Forty eight high school sailors travelled to Florida Yacht Club in Jacksonville, FL, from across the Southeast to compete to qualify for the Cressy Trophy finals. They enjoyed highly competitive sailing, great food and a great venue. The Jacksonville University Sailing Team served as the official host and head coach, Jon Faudree, was both an on-the-water judge and provided on-shore coaching and guidance for the young sailors.
The weekend opened with practice on Friday in a strong Southeasterly sea breeze on the St Johns river. This was the only time the sailors were able to hike extensively. The remainder of the weekend was marked by challenging conditions in light and oscillating breeze with varying pressure. James Pulsford battled it out with Erik Weis in the eight boat full rig fleet. Over 15 races they traded races back and forth until Pulsford won the last race and the regatta. Both St Thomas Aquinas sailors, along with Patrick Shanahan from Shorecrest Prep qualified to go to the finals in Newport later this year.
In the radial fleet two young ladies took advantage of the light winds to post consistent finishes and take the top two spots convincingly. Louisa Nordstron, Pine View High School, and Hannah Steadman, Shorecrest Prep, beat up on the boys over the course of 13 races. Consistency, and avoiding fouling and being over early were keys to success at this qualifying regatta. The third qualifier, Nick Baird, Shorecres Prep, overcame an OCS, to finish third.
All six qualifiers, along with the rest of the fleet, demonstrated a high level of sailing all weekend.