Dartmouth High sailing team cruises to victory at last meet of season
MATTAPOISETT — The Dartmouth High sailing team cruised past Old Rochester on Thursday, May 17 winning 4-1 at the team’s final meet of the year.
The event was a team race with three boats per team and two sailors per boat. The winner was decided by adding the position numbers for each team’s boats with the lower score taking the round.
Dartmouth won the first four rounds of the best-of-five race, but the teams sailed the full five anyway to take advantage of the opportunity.
After the third race, Dartmouth substituted some of its junior varsity sailors in to get them some experience.
The weather conditions were mixed in Mattapoisett Harbor during the two-hour race, creating a variety of challenges for the sailors to overcome as they adjusted for shifting winds and choppy waters.
“There’s a lot of strategy and of course the wind is changing all the time,” said Dartmouth High Head Coach Christopher Murray. “So there’s a lot going on.”
During the race, it was clear that weather conditions were only part of the sailors’ concerns.
In the chaos of the splashing surf and ever-swinging boom, the sailors had to keep track of the scoring combinations that would win them the round.
While in general the goal is to sail around the course as fast as possible, Murray explained that it is often beneficial for a ship to slow down to block an opponent from advancing, giving those ahead time to extend their lead.
Murray said that overall the team has had a very good season, having won nearly all of its area matchups with schools like Bishop Stang, Barnstable, and Martha’s Vineyard.
They even qualified among the top 16 teams in New England for the regional championship, coming 14th overall.
“When you get to the New England [championships], then you’ve got a lot of competition,” said Murray, explaining that the real challenge came when facing off against private schools like Tabor Academy, St. George’s, and Hotchkiss.
But Murray said that among other public schools, Dartmouth is one of the best at the sport.
“We’re very competitive, that’s for sure,” he said.