Mount Hope High School has a new sailing team whose members have been out practicing on Bristol Harbor since mid-September.
Like neighboring teams from Portsmouth and Barrington high schools, the fledgling team sails 420 dinghies (the boat of choice for most high school and collegiate teams) provided by the East Bay Sailing Foundation.
Junior Jeff MacDonough and Sophomore Jonathan Medeiros are co-captains of the club.
“Many high school sailing clubs or teams have begun with the generous cooperation of their local yacht clubs,” said EBSF President (and MHS coach-for-now) Richard Feeney. ” The clubs typically have boats, which they don’t use during the school year, an insurance policy which covers these activities, and a community of people who want to share their interest in sailing. In addition to the Bristol Yacht Club community we have been lucky enough to connect with the Roger Williams Sailing Team. On Saturdays some RWU sailors coached the Mount Hope High sailors.”
Mr. Feeny approached MHS Principal Donald Rebello last year and asked him if he would support the formation of the club. The school granted the sailing club provisional status for a year with the hope that it might become a full-fledged club sport if all goes well. Mt. Hope High also has offerings related to marine technology and boatbuilding.
In addition to his volunteer position at the EBSF Mr. Feeny is an assistant coach for the Portsmouth Abbey Sailing Team, which practices in the spring. He was the head coach of Brown University from 1996-1999 and led the team to a national championship. He has started other high school and college sailing clubs in Florida and California and is the sailing master and Education Program director at the Herreshoff Marine Museum.
Abbey (Barrington) sailor second in New Englands
Portsmouth Abbey School’s Graham Kilvert sailed his way to a second-place finish in the Radial division of the recent New England Singlehanded Championships, sailed from the Wickford Yacht Club.
Kilvert, a Fourth Former (10th grader) from Barrington, and the 20 other laser sailors in the Radial division tackled blustery conditions on Narragansett Bay, racing in steady winds of 28 knots, with gusts topping more than 42 knots. Due to the rough conditions, only three races could be completed.
His second-place finish qualifies him for the 2012-13 Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) High School Singlehanded Championship for the Cressy Trophy, which will be held November 9-11 at the U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach, Calif. There, he will compete against 17 other sailors in the Radial division from around the country for the national championship.
The Abbey’s Michael Madigan, a Sixth Former (12th grader) from Newport Beach, Calif., finished fourth in the full-rig division of the regatta, one place out of qualifying for the Nationals.
Five Portsmouth Abbey sailors, including Kilvert, have qualified for the National Singlehanded Championships in the past four years.
Mount Hope High students get in some practice on a breezy day.