 23 schools.

In high school sailing competition, which follows the collegiate model, each school fields an A Division and a B Division, which alternate sailing heats of two races in doublehanded dinghies. Bishops has a lot of sailors on the roster, so the team fielded two separate teams - Bishop’s Red and Bishop’s Black, each with A and B divisions.

Over the course of the regatta, teams rotate through the boats to eliminate any equipment advantage and really zero in on the sailors’ abilities. Like golf, lower scores are better, with a first-place finish receiving one point, etc. High school sailing is totally coed with boys, girls and mixed teams all competing directly against one another.

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Over the past decade, Bishop’s sailing team has seen some great accomplishments. In 2001, the Knights were runners-up for the National Championship with the help of Andrew Campbell, who went on to compete in the 2008 Olympics.

More recently the team has been in a redevelopment phase, but with help from coach Aine McLean, hard work from the upperclassmen and an influx of young talent, the team is really beginning to show its skill.

Race-winning combinations included Gene Merewether and John Cappetta, Noelle Herring and Alex White, and B Division champions, Chris Boutelle and Jessie Odell.