Sailing Through The Competition

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Sailing is a competitive sport that many people are unfamiliar with. Some students on the Orono sailing team participate competitively, others to learn the basics about sailing, but for most, it’s to enjoy the pleasant aspects the sport has to offer.

This fall there are 26 student athletes; the most they have ever had. In grades ranging from 7th to 12th. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the athletes will be seen out on Wayzata Bay for three hour practices. There are two seasons, fall and spring with a break in-between.

My favorite part about sailing is the mental and physical aspect the sport has on a person”

— Archie Bolgar

The captains, Archie Bolgar and Rachel Wyn Bartel lead the team in and out of the boats during the fall season. Both Bolgar and Bartel have been sailing for ten years and are both captains during the spring season as well.

“My brother Samuel has been sailing for over ten years and was the one who started the Orono Sailing Team, “ junior Rachel Bartel said.

There are many different ‘regattas’, or competitions that the team can enter in. There are the normal regattas where anyone of any skill level can enter. Then, there are qualifiers, where groups of four to six are chosen to participate. If they qualify for that, the teams then advance to Nationals.

“My favorite part about sailing is the mental and physical aspect the sport has on a person,” senior Archie Bolgar said.

The team uses boats at the sailing center where they practice along with Wayzata, Benilde St. Margaret, and Providence schools.

There are two different types of boats. The first is called the 420 which requires two people to sail it. The second type of boat is the laser, which is also referred to as a dinghy. This is normally a one person boat, but can sometimes in a rare occasion, be a two person boat.

During competitions the boats line up in a row and start their way on a course. The athlete’s don’t go in straight lines, but rather a zig zag path to fight the wind. They are always looking for the wind, while racing, to help guide them to the finish line.

“One of my favorite parts about being captain is how I am able to make the new members of the team feel welcome, have fun, and understand the sport. Having a team that is well bonded is also something I enjoy working on because the team members are some of the most fun people,” Bartel said.

One tradition the team has is throwing the seniors into the lake when they are least expecting it. To wrap up the season, the sailing athletes end the season with a traditional banquet, until they join back together for the next season.

Their coach, Matt Zupon, has been coaching for 13 years off and on and has been sailing for 21 years. He explained their typical practices start with warm-ups, they then change and rig the boat and head out into the water. The practices usually end with some races.

“My best memory coaching would have to be watching our sailors reaching out and making friends with EVERYONE at an event down in New Orleans. To me, that’s what this sport is about.,” said Zupon.

The Spartans had great successes as the girls championship participants were awarded first on September 15 and 16. In this regatta the girls from each school used the 420 boats. The sailing team has had 13 regattas. Their final one will be taking place on October 27 and 28. It is hosted by Mahtomedi, Mounds Park Academy, Mounds View. The competitors will be racing on White Bear Lake.

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