Portsmouth Abbey sailing team makes nationals

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PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Abbey School’s varsity sailing team is headed to the national championship after placing third out of 18 schools in the New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA) Fleet Racing Championship (O’Day Trophy).

The championship was held April 27 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

The Ravens' strong showing at the regional qualifier earned them a spot at the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) High School Double-handed National Championship (Mallory Cup) in San Diego May 9-11, where they will be among 20 teams from seven regions around the USA competing for the national championship.

The Mallory Cup is school sailing’s oldest trophy. Three other New England-are schools will compete in the Mallory Cup: St. George’s in Middletown, Tabor Academy and Hotchkiss.

Among those representing Portsmouth Abbey in San Diego will be the squad’s co-captain, senior Hugh MacGillivray of Portsmouth, as well as junior Graham Kilvert of Barrington.

“Our team is excited to have the opportunity to compete against 19 of the top high school sailing teams in the country,” said Ravens’ head sailing coach Jonathan Harley. “They worked long and hard through some very challenging conditions this spring to be where they are, and they deserve this honor. The team is excited and proud to represent Portsmouth Abbey in such a high-profile national event.”

The competition will be held in two divisions; Hugh MacGillivray will skipper for the Abbey in Division A, and Graham Kilvert will helm the Division B boat. The racing will take place Saturday and Sunday in San Diego Bay off Broadway Pier along the San Diego Embarcadero.

While some of their teammates head to San Diego, four of Portsmouth Abbey’s varsity sailors will be competing in the NESSA Women’s Doublehanded Fleet Racing Championship (Herreshoff Trophy), to be held at the Hyannis Yacht Club on Sunday, May 11.

Representing Portsmouth Abbey will be Bailey Carter, Sydney Welch, Emily Bredin and Grace Benzal.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.