Women’s sailing team travels to California, competes in Nationals regatta

Alice Scott '21, Staff Writer

The girls sailing team traveled across the country to California for Womens’ Nationals on Oct.19 and Oct. 20 at the San Diego Yacht Club.
According to Gwen Hudson ’20, the regatta was overall very successful and the team achieved their main objective for the weekend, despite the challenge of racing against the teams based on the West coast.
“We beat out the Midwest teams, which was our main goal,” Hudson said. “The teams in California practice all year round, and it was their home turf, so obviously they were going to do better.”
Another significant thing about Nationals was the atmosphere created by the all-womens’ regatta, said Hudson.
“Even though we are all competing against each other, it was a really cool and supportive environment,” Hudson said. “Sailing is obviously co-ed, but is pretty male-dominated. The best part was the girls there, and we made a lot of friends with the girls from other teams.”
Hudson said that in addition to sailing better than the other Midwest teams, they also improved their performance at this regatta in comparison to past years.
“When we went in the past, there were 18 boats and we got 14th, which is not great,” Hudson said. “This year there were more boats; there were 24, and we got 13th against a lot of really good teams.”
Coach Christina Noland said that traveling to compete against different, more experienced teams is a great way to gain more skills and improve technique.
“Anytime we go to these national events, or events of this caliber, the girls are sailing against the best high school girls in the nation,” Noland said. “You want to sail against the best sailors; the better you compete against, the better you’ll become.”
Noland, who began coaching at South this season, said that the girls lived up to her expectations coming in, including during the initial qualifying event in order to make it to Womens’ Nationals.
“There’s a Great Lakes qualifying event where you have to be in the top four in order to qualify for Womens’ Nationals,” Noland said. “We qualified this year, and if we qualify again, we will definitely be going back to Nationals next year.”
Overall, Noland said she was extremely impressed with the team’s performance and is looking forward to the spring season.
“I’m really proud of them,” Noland said. “I think the girls did really well and have done a great job, so I’m very excited for their future as a team.”