Members of the Antilles School Sailing Team have earned themselves an impressive duo of bragging rights: the best high school fleet and team racers aboard two-man 420s in the nation.
Racing at Detroit, Michigan’s Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in unseasonably cold weather that didn’t breech the mid-50s, the six-member team won the Mallory Cup the weekend of May 13-14. It was a regatta filled with drama.
Wet, rainy conditions marked the first day of the event, which saw Antilles pushed to third place in the standings among the top 20 teams in the U.S. First place, Newport Harbor, and second place, Severn, looked untouchable with a 50-point and 20-point lead, respectively, on the lone Caribbean team.
The second day, winds decreased to a whisper. Yet, with strong results in the first eight races, combined with a complete meltdown by Newport Harbor, the Antilles Team took a double digit lead on Severn and had Newport Harbor in its sights, only eight points ahead.
Winds continued to be light and watching the races became a gut
wrenching ordeal of patience. In the final set of races, Taylor Canfield took a second and first to eek out a single point margin ahead of Severn School. Then, news came of a protest on Newport Harbor, which the New England team lost and ultimately tied in second place with Severn with Antilles landing the fleet racing win.
The Antilles Team exuded confidence come the race for the Baker Trophy, held May 27-28 at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
“We knew just what we were doing,” said team member, Cy Thompson. “We had three days of coaching in team racing tactics and maneuvers right before the regatta. We worked hard and it was very beneficial to us.”
Light winds prevailed the first day to the extent that the race committee was unable to complete a full 24-boat round robin for the 12 teams competing. In spite of the conditions, the Antilles Team remained the only undefeated team at the end of the first day of racing. The second day dawned with winds still nearly becalmed. The race committee had to keep abbreviating the race format until what remained was a best of three race sail off between Severn and Antilles for the trophy. Antilles won the first two races and sailed away with the team racing win.
“I’m very proud of the team and all their hard work,” said coach, Rob Upson. “It really paid off this year.”